Last weekend Luke and Emma found a caterpillar while at on a nature hike at my grandmother's lake home. We weren't sure of the species but we liked it because it was different from any other caterpillar we had seen before. So, being the good (or bad depending on your perspective) parents we are, we agreed to put it in a plastic container, bring it home, and to see what would happen. Because my son is young enough that he still names things based on their appearance or behavior, we have decided to call our caterpillar Chompy. Keep in mind we had no idea what sort of animal we were introducing into our house but I was confident in the notion that if need be I could step on it and come up with some lame excuse later on.
Thank goodness for the internet. With a quick Google I found out a few days ago that the caterpillar in question is a White-Marked Tussock Moth. For the last few days we have been watching excitedly as it ate every leaf we put in it's bucket and left us with copious amounts of fecal matter. Yesterday it began to spin a cocoon. This is what it should look like once it emerges.
I haven't found any information to tell me that it should be a nuisance but just in case I think I'll borrow some moth balls from my grandmother.