“On the carport we found a dead worm: thinking it may be a hammerhead??!” exclaims this reader in her submission, which is unfortunately not accompanied by a photo of the worm she is referring to. The worm was found when our reader was vacationing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Not only does our reader not include any photos, but she does not include any more context than that written above either. Nonetheless, we will do our best to answer our reader’s question with as much information as we can provide.
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She will be able to confirm whether or not the worm she found is a hammerhead or not by looking for one key characteristic, the hammer-shaped head for which they are known. To some it looks more like a spade, or perhaps a boomerang. The photo below, taken from a previous article about hammerhead worms, shows such a worm, which our reader can use as a point of reference.
Likewise, our reader may also want to consult such an “article about hammerhead worms” from our website if she wants to know more about these creatures.
Either way, we will cover the basic facts about hammerhead worms that our reader might want to know. Firstly, hammerhead worms are predators, but they are not dangerous to humans. They are not parasitic and they do not bite. The most they can do is secrete a fluid which, if touched, can cause stinging. So, if our reader needs to handle the worm, we suggest scooping it up onto a dustpan without using her hands (unless she is wearing gardening gloves or some other type of protective gear).
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Secondly, these creatures are considered an invasive species in certain areas, but despite that title, they do not tend to invade homes and cause infestations. That said, it is not unheard of for someone to find a hammerhead worm in their home, but that is not because it wants to set up shelter there, but usually because it is chasing prey.
Lastly, one fun fact about the hammerhead worm is that it eats its prey by liquefying it (using the aforementioned secretion) and then drinking it up with a straw-like appendage that extends from its ‘face’! Of course, as stated previously, this liquid will only cause stinging sensations for a human being, as they are far too big to be disintegrated by a hammerhead worm.
To conclude, this has been a brief overview of the hammerhead worm, so if that is indeed what our reader found on the carport, then we hope that this information has proved useful. We wish her the very best!