The Caterpillar (also known as the Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar) is a fictional character appearing in Lewis Carroll's book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.


Introduced in Chapter IV ("Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill") and the main centre of interest of Chapter V ("Advice from a Caterpillar"), the Caterpillar is a hookah-smoking caterpillar exactly three inches high which, according to him, "is a very good height indeed" (though Alice believes it to be a wretched height).

Alice does not like the Caterpillar when they first meet, because he does not immediately talk to her and when he does, it is usually in short, rather rude sentences, or difficult questions. He asks Alice to repeat the poem You Are Old, Father William, which comes out rather strange like many of the nursery rhymes Alice attempts in Wonderland. The Caterpillar tells Alice how to grow and shrink using the mushroom upon which he is sitting.

The original illustration by John Tenniel at right, is something of a visual paradox; the caterpillar's human face appears to be formed from the head and legs of a more realistic caterpillar.In another illusion, the flowers on the right of the illustration appear to be a form of tobacco, while the caterpillar is smoking heavily. Because the Caterpillar is smoking a hookah, and advises Alice to eat from a mushroom, he is they main reason why many people think that the story of Alice in Wonderland contains hidden meanings to drug use, or that the author was on drugs when writing the book.



  • when you take a closer look at the Caterpillar,you'll see that his nose and chin are really two of his legs!
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.