This Toxic Creature Could Be Hiding In Illinois Gardens
There's a new creature on the block, and it's inching its way to our backyards in Illinois- it's an infamous toxic worm.
Before you start picturing a worm wearing a tiny, villainous hammerhead shark hat, let me clarify that this worm isn't fashion-forward; it's just plain bizarre.
This creature looks like something straight out of a sci-fi horror movie. The infamous toxic hammerhead worm is making its presence known in Illinois, again.
The worm's head is shaped like a hammer, is toxic, and is harmful to humans.
What makes the hammerhead worm so toxic?
Apparently, it secretes a slimy substance that is toxic to other invertebrates. It's like it's carrying its very own secret weapon, except instead of missiles, it has mucus.
It uses these toxins to paralyze and digest its prey, which, by the way, includes earthworms. It's like the serial killer of the worm world.
You might be wondering how these menacing worms ended up in Illinois in the first place. Did they teleport from some secret wormhole? Did they hitch a ride on a spaceship? Not quite.
The hammerhead worms are no strangers to globe-trotting. They are believed to have originated in Asia and have been gallivanting across the continents, catching flights instead of feelings and setting up camp in new territories.
If you spot a hammerhead worm, a.k.a a flatworm, be weary because they contain the same neurotoxin as pufferfish called tetrodotoxin, also known as “TTX”.
A worm specialist (yes, that's a thing) explained to ABC 5 Chicago that the toxins do not enter your body through your skin, but through the circulatory system.
Touching a hammerhead worm and then rubbing your eye or biting your nail could be incredibly harmful.
What makes these creatures even more sci-fi is they're not easy to kill. They can regenerate, crushing it or slicing and dicing it won’t kill the insect.
But, there is at least one way you can send them to their ultimate demise.
They are sensitive to vinegar, boiling water, drying out. Just Ziploc them in a Ziploc bag and putting them in the sun will take care [of the worm]
The Good Vs. The Bad
The bad news is hammerhead worms eat earthworms, which are needed for gardens and agriculture. The good news is because they can regenerate scientists are studying them for medical purposes like fixing spinal cord injuries.