Couple Finds “Silence Of The Lambs” Caterpillars Destroying Garden In The UK

Silence of the Lambs might have come out a couple of decades ago, but it remains a classic. One of the things that still sticks out from that movie are the caterpillars.

The death’s-head hawkmoth caterpillars are known for having a little skull on their back. I found it a bit creepy that the moths were left behind by serial killer Buffalo Bill as his calling card.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

When we think of these moths we probably think of the movie, so imagine the surprise of one couple in Wales when they found several of these caterpillars in their back garden.

Ian and Sharon Williams were surprised by the find. They happened upon the caterpillars “destroying” some of the bushes in their garden. At first, they couldn’t tell what they were from the caterpillar state, so they took some pictures and uploaded them to social media for help identifying them.

As Ian explained to the BBC, it was his wife Sharon who first made the discovery while in the garden of their Brynmenyn, Bridgend home.

He said, “I was in the kitchen and I heard a scream, my wife was actually cutting this bush in our garden back. That’s when we discovered it, it was lucky it didn’t get cut in half.”

Ian didn’t know much about moths or their caterpillars, so he went online to Twitter to get some answers. He uploaded a few photos, writing, “What’s this bad boy mate? Got 3 of them destroying a bush in our garden in leafy Brynmenyn, Bridgend.”

He added, “I’ve been party to all these replies now, so I am now the leading authority on this moth.”

Ian and Sharon were shocked when they were told about the rare find. Dr Sarah Christofides, from Cardiff University’s school of biosciences, said to the BBC that she would be “really, really excited” and “really pleased” if she were able to find these caterpillars in her own garden.

Dr. Christofides said, “Generally hawkmoths are very big moths – and they’re not as common as perhaps some of the smaller ones you get. If you look at an adult death’s-head hawkmoth you’d see what an incredibly beautiful animal it is.”

Photo: flickr/Resenter1

A research associate at Cardiff University, Dr Arthur Morris, added to Dr. Christofides’s sentiments saying that seeing such a caterpillar in the UK is “really unusual.”

After the discovery, Ian said he’d be on the lookout for any more of these caterpillars, but so far, he hasn’t spotted any.

Have you ever seen these caterpillars or the moths they turn into before? Has it ever been in your own garden? Let us know!

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