BEWARE: Carnivorous Worms Invade Ohio

By Logan DeLoye

May 17, 2022

Fresh fat innkeeper worm at local fish market
Photo: Getty Images

The carnivorous hammerhead worm has officially been spotted in Northeast Ohio. They are invasive to earthworms and agriculture. According to FOX8, though they are not dangerous to humans and other animals; hammerhead worms release a toxin similar to that of puffer fish that stuns their prey.

"These big terrestrial flatworms crawl around, they live in moist places. You find them typically under compost or under boards," Chris Carlton, director emeritus at the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center shared with USA Today.

The worms have a tube mouth that comes out of their body, helping them to consume larger prey such as snails and slugs.

“They sort of wrap themselves around them (insects), and they digest them from the inside out and they basically drink the digested organism like a Slurpee.”

Ohioans who work in agriculture are worried that by decreasing the earthworm population, the hammerhead worms will directly effect the success of their crops. So what should you do if you see one of these worms, and how can you specifically classify it?

FOX8 described hammerhead worms to be a honey-brown color and to grow longer than a foot in some instances. They are most commonly classified by their uniquely shaped flat head. The worms cannot be killed simply by cutting, as they are able to regenerate any part of their body. The only way to stop the invasive species is to trap them in a container and pour salt or vinegar on them.

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