We started warning you last year about these harmful critters invading the Great State of Arkansas, it's still happening, and it appears to be getting worse. Officials warn, do not touch these things with your bare hands, and you should kill them if you have the chance.

What is it?

The toxic hammerhead flatworm.

The University of Arkansas has recently issued a warning about these disastrous worms which prey upon beneficial earthworms.

Earthworms Good, Hammerhead Worms Bad

Officials with the University of Arkansas tell us that if you see one of these anywhere, not just in Arkansas, don't hesitate to kill it. This is an invasive species that is consuming other, beneficial animals in our soil. The hammerhead flatworm looks just like it sounds, a long tubular sort of flat body, up to 20 inches long, with a head at the end that flattens out more and is much wider than the body, almost spade-like.

Good worm - bad worm - Canva
Good worm - bad worm - Canva

Don't Touch With Bare Hands

These worms contain a neurotoxin similar to the one found in pufferfish. Simply touching this worm has been known to bring on violent illness in some people.

Symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Body numbness
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

UofA says they are usually not dangerous to humans but are typically more irritating than they are harmful. Wash your skin if you come in contact with one immediately, just to be safe. Do not allow your pets to eat them, the toxin can make them very sick.

So, How Do You Kill It?

Stop - Don't Do It - Canva
Stop - Don't Do It - Canva

According to the University of Arkansas, these pests need to be exterminated whenever you see one, but again, don't touch them with your bare hands, use gloves.

Do not cut them into smaller pieces, that doesn't kill them, it just makes more. Nightmarish little critters aren't they?

So you can't touch it barehanded, you can't chop it into pieces, how do you kill hammerhead worms? Here you go:

  • Using gloves, put the worm into a bucket or baggie with salt or vinegar.
  • or very hot water,
  • or citrus oil.
  • You can squish them, but that's pretty messy.

Trying to keep track of these worms is not an easy task, but you can help science by reporting their location here if you wish.

The University of Arkansas site says you don't have to report them, but please kill them.

Want to know more about hammerhead worms, like, how they eat and digest their food? Check out the video below. By the way... Ewwww!

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