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Experts say it’s peak season for the Southern Flannel Moth in Texas, and they’re issuing a warning:

If you see one, whatever you do, don’t pick it up.

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The venomous creature is also known as an asp caterpillar – a native of Texas.

While it might look friendly, some can confirm their species is not:

?I’ve had one fall on me,? Austin Zoo general curator John Gramieri said in an interview with KVUE. ?As I was walking through the brush … I?ve got to tell you, it was a little one, so, about three-eighths of an inch long. They can normally grow to about an inch long, inch-and-a-half maybe. And even that tiny little one on my head — I thought somebody had lit a cigarette….”

On average a little over an inch long, the teardrop-shaped insects are covered with long, silky hairs and can range in color from light brown to yellow to gray.

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Bite victims further attest to how the caterpillar’s sting can cause symptoms, including burning pain, swelling, nausea and itching, and experts say asps mainly live in oak, oleander and plum trees.

Anna Caplan contributes to Rare Houston and Rare Animals. 
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