Moths and dogs

In the garden this morning having a wander round with the dogs before I started work I noticed this strange-looking clump of stuff on a branch of a juniper bush.

It is made up of a lot of caterpillars of the Oak Processionary Moth all grouped together. They are called processionary because when they walk along the ground they go nose to tail like elephants and their procession can be a couple of metres long. It looks as though they like to sleep together in a big bunch too, there must be some sort of benefit to them from doing this. They used to be found around the Middle East and Mediterranean but in recent years they have colonised parts of northern Europe and UK too.

All those little hairs on them can break off in the event of an attack by a bird or other creature intent on eating them and if ingested they are highly poisonous.  The hairs can also float on the breeze and if inhaled by humans can cause very nasty symptoms and can even be fatal if they trigger an allergic reaction. There are reports of dogs losing parts of their tongues and even being killed by getting the hairs in their mouths. I was worried for my dogs because they could easily go sniffing around and come across a procession of them so I gave the bunch of them a liberal dosing with insecticide. If they aren’t dead by tomorrow I will put on some rubber gloves and a spray mask and collect them in a little plastic bag to be flushed down the loo.

I mentioned previously that the goat-herder’s dog comes into the garden, well here he is with Wilfred standing over him to let him know who is top dog around here.

The goat-herder is disgusted with him because he lets my dogs jump all over him, even little Minnie gives his ears a good ragging now and then.

Posted May 4, 2010 by cukurbagli in Animals

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