'The Very Hungry Caterpillar': Man Watering Giant Plant Finds It Devoured

For some people, their houseplants are like their children. And if anything happens to their leafed loved ones, it can be devastating. If you're reading this thinking "I'm one of those people...," you'll probably want to stop scrolling, because one TikToker experienced what might be your worst nightmare—and they documented the whole thing in a video which has since gone viral.

The video, uploaded by @bronte.__ and titled "no thank u goodbye #planttok #monstera #slugtok,"lasts just nine seconds. The camera moves over a monstera (also known as a Swiss Cheese Plant) with tattered leaves, most of which have been completely consumed.

A Hawk Moth caterpillar on a monstera.
A screenshot from @bronte.__'s video shows the Hawk Moth caterpillar, which has just eaten most of the monstera, sitting happily on a leaf. @bronte.__/@bronte.__/Tiktok

A caption reads, "When you go out to water your giant monstera, only to find a whole damn slug family has used it as an all you can eat buffet," while the person holding the camera can be heard saying, "Um, excuse me, what the actual f***?"

Then, the camera halts on the culprit, which is in fact not a slug, but a hawk-moth caterpillar. This harrowing clip has attracted more than 2.2 million views, over 320,000 likes, and more than 2,600 comments.

Many fellow TikTokers offered their commiserations, including @lydddsssss, who wrote "i would be crying if this happened to my giant monstera," and @Emily.Keller who commented, "I'm sorry this would be my final straw you're so strong."

Similarly, @wotsitpotsit responded, "I would never emotionally recover from this," and @peepeepoopoo069 commented, "i would be distraught. my condolences."

In a wry comment, @tinytikitok added, "THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR but make it LIVE ACTION. coming to a living room near you."

Other platform users seemed more interested in the caterpillar, than the plant. For example, @fernecreative wrote, "Hawk moth caterpillar! Very beautiful when they turn. Rip!! Hopefully it shoots some new leaves out, and @hllbunn1 commented, "please let the caterpillars grow!!!! hawk moths are very important for pollination and all species plants. not invasive at all too no need to worry."

It turns out that the user happened across one of the largest types of moth in the world, according to information provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the USDA, the number of species of moths (more than 170,000) far outnumbers the number of butterfly species in the world (roughly 17,500). The hawk-moth (or Sphingid) family includes some of the largest moths in the world, and these moths particularly enjoy consuming the blossoms of Datura (Jimson weeds), Mirabilis (Four O'clocks), and Peniocereus (Queen-of-the-night cactus).

But none of that will comfort @bronte.__, whose video was also shared in Reddit's r/houseplants forum, by u/Sick-a-Duck (who confirmed that they were not the owner of the video in a later comment), under the title "Hey... wanna see something painful?" There, the video has gained over 1,800 upvotes and more than 200 comments, including one from u/loveinamist17, who wrote, "That's not a slug. Since he ate your beautiful plant, kidnap him and watch him turn into a giant gorgeous moth!"

The video also attracted comments from u/Thundere59, who wrote "That happened to one of my Monstera's when I left it outside! Needless to say none of them have gone outside to live since," and u/BravesMaedchen, who commented "Lmao his face. He looks like he just got caught."

Newsweek reached out to @bronte.__.