Why Did the Caterpillar Cross the Road?

As much as I possibly can, I take my bike out for a semi leisurely run on the Bayou near my home. It’s a decent workout because I end up sweating, but I am not speed-racing there by any stretch.

Because of my pace, I get to observe the various life forms that congregate there, to my great enjoyment. ALthough I would not consider camping out, ( remind me one time to recount my last camping out fiasco which doubled as my honeymoon!)  I do enjoy hikes in scenic places and other opportunities to observe the natural world.

Along our Bayou, there are egrets, fish, all kinds of birds, butterflies, and all kinds of gorgeous wildflowers. Like the admonition to stop and smell the roses, sometimes when the sunflowers are lined in in lush bunches, I slow my pace even more to enjoy the scenery.
Which brings me to the question I am wondering about on this day. My last two bike rides were fraught with peril – not for me- but for various caterpillars I encountered.
The caterpillars were the cute, fat, fuzzy ones, big enough to notice in my roadway. (which I later found out are called Wholly Bear caterpillars)  I was upset that there were so many crossing the busy bike-tread road because most of the bikers ride at a devilish pace and probably don’t see them and run them over.
I want the cuties to become the beautiful butterflies they deserve to be, so that alarms me.
But here is the curious part. On one side of the Bayou by the water, are where the grass is lush, the weeds and wildflowers long and abundant, and on the other side of the path is a boring patch of short grass and trees – well manicured and nothing to interest a caterpillar, I would imagine.
And these caterpillars were all wiggling their way at various points in my route FROM the water side, to the boring side. I would think it would be the opposite as there would be so many more opportune places to spin their cocoons on the wild side.
So I ask again, why did the caterpillars cross the road?
If there are any scientists or knowledgeable people out there, I would appreciate any insight. 

One comment

  • I think you mean WOOLY bears, and I don’t really know whether they will morph into moths or butterflies, but I do know that if you touch one, their hair tends to break off like steel wool fibers and inflame the fingers. Many people have allergies to it.
    Probably they cross the road to find the best leaves, since they no doubt have gobbled the others. And on the way, they’ll make a good lunch for birds and other preditors resistant to their fibrous texture.

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