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Eight-month-old girl needed surgery after biting into a caterpillar

Eight-month-old girl was left in agony after biting into a caterpillar and needed surgery to remove the black hairs and tentacles stuck in her mouth

  • Kenzie Pyne, from Nanaimo, Canada, began to scream while in the garden
  • Her mother found a black mark in the girl’s mouth which she could not remove 
  • Medics sedated the girl in order to remove the remains of the caterpillar

An eight-month-old girl in Canada was rushed to hospital in pain last week after biting into a caterpillar.

Mother Krystal Pyne, of Nanaimo, near Vancouver, took her daughter to the emergency room when she started to scream and had a black stain in her mouth.

The girl, Kenzie, had been eating a cookie in the family’s garden, and her mother could not wipe the black mark out of her daughter’s mouth when she tried. 

At the hospital a doctor confirmed she had in fact bitten into a caterpillar and its hairs were stuck to her tongue and its tentacles – feelers – were fused to her cheek.  

Surgeons operated to remove the remains of the insect and Kenzie was kept in the hospital overnight to be monitored. 

Few details have emerged about how the caterpillar found its way into the girl’s mouth, but Mrs Pyne said there are a lot of the creatures in her garden. 

She warned other parents on Facebook to ‘watch out for those cute fuzzy orange and black caterpillars!’

Kenzie Pyne was taken to hospital when she started screaming in her garden and her mother found a black patch which ‘resembled an electrical burn’ inside her mouth 

Mrs Pyne said she was ‘flabbergasted’ by what was wrong with her daughter last Thursday, 31 May.

The eight-month-old had been sat on the family’s garden deck with her three-year-old brother, Logan, and eating an arrowroot cookie.

Her mother rushed over to her when the girl started to scream, but could not work out what was wrong.


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‘I figured she must just be hungry or tired’ 

‘It was about time for her morning nap and I figured she must just be hungry and/or tired so I made her a bottle,’ Mrs Pyne wrote in a Facebook post. 

‘She didn’t want anything to do with it and she was basically inconsolable at this point. 

‘As I’m trying to figure out what is wrong with her, she had her mouth open while crying and I noticed the inside of her mouth had some blackness to it.

‘I figured she maybe got a bug in her mouth so I grabbed a wet cloth to wipe the inside of her mouth, but it wasn’t wiping off and the black remained. 

The girl’s mother, Mrs Pyne, said medics managed to remove 98 per cent of the remains of the caterpillar, and has warned other parents to ‘watch out for those cute fuzzy orange and black caterpillars!’

‘I started panicking because at closer look it almost resembled an electrical burn.

‘I decided to rush down to the hospital so they could see what was going on because I was completely flabbergasted.’

Doctors confirmed the girl had bitten a caterpillar 

At the hospital a doctor confirmed the black spot in Kenzie’s mouth was the remains of a caterpillar she had bitten into.  

The caterpillar appears to be a halysidota argentata – a fuzzy-looking caterpillar of the silver-spotted tiger moth.

The creature is found on the western side of North America and is black with long tufts of yellow and orange hair.  

When nurses and doctors examined the eight-month-old they found she had the hairs and tentacles of a caterpillar stuck in her tongue and cheek

Mrs Pyne explained how medics did not realise what was wrong with her daughter right away.

She wrote: ‘While in the emergency waiting room a nurse started talking to me saying how her daughter one day was sitting on her stairs sucking on something and she had black all around her mouth. 

‘Well turns out she was sucking on a caterpillar. 

‘As soon as the nurse mentioned caterpillar I started thinking, I have soooooo many caterpillars around our deck, is it possible that’s what caused it?

Hairs and ‘tentacles’ stuck to her tongue and cheek were removed in surgery 


There have been recent cases of cockroaches getting stuck in people’s ear canals.

In one, an unnamed woman in Guatemala visited a volunteer fire station near her house complaining of dizziness and headaches.

On closer inspection medics there found a dead cockroach lodged in her ear and removed it with tweezers.

They posted a video online of the grotesque removal with the caption ‘You will sleep well tonight!’

A Florida woman also made the same  stomach-churning discovery, and doctors didn’t manage to remove the entire insect for nine days.

One expert told National Geographic in 2017: ‘It’s actually not an uncommon phenomenon to have a cockroach in the ear.

‘Roaches are searching for food everywhere, and earwax might be appealing to them.

‘A roach could go in to explore and then get stuck.’

‘Multiple nurses came to check out her mouth and they all agreed it looked like a burn, which I knew wasn’t possible.

‘Finally the doctor came in and as soon as I mention caterpillar to him, he said that is exactly what it is and all the hairs are stuck to her tongue and the tentacles are fused to her cheek.’

Caterpillars’ tentacles may be more commonly known as feelers and are found at the ends of their body.  

Kenzie was then taken by ambulance to a hospital in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, where surgeons removed ’98 per cent’ of the bug, according to Mrs Pyne, and Kenzie went home the next day.

Past case of caterpillar ‘flicking’ hairs into a young boy’s eye 

Caterpillars have caused health emergencies in the past and last year the British Medical Journal reported a case of a boy in India who got spines in his eye.  

The 12-year-old was left in intense pain after a caterpillar flicked its hairs into one of his eyes.

He had suffered from redness and increased sensitivity to light for around five days before seeing his GP.

Doctors discovered he had been playing on a field plagued by the furry animals at roughly the same time when his symptoms began.

And upon optical examination, they discovered tiny fibres from the animal buried in his cornea.

The boy, from India, was prescribed steroid creams to reduce the damage to his eye but swelling remained for more than two months. 

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