I noticed this little fellow at the edge of the driveway. It’s a Yellow Bear, the caterpillar stage of the Virginia Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica). This particular Yellow Bear fits his name well, but Yellow Bears can vary in colour and range from beige or yellow to dark red-brown or nearly black. As the caterpillar grows and goes through instars, its colour will often get darker. They eat a variety of low-growing plants and woody shrubs and trees. I hope this fuzzy critter is fattening up because he has a long winter ahead of him (or her).
This species overwinters in the caterpillar stage, so he will need to find a safe, cozy spot to wait out the bad weather. This past spring, when Birdgirl cleaned out the nestboxes here, she found some Yellow Bears that had called the birdhouses home for the winter. Next year, this Yellow Bear will become a beautiful white moth. Thanks to Birdgirl for the moth photograph. It’s handy to have a moth expert in the family!