A young boy was rushed to hospital after he came into contact with a dangerous cocoon that many parents didn’t even know existed.
A young boy was playing outside when he accidentally came into contact with a dangerous cocoon that left him hospitalised.
Darcy was enjoying his time bouncing around on his trampoline, but he was suddenly rushed to emergency when his hand became embedded with thousands of tiny, painful spikes.
Inside the cocoon he touched was a White-stemmed Gum Moth – one of the largest common moths found in Sydney.
As a result, he required surgery.
It prompted Nikki Jurcutz, a mother-of-two and former paramedic, to share an Instagram post on her Tiny Hearts Education page as a warning to fellow parents.
“It’s a timely reminder to check the area that your little ones play,” the post reads.
“I didn’t even know about these but when Darcy’s mama contacted me I knew I had to share!”
Ms Jurcutz, who is the CEO of the Melbourne-based organisation, said the short spines on the outside of the cocoon are 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.”
Many have since taken to the post to reveal they didn’t know the type of cocoon existed.
“My lil buddy did the same thing about 6 months ago. Took me a long time to figure out what it even was and if it was toxic,” one mum wrote.
“Didn’t even know these existed! Hope you get well soon buddy,” said another.
The White-stemmed Gum Moth are commonly found in southern Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
“They can be found on tree trunks, in firewood, in letterboxes, and in this case under the trampoline,” Ms Jurcutz said.
“Sending so much love to little Darcy, we hope you feel better soon mate!”
According to the Australian Museum, female gum moths can reach up to 16cm long and are sometimes mistaken for bats.
“The large, thick caterpillars are grey-black with yellow bands and are covered with tufts of reddish-brown spiky bristles,” the website states.
It explains that the bristles are difficult to remove and although they are not known to contain toxic chemicals, handling of caterpillars and pupae of this species will cause irritation to humans.
“Medical attention may be necessary in some cases,” the site adds.
“As a general rule it is not wise to handle hairy caterpillars, as many species are known to cause irritation. Irritation to skin by hairs is sometimes referred to as ‘urticaria’, meaning ‘nettle-like’.”