Toxic caterpillars which can be dangerous to people and pets have been spotted in Greenwich Park.

In a local Facebook group a woman has posted a warning to residents about toxic Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) caterpillars.

Many trees in the park have been cordoned off and the Forestry Commission has been seen trying to control the situation.

For humans, the tiny hairs that cover the caterpillars bodies can cause skin and eye irritations, sore throats and breathing difficulties, they can also affect dogs too.

Some people have also been violently sick after coming in contact with the insect and some have suffered toxic shock.

The Forestry Commission says that these OPM caterpillars feed on oak leaves and large populations can strip trees bare.

OPM caterpillars are recognised by their habit of moving about in late spring and early summer in nose-to-tail processions.

If you are worried about your trees, look out for distinctive white, silken webbing nexts on trunks and branches.

What do they look like?

The OPM caterpillars have very long, white hairs (each caterpillar has around 65,000) which shed and can be active for up to five years.

How do you stay safe around such creepy crawlies?

Do not touch or approach nests or caterpillars

Do not let children touch or approach nests or caterpillars

Do not let animals touch or approach nests or caterpillars; or try removing nests or caterpillars yourself

What should I do if I see some?

If you think you have found a next of OPM caterpillars then you should email the Forestry Commission on and they will begin treating the affected areas.