In Texas, an invasive species of worm have started to appear after the recent rainfalls. These invertebrates, called hammerhead flatworms, have been forced to surface from their underground homes after rains. Some of the worms are small, while others can be a foot long. People who will see these worms in their homes are advised not to cut them in half because they reproduce through fragmentation.
According to the Texas Invasive Species Institute, there is a reason behind not cutting hammerhead flatworms in half. After you cut the worm, another head will form within 10 days. So when they get cut into pieces, “we’re just helping them along,” said the institute.
These worms were first spotted in the Dallas-Fort Worth area through a viral Facebook post showing them. Through their director of research and outreach, the institute said that they confirmed if the sighting was real, and it is.
So far, there have been more than 200 reports of seeing these hammerhead flatworms in the past days. Usually, the worm gets spotted in Southeast Texas, but the institute gauged that they are all over the state through the reports they received.
The hammerhead flatworms prey on earthworms, which are essential to the environment. This is the reason why these worms are invasive. They are easy to spot because they have heads like the Hammerhead sharks. They can irritate a person’s skin and make pets sick because of the neurotoxin that they secrete.
When you see a hammerhead flatworm, you are advised not to handle them with bare hands. The institute added in a statement, “The final threat is that like other flatworms, slugs, and snails, they have the ability to transmit harmful parasites to humans and mammals alike. All of these reasons are why we do not want you to handle them with bare hands and encourage you to properly dispose of them from your property.” It is advised that you place these worms in sealed bags with salt or vinegar and freeze them overnight.