Toxic Hammerhead worms invade Alabama—here’s how to deal with them

Hammerhead Worm Crawling On Ground
Hammerhead worms can be found across the state.

Hammerhead worms can be very dangerous to Alabamians and their gardens. Learn more about this invasive species, and what to do if you cross paths with one.

Carnivorous, invasive worms

Named for their signature shape, Hammerhead worms are not to be messed with. The carnivorous worms are known to eat earthworms, which makes them bad news for your garden.

PS: Hammerhead worms aren’t the only thing to be aware of as you work in your garden this spring. Be on the lookout for these venomous Alabama caterpillars, too.

Why are Hammerhead Worms dangerous to humans?

According to Only in Your State, the worms are dangerous because they secrete a toxin that can cause severe skin irritation in humans. So, you should absolutely never touch one with your bare hands.

Never heard of Hammerhead worms? You might know them by their aliases: hammerhead flatworm, arrowhead worm or shoveled worm. They can also have different colors and patterns.

If you weren’t disturbed enough, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this…these bad boys can grow to be over a foot long. No thank you!

How to properly dispose of them

Want to know how to properly dispose of the invasive species? Well, the #1 thing you do not want to do is cut one. They have the ability to regenerate, AKA turn into multiple, smaller worms.

Only in Your State advises that you don a pair of gloves and use some salt and vinegar to kill the worms, then dispose of them.

How’d they get here?

So, how did the invasive species make its way to Alabama? According to Southern Living, the theory is that these guys snuck in with plant imports from their native South America and Asia.

They love humid, hot environments, which makes Alabama their ideal place to set up camp.

Want more local news like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our FREE newsletter.

Madison Croxson
Madison Croxson
Articles: 48