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Bizarre find in garden leaves Aussie mum suffering ‘unbearable’ itch

Touching the White Stem Gum Moth cocoon left one Australian unable to sleep due to the agony.

An Aussie mum was left unable to sleep and suffering an ‘unbearable’ itch after touching a strange creature fixed to the side of the tree.

The woman, based in Manly, in Sydney’s north shore, spotted the little-known danger and touched it earlier this week. Immediately, her finger was left covered in tiny black hairs that appear on the outside of the 10 cm long mass.

“My mum said she touched it,” the woman’s son shared, asking locals what the strange find may be. “Ended up with her fingertip covered in the tiny black hairs. The itch, she said, was unbearable.”

Despite the incident taking place several days ago, the man told Yahoo News Australia that his mum’s fingertip remains numb. “Said she couldn't sleep as the itch was significant,” he told Yahoo.

The White-stemmed Gum Moth cocoon (left) and the caterpillar in leaves (right).
The White-stemmed Gum Moth cocoon left one Aussie mum in 'unbearable' agony. Source: Facebook

Strange find revealed

Many quickly responded to the man’s request, explaining that his mother touched the cocoon of a White Stem Gum Moth.

The insect is one of the largest common moths found in Sydney but can also be found across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria according to the Australian Museum. The cocoons are usually found on tree trunks, in firewood, in letterboxes and even under backyard items like trampolines.

“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,” CPR Kids shared on their Facebook page.

The White-stemmed Gum Moth after emerging from the cocoon. Source: Australian Museum
The White-stemmed Gum Moth after emerging from the cocoon. Source: Australian Museum

Aussies share their pain

One local, who said her daughter is harbouring one of the cocoons at home to watch it grow said she picked a leaf out of the box and ended up with “very painful” prickles over her fingers.

“The hairs are all over the giant caterpillars, then get pushed through the cocoon walls to protect it,” she explained.

“Vivid memories of grabbing one of those as a kid, never did it again,” another recalled.

A third warned to “never touch anything unless you know what it is,” adding that this lesson was learned “the hard way”.

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