Is the hammerhead worm dangerous?

Hammerhead or Flat Worm
Hammerhead or Flat Worm(WGCL)
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Social media sleuths have been posting about hammerhead worms invading the Lowcountry recently.

To start our quest to learn everything about the hammerhead worm, I called everybody I could. At first, all the experts from pest control to the Department of Natural Resources didn’t have the information I was looking for. But then, a breakthrough

“I found one on the steps of the USCB Library about 10 or 12 years ago,” USCB Department of Natural Sciences chair Joe Staton, PhD. said.

He says they’ve been slithering around our area even longer than that, first spotted in the Southeast back in the 1950s and packing a punch.

“Recent studies have shown that the worms do produce a tetrodotoxin which is the same thing that’s in the puffer fish.”

When asked if this is a threat to pets in the Lowcountry, Staton said, “Absolutely not.”

He says the poison is only enough to immobilize earth worms for the hammerheads to eat, not your dog and definitely not you.

If you do come across one, cutting it up will only allow it to reproduce. So, if you want to get rid of it for good, experts say salt is the way to go.

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