Wooly Bear Caterpillar: Interesting Facts and Information

A moth and butterfly would undergo a phase as a worm first before they fly. A certain species is called wooly bear caterpillar and it has become an interesting animal to learn about recently.

People also call it fuzzy worm! The animal has a reputation around the world! It is said the worm can forecast the beginning of winter. Even though not all people believe it, the caterpillar remains legendary!

The Legend

The caterpillar has a reason for being called a legendary animal. As mentioned before, people use it to predict the coming winter. So, what can the worm show to us?

People find information by reading the worm. The caterpillar has 13 different segments, coming with black ad rusty brown color. If the rusty brown section is wider, it means the winter would be milder.

Simply said, if the worm has more brown segments, it forecast a mild cold season. On the other hand, if the black segment were more, the winter would be severe and long. Do you believe it?

Physical Appearances

wooly bear caterpillar physical appearances

For the information, there are about eight species of wooly bear caterpillar in the United States. They have similar appearances, which come with bristly and dense hair.

Wooly bears would be a famous nocturnal insect called tiger moths. This caterpillar stage is quite interesting, without a doubt. Their lifespan is about 14 years!

Once achieve an adult stage of moths, they only live 24 hours. Their prime task is to lay eggs. Next, they die as soon as possible. This life cycle goes on!

As mentioned before, the caterpillar is covered by fuzzy and warm bristles. This explains why they can survive the cold temperature well. They also have black patches on their body.

Even though they have the name ‘wooly’, their bristles don’t feel like one. Instead, it is spiky! They have bands that come in different widths. As for the size, the caterpillar can grow up to two inches in length.

Read also : Caterpillars That Eat Milkweed: Know the Species and Reason

Their Favorite Foods

As for the foods, the wooly bear caterpillar has many favorite diets. For example, they are fond of herbaceous plants. Another name is broad-leafed plants. Trees and grasses are not included, though.

They chew on clovers, violets, and lamb quarters. Not to mention they will not refuse curly docks, burdock, sunflower, dandelions, and various types of wild plants.

Sometimes, they hang around garden plants and eat them. These include cabbage, spinach, asters, herbs, and other green plants.

This animal indeed loves to eat garden plants. Still, they also like to chew on grasses. Wild leaves and grasses are included in their diets, too. Moreover, they are often seen eating cultivated grains! These include barley and corn.

What is more? The caterpillar spends most of their time on the ground. Despite the fact, they do climb trees sometimes to feed. Their favorite trees are the ones that have leaves with have a sweeter taste (lesser tannin).

Behaviors and Eating Habits

Behaviors and Eating Habits

The caterpillar chooses several favorite places to feed. These include roadsides, meadows, pastures, local gardens, and old fields. They look for several plants like dandelions, plantains, and grasses.

When the main food sources are scarce, they would eat flowers like asters, sunflowers, clovers, and others. Fortunately, they do not cause harms to the environment. Even their droppings do not have a significant effect.

You can easily see and find a wooly bear caterpillar in autumn or before winter. In April, they usually go for feeding and spin a cocoon afterward. They place it in deep tree bark or other concealed locations.

Once the pupating stage passes (which is about two weeks), the tiger moth may come out from the cocoon.

Wooly Bear Caterpillar as a Pet

Wooly Bear Caterpillar as a Pet

It is possible to take care of this animal as a pet. However, you must pay attention to several things before doing so. For instance, it is important to use the right container. A mason or clear plastic jar is a perfect choice.

Do not forget to provide small holes on the cover of the jar. The purpose is to provide proper air circulation to it. Aside from healthy air, the caterpillar needs to get good foods and twigs.

The twigs are meant as a place to construct a cocoon later. As for the foods, you can provide various leaves and flowers. The portion must be suitable to the size of the caterpillar, though.

Another important aspect is sanitation or hygiene. Cleaning the container must be done regularly. It is because the animal indeed leaves some droppings.


Being a legendary animal makes this caterpillar is well known around the world. Some people believe that this larva can predict the coming winter. The method is to read the color of the bands, as mentioned earlier.

When it comes to foods, it varies depending on the availability of food sources. Simply said, the animal loves to eat various plants, garden greens, and flowers.

The wooly bear caterpillar is a larval stage of the famous tiger moth. Their lifespan is considered long and they do not cause any harm to the environment. Moreover, they can be a stunning pet!

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