CENTRAL NEW YORK (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – You might have heard at one time or another that a woolly bear caterpillar’s color can tell you how harsh the upcoming winter is going to be. According to folklore, the amount of black on the woolly bear can show how severe the coming winter will be.

The longer the woolly bear’s black bands, the longer, colder, snowier, and more severe the winter will be. Similarly, the wider the middle brown band is, the milder the upcoming winter. The position of the longest dark bands supposedly also shows which part of winter will be coldest.

If the head end of the caterpillar is dark, the beginning of winter will be severe.  If the tail end is dark, the end of winter will be cold. In addition, the woolly bear caterpillar has 13 segments to its body, which traditional forecasters say correspond to the 13 weeks of winter.

So, is it true or is it false? Well, it’s actually false. The reason why the caterpillar’s color changes is because of its species, age, and access to food. That doesn’t mean these ‘fuzzy wuzzies’ aren’t special though. Woolly caterpillars are capable of some incredible things like surviving temperatures of -90 degrees Fahrenheit.

After they undergo metamorphosis in the spring, the woolly caterpillar will then turn into one of approximately 260 different species of tiger moths! So, even though the woolly caterpillar cannot predict the upcoming winter, it’s still pretty special on it’s own.