Stick caterpillars—what the … heck are they? I didn’t know either until I was walking to my office one day after making coffee. I stepped off the porch and noticed a cow killer, otherwise known as a velvet ant, racing across the grass. One of the cats was playing in the garden. And Dennis, my wild boar, was grunting at me, probably telling me he wanted some grapes. I ignored his plea and went to work, soon to be disturbed by a phone call from Mikki.
“You’ve got to come see this,” she said.
Knowing Mikki doesn’t normally disturb me for nothing, I joined her on the side porch to finish my coffee.
“Look at that,” she said and pointed to a bench we had sitting next to the garden.
I didn’t see anything and told her so, only to have her stand and get close to the bench. “This,” she said. “It’s not a stick.”
I looked closer and this is what I saw.
The picture on the left is what I first saw, and it looked like nothing but a pile of sticks, not an unusual sight. But a few minutes later, that “stick” in the middle of the pile had “walked” to the top of the bench. You can see it standing on the bench seat in the picture on the right. I had to look three or four times; it was that impressive. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed that the stick caterpillar could be so good at mimicking a stick.