RSPB
Skip navigation
Print page

Garden tiger moth

Insect

Arctia caja

The garden tiger is a stout, hairy moth. Its forewings are chocolatey-brown with cream patterns, whereas its hindwings are orangey-red with black spots. Its bright colours warn predators that it tastes unpleasant.

The garden tiger is a widespread species and can be found throughout the UK, however numbers have decreased in recent years.

Its brown and black, exceedingly hairy caterpillar is often called a 'woolly bear'. The hairs are irritant and protect it from predators, such as birds – be warned in case you pick one up! Garden tigers overwinter as caterpillars.

What does it eat?

Adults drink nectar from flowers. Caterpillars eat low-growing, herbaceous plants.

When will I see it?

From June to August.

Where will I see it?

Throughout the garden. Also in parks, grassland, meadows and scrubby areas.

Vital statistics

Length: About 50 mm across forewings

Calendar

Not seen in JanuaryNot seen in FebruaryNot seen in MarchNot seen in AprilNot seen in MaySeen in JuneSeen in JulySeen in AugustNot seen in SeptemberNot seen in OctoberNot seen in NovemberNot seen in December

Key to calendar