Strange, toxic worms may be wiggling into a yard near you

BATON ROUGE – Officials at the LSU Ag Center say an invasive wiggly, slimy, and unusual worm is showing up in people’s yards. They’re called Hammerhead worms, and they have a distinctive flat head.

“There’s no telling where they came from. They could have been from England, where they were introduced from somewhere,” said Dr. Christopher Carlton, emeritus professor.

Dr. Carlton, from the entomology department, says he has seen Hammerhead worms here in Louisiana for years.

“You almost never find them in large numbers. You usually see one or two here and there,” Dr. Carlton said.

Carlton says while they pose no real threat, people should avoid touching them and definitely not eat them.

“There is some data that indicates that they produce a neurotoxin, via their secretions, that is similar to a neurotoxin produced by puffer fish,” Dr. Carlton said.

He says if you do touch them, wash your hands immediately. However, it’s probably to avoid them altogether.

“I would not advise killing them, there really is no reason to,” the professor said.

Killing them is difficult. Carlton says if they get cut up, they re-grow into a new worm.

“If you cut them up, into pieces, you are just producing more worms. You can either freeze them, or put salt on them , and it will dry them up and they’ll die,” Dr. Carlton said.

You can read more on the worms here.

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