'It's alive': Man confused about creature found outside his home

A Victorian man has been left puzzled by an unusual creature found outside his home.

The man, a resident of the Yarra Valley, posted a photo of the animal on Facebook.

“Anyone know what the hell this is?” he wrote.

“It’s alive!”

The creature pictured resembles a small twig, but it seems to have attached itself to a wooden pillar.

People were left scratching their heads at trying to determine what the animal is.

Pictured is a type of geometric moth caterpillar which resembles a twig. It's stuck to a wall on a deck.
A Yarra Valley man is perplexed as to what this creature is. Source: Facebook

“It’s very cool,” one woman wrote.

Another woman jokingly suggested it’s a “coat hook”.

“Could be a twig, caught in some web making it look like it’s moving,” one man wrote.

Others suggested it could be something from another planet.

“It’s an alien tentacle,” one man wrote.

“Whatever you do - don’t touch it.”

A Geometer moth caterpillar hanging on silk fibre.
Geometer moth caterpillars use camouflage to protect themselves from predators. This one is hanging from a silk fibre. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

Another called it “baby ET” while another simply posted a gif of Baby Groot - a character from the Marvel Film Guardians of the Galaxy.

However, the creature isn’t exactly alien.

Dr Thomas White, from the University of Sydney’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, told Yahoo News Australia it’s a type of Geometrid moth caterpillar or inchworm.

“It’s a beautiful example of camouflage, and just recently there was some lovely work on a closely related species which showed that ‘peppered moth’ caterpillars are able to actively change colour to match the appearance of their backgrounds be it bark, sticks or leaves,” Dr White said.

“They do so using light-sensitive cells scattered all over their body, rather than their eyes.”

Dr White added the “colour-change ability” combined with their “stick-like behaviour” is “an excellent way” to avoid predators.

“It also always throws me, but they’re using their pro-legs to cling on onto the surface, not their ’true’ legs, so that's actually their head-end pointing out into the open there feeling the breeze,” he said.

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