Today Brutus & I were out enjoying a cool, yet sunny fall afternoon. We found another sure sign of the approaching winter: a woollybear caterpillar.
These little guys live throughout the country (it is the immature form of the Tiger Moth), but folks around here make a big deal out of them when they appear each fall. There is even a "Woollybear Festival" in Vermillion, OH - something I have many fond childhood memories of (they even have a WoollyBear 5000 - where people bring caterpillars to enter in a race). Legend has it that these little guys can predict the severity of the approaching winter: the wider the orange band, the milder the weather will be.
I always feel like a kid again when I see a woollybear, I have an overwhelming urge to stop and play with them. Even if you aren't a bug-lover (I'm not), they are very nonthreatening, soft & fuzzy, and fun to play with. Unfortunately for this caterpillar, that meant that Brutus got to stop and play too!
When threatened, the caterpillar rolls itself up into a little ball and plays dead:
Not suprisingly, being snorted on by a Frenchie is threatening, because that's just what happened!
This was an excellent strategy to use with The Brute, as he lost interest when it stopped moving (refer to the carnage in our "Great Ant Hunter" post as a comparison).
Then, when the little guy thought the coast was clear, he made a break for it!
Not much gets buy Brutus, so he was back in the chase after a few moments. But this was a caterpillar with a strategy, and not to be outwitted by his predator.
He crawled in the crack between the sidewalk sections! What a smart little worm this woolly was!! Try as he might, Brutus couldn't get him to come back out and play!
I guess that when they say "survival of the fittest", brains count for something too! This was one caterpillar that refused to become another french bulldog victim!
That's Brutus' confused face smushed into the crack at the top of the picture, as the clever woollybear makes his getaway unscathed!
Woollybear 1, Brutus 0.