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Dangerous species of worm found in Arkansas

An example of a hammerhead worm.
An example of a hammerhead worm.(UAEX-Greene)
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 7:26 PM CDT
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GREENE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Most people assume most worms are harmless, but that is not the case, as a dangerous species of a worm has been spotted in Arkansas.

Since the week of June 13, hammerhead worms have been found in Greene County, according to the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture.

Officials said hammerhead worms can contain a potent neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin, which is often found in pufferfish. Exposure to tetrodotoxin can cause headaches, body numbness, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

They mentioned hammerhead worms are carnivorous and if they are cut in half, they will regenerate, creating two worms instead of one.

Officials said if you spot a hammerhead worm, you should do the following:

  • Do not touch it! Wear gloves if you handle them.
  • Do not hesitate to kill the worm! They recommend putting it into a bucket with salt, vinegar, or hot water to kill it.

Hammerhead worms are often identified by their broad spade-shaped head and long-flattened body. They typically grow to be 8 to 12 inches.

If you spot a hammerhead worm, officials recommend reporting your sighting by clicking here.

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