Here in Colorado, we’ve got quite the diverse ecosystem that adds to the wonder of our state’s incredible scenery. 

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Spring has sprung, and it will give you an incredible chance to see more animals, like tiger salamanders, mule deer, and of course, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. 

This also means the arrival of some animals that can cause some serious damage if you’re not careful. 

Of course, many of the most dangerous animals are exactly what you’d think, like black bears, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes.

This spring, you may encounter a different painful insect, with this one packing a major punch in a small package. 

The Poisonous Buck Moth Caterpillar Just Hatched in Colorado


 Every year in late April and early May, the Nevada buck moth caterpillar comes out in Colorado. This is significant because it is one of the most poisonous caterpillars in the entire state. 

According to Jeff Mitton at CU Boulder, the caterpillar has spines that stick out throughout its body. Each of these spines have a poison gland that injects the victim when irritated.

If you know anything about jellyfish, the way the poison is injected is very similar, with tiny barbs pushing it into the skin.

The sting can cause some significant pain, and it can last between a few hours or even into the following day.

Fortunately, the sting is typically by no means lethal. It will cause some intense burning sensations and can swell for a while and give you a rash, but you will likely not have to go to the hospital.

If you’re stung by it, treat it by placing an icepack on the affected area, and use antihistamines like Benadryl or pain relievers like Advil or Ibuprofen to manage the effects. 

Still, it’s important to be able to identify so you can avoid a sting altogether.

If you’re stung, 

Life Cycle of the Buck Moth Caterpillar


After the buck moth caterpillar hatches, the small larvae eat in the groups as they get acclimated to their environment. After a while, they start to become independent of each other.

These caterpillars typically eat foliage, and large amounts of them on a single tree has actually defoliated some trees. They then molt five times in their life cycle before hatching as a fully formed moth in the fall.

These Are the Most Dangerous Animals in Colorado

It's no secret that Colorado is home to stunning wildlife. However, that doesn't mean we should interact with the wildlife — some animals are meant to be avoided. See the dangerous Colorado animals you should steer clear of in the gallery below.

Gallery Credit: Emily Mashak

Uncommon Animals of Colorado

It's pretty rare to see these types of wildlife in Colorado.

Gallery Credit: Kelsey Nistel

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