kcf32's picture

Huge Caterpillar

Observed: 15th September 2009 By: kcf32
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course completeShropshire Wildlife Trust
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Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar (15-09-2009)

On the Severn Way from Caersws to Newtown on an Anniversary walk with my wife when she spotted this 7-8cm caterpillar crossing the road. Fortunately it was a narrow road and very minor. What should I have done, helped it on its way, which assumes it is trying to get to the other side, or leave it to fate? We left it, having taken a few photographs.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) interacts


AndyBanthorpe's picture

To move or not to move

It would have been wandering along looking for a good pupation site at that time of the year. I would have moved it fromthe road into the nearest cover like plants or grass at the side of the road as out in the open apart from the chance of being run over its an easily spotted bird meal!
Towever it will have found its way to safety pretty quickly.

Andy Banthorpe
Joint Macro-moth recorder for Bedfordshire, VC30

kcf32's picture

To move


Thanks for the advice.

What is the safest way to move a caterpillar and should it be moved in the direction it was travelling?


Topsi's picture


Hi Keith,
In the case of this caterpillar it can be handled safely, but a few caterpillars (the hairy ones) can cause skin irritation if handled, so the best way if you're not sure is probably to coax it to crawl onto something like a small piece of wood or a leaf and then move it to an area of dense vegetation.


kcf32's picture