Invasive toxic worms are back in Texas thanks to the heat. There have been reports on flatworm sightings in Texas this year, and social media users are warning about these invasive and toxic worms.
Hammerhead flatworms can grow up to 15 inches and are known for being an invasive species in Texas. Their heads are shaped like a hammerhead shark, but rounded and are light and honey colored with dark stripes.
This worm is toxic and can cause skin irritation in humans if they are touched directly, this is why the Texas Invasive Species Institute recommends using towels, paper towels or a stick when treating them. Also, it is recommended that hands should be washed in warm soapy water and rinsed in alcohol or standard hand disinfectant. In addition, if the worms are eaten by pets or other animals, they can make them sick.
These worms are considered a species dangerous for the environment because they feed on earthworms, which are essential to provide nutrients to soil and other benefits to the ecosystem.
The TISI recommends the population to deal with these worms and send them data of their location to have a full picture of their impact on the environment. These worms can be killed with citrus oil or salt, it is important not to cut the worm because they can reproduce even when portions of their bodies are removed. Also the TISI recommends to seal the worm in a Ziploc bag to ensure it doesn’t crawl away.