Look at this beast we found in the long grass – it’s an Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar. Those ‘eye spots’ are supposed to scare off predators apparently.
They like willowherb, and we have plenty of that, but not in the lodge field where we found this one. So maybe it was snacking on bedstraw instead. Or just looking for somewhere to over winter – it’s that time of year. It’s one of the reasons we leave plenty of long grass over winter, so that come spring we’ll get fabulous moths and caterpillars.
There’s a nice little video on YouTube about them.
And here’s a pic of the adult:
Moth image by gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K (Elephant Hawkmoth. Deilephila elpenor) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons