Gardener baffled by caterpillar

AN IPSWICH gardener is today trying to find the identity of a mystery creature that caused a commotion in the neighbourhood.

AN IPSWICH gardener is today trying to find the identity of a mystery creature that caused a commotion in the neighbourhood.

Russell Read, who lives in Hawthorn Drive, was driving home when he realised his neighbours were in his garden and his first thought was something had happened to his wife.

Mr Read then discovered what all the commotion was about after the neighbours showed him a three-inch long “caterpillar like” creature.

He described it as horrible and ugly and like nothing he had ever seen before.

Mr Read said: “It looks like a caterpillar in a way but it was trying to burrow into the ground.

“I didn't like the look of it at all.

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“It looked like it had a beak and its head moved independently of its body, shooting forward if you went near it.

“My wife was a bit frightened. She first thought it was a piece of tree fallen on the ground but when she realised and went to pick it up it moved suddenly towards her.”

The 81-year-old said he has been gardening for 65 years and has never come across anything like it.

He added: “To me it was too ugly to be a caterpillar.”

The curious creature could be an elephant hawk-moth caterpillar, one of the larger members of the caterpillar family. When behaving normally it has a narrower front segment, resembling a trunk, hence its name.

When alarmed it retracts its head and 'trunk' enlarging the bulge of its head and displaying two spots which resemble eyes, to make it look like a snake to potential predators.

n. If you can identify the creature for Mr Read call the Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk