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Visitors told to avoid toxic caterpillars in Windsor Great Park

Visitors told to avoid toxic caterpillars in Windsor Great Park

Visitors have been told to avoid contact with toxic caterpillars in Windsor Great Park.

The oak processionary moth caterpillars have been spotted in areas of the park. 

The hairs of the caterpillars can cause irritation and rashes on both humans and animals. 

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, Windsor Great Park said: "Please avoid contact with any caterpillars that you may see.

"The Estate is actively managing the situation."

The creepy crawlies, which feed on oak trees, originate in southern Europe and have been spreading northwards for the past 20 years due to the trade of live oak plants.

Oak processionary moth caterpillars, which can strip oak trees bare in large groups, were first introduced to Britain in 2005, almost certainly due to eggs being carried on oak plants imported from the continent.

The Forestry Commission warns people not to touch or approach the caterpillars or their nests, which are often filled with hairs, and to seek medical advice if they come into contact with them.

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