Hickory Horned Devil: Early Instar

Are you still identifying bugs?
I’m not sure if you’re still identifying bugs or not, but there is a spectacular looking caterpillar that arrived on my balcony a few days ago, and I’d like to know more about it. If it helps in the identification, I live just outside Atlanta, Georgia. Normally my cat eats the bugs on the balcony (mainly roaches…thanks, kitty), but both times kitty put her paw to the back of this caterpillar, it reared up. For some reason, that made kitty leave it alone. I wondered if maybe the spines were irritating or her paw (because surely she wasn’t threatened by that). Also, I’m wondering whether I should perhaps move the caterpillar back down to where the leaves and plants are. I’m on the 3rd floor of an apartment building, and there is no caterpillar food on my balcony. Thanks for any information and advice you can offer,

Hi Krista,
This is an early instar of our featured Bug of the Month, The Hickory Horned Devil. The caterpillars molt four times before attaining their full size, the fifth instar right before pupation. Earlier instars are brown, not green. We believe this is the third instar as shown on BugGuide.

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