Below shows a good photo of what a TRUE Woolly Bear Caterpillar looks like. They have very full, thick bristles and have both orange and black segments.The other three caterpillars are often mistaken for the true Woolly Bear. Both the blond and tan colored caterpillar are the Yellow Bear Caterpillar. The all black caterpillar with faint red stripes on the segments is the Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar. They all have that bristled look but the one on the far right is the Woolly Bear.
Now let's get to specifics....The folklore says that the Woolly Bear Caterpillar is a predictor of the upcoming winters' harshness. Each Woolly Bear has orange and black segments (13 in all). Each segment is said to represent the 13 weeks of winter. The front or head of the caterpillar represents the start of winter and so forth to the tail-end of winter. The position of the longest dark bands indicate which parts of winter will be coldest/harshest. The more orange segments, the milder the winter will be.
So what have you found in your own backyard? I'd love to see your photos and we can "diagnose" winter by looking at what your Woolly Bear is wearing. :)
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