Keen Wetherby gardener left puzzled by visiting creature

Charles McEnteer and his unusual visitor.
Charles McEnteer and his unusual visitor.

A keen gardener was puzzled by a creature he found making its way along his driveway at his Wetherby home.

So Charles McEnteer called the Wetherby News for help to solve the mystery brown “alien” with an elephant type trunk and eyes which he found at his Coxwold View home.

“Never in all my years of gardening have I seen anything like this,” said the 84-year-old pensioner.

“I have been gardening for years and all over the place but have never seen anything like this.”

“It’s like an alien. It looks like it’s got a head at the front and back and four big eyes with an elephant type trunk.

“I have live here for 18 years and have never seen anything like this here before. You just wonder where it has come from.”

Responding to a picture Tweeted by the Wetherby News, last Friday Twinkles Nursery suggested that it was a hawk moth.

And experts at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust confirmed that the caterpillar was indeed an elephant hawk moth.

“The caterpillars are active between July and September, and always have two characteristic large eyespots towards their head,” said York-based Trust communications officer Joanna Richards.

“If the caterpillar is disturbed it swells up to enlarge these eyespots with the hope of scaring off predators.

“The caterpillars feed on fuchsias which is commonly grown in gardens, so they can be found in people’s backyards.”

She added: “The moths are attractive pink and brown and are active in the evening. You tend to see the moths flying between May and July.

“Soon any caterpillars will form chrysalides, in which they will overwinter, then emerge next year as a moth. They are not particular rare, but they are fairly spectacular.”

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