Eastern Tent Caterpillars
Here is a picture I took while hiking along the C&O canal in Maryland. These things are EVERYWHERE and until I took a look at your site, I thought they were Gypsy Moth Caterpillars. My 4 year old son and I were at the National Zoo the other day and while the elephants couldn’t hold his attention, he was facinated by these caterpillars inching along all over the place. He then collected several and gently placed them on his shirt and then proceeded to strut around the zoo covered in them like some caterpillar tamer on Animal Planet. Alas, I did not have my camera with me that day. Thanks for the great site!
Thanks for your touching story. We have recently received several images of individual Eastern Tent Caterpillars, Malacosoma americanum, but we have not posted them. Your photo is a textbook example for identification purposes.