If you see this ‘googly-eyed’ creature in your backyard, here’s what it means

The world around us truly is a fascinating place, and one that continues to conjure wonders even today, when most people would tell you we’ve seen and explored pretty much all there is to see and explore.

The rise of the internet means that as a global collective we’re privy to things our ancestors never were. Take, for example, things occurring in the daily lives of people living on the other side of the Earth.

A by-product of this rapid progression of wisdom sharing and mass media is that we’re constantly given the opportunity to learn and expand our own horizons. Thanks to the internet, I’ve seen all manner of things that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen, including animals and insects that quite literally seem to be out of this world.

Now, I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable where nature is concerned, but I have to confess that when I stumbled upon a photo depicting a creature one Australian woman purported to have found in her backyard, I immediately assumed it had to be fake.

And I wasn’t the only one…

As per reports, the homeowner in question took to social media after making an eye-catching find, asking internet users to help her define exactly what it was she had spotted curled up against a hedge in her backyard in Sydney, Australia.

Credit / Facebook

The peculiar looking insect, with pink-and-black eyes that look like they’ve been slapped on by an enthusiastic three-year-old in kindergarten, is apparently a relatively common sight in that part of the world at this time of year, so there’s no need for alarm.

Of course, that wasn’t immediately clear to the woman who found the above specimen, nor to many of the Facebook users who saw her post.

“Does anyone know what this strange little creature is?” the woman asked.

“I seriously thought you stuck googly eyes on a weirdly shaped stocking,” one neighbor replied in the comments.

“That is the cutest thing I have ever seen,” another said.

Credit / Facebook

Andrew Mitchell, an entomologist at the Australian Museum confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that the creature is a type of hawkmoth caterpillar.

It is most often found on vines, including grape vines, and they are quite common, especially around this time of year — late summer to early autumn,” he said.

“This species has quite a wide distribution, from the Kimberley region (in WA) eastwards along the coastal strip all the way to Cape York (in Queensland) and then south to Sydney.”

According to reports, the insect has brown coloring to help disguise itself from predators, while their eyes are also used to deter anything that might consider making them a snack.

The caterpillars do not bite or sting but may release green liquid if disturbed.

“When threatened they puff up the front of their body, raise it into the air, suck the head in a bit, and can look quite convincingly like a snake when viewed front on — some species even hiss and strike at you,” Mitchell added. “But they’re completely harmless of course.”

So, if you live in any of the above mentioned locations in Australia, and you happen to see one of these “googly-eyed” critters in your yard, don’t panic!