Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. It's buckets of fun and the whole family can be involved. For more info go here.
Last Saturday I was geocaching with a friend while taking my dog for a walk. We'd found the cache and my friend removed the camouflage. I signed the log, replaced the cache and put the camouflage back.
BUT I held the camouflage (a large piece of bark) differently to my friend. When replacing the camouflage I was injured. Looking more closely at the camouflage I discovered the cocoon of a white-stemmed gum moth (Chelepteryx collesi) which was covered in thousands of spine-like hairs - hundreds of which ended up in my fingers!
|The Cocoon - see the nasty black spines|
According to CSIRO: The short spines [of the caterpillar] are not only sharp and brittle, meaning they will break off and lodge in your skin; they also carry a toxin that causes pain and, in rare cases, anaphylactic shock. Even the cocoon is nasty, since the caterpillar inside sheds the spines and forces them out through the tough silken walls, resulting in a well protected pincushion.
We dug out the first aid kit and attacked the spines with bandaids (using the sticky part to try and pull the spines out) as well as tweezers. Not much luck unfortunately. Those spines burnt!
The next morning, after trying all sorts of methods to get rid of the spines - stronger tape, different tweezers, sandpaper (ground them to skin level but didn't stop the burning), drawing ointment - I realised there was only one thing for it. I dug those suckers out with a needle.
My fingers look a mess, but with the spines gone so is the burning.
When has nature attacked you?