“What is this?” asks this reader about the black organism in the screenshot below. The creature was found next to our reader’s car by dog excrement.
“I have an infestation of some kind which really affects me,” states this reader from Phoenix Arizona. She asks for our help in identifying anything from the photos she sent in.
“I found this on our water while I was filling the tub”, states this reader in her query concerning the black worm pictured below. She is not sure if they are leeches or something else, and wants to know if it is harmful.
There is no getting around that leeches get a bad reputation, and we are sure that a couple of our readers might even have grimaced at just reading the word. However, while movies and TV represent leeches through their parasitic relationship to humans, as an entity by themselves, leeches are quite fascinating, and can even be beneficial to humans!
A reader wonders if the creature in this photograph is a dead slug. From the photo we can tell that the creature has black coloration, a smooth exterior, a shape that is bulbous at the head but thins out towards the tail, and is small compared to the $10 bill our reader exhibited for size comparison.
Glossy, black worms were found by this reader in her bed sheets. Having recently moved to Florida, our reader wonders if this is something her dog or her landlord’s cats is bringing in to her home, and hopes that we can tell her what these creatures might be.
We believe the small black organisms our reader found in her pond are either leeches or black fly larvae. Both are similar in appearance, though leeches are slightly bigger, and both are commonly found in ponds. Neither species are considered invasive and neither should damage her pond or cause any problems with the fish!
We received a very interesting question from a reader in Germany about a worm that may have bitten her mother’s arm – or “sucked upon” her mother’s arm – while she slept. The reader referred to the worm as “limb boring,” which is fitting since the worm evidently did some damage to her mother’s arm, producing an open wound about the size of a 5 pence coin (which is about the size of a dime). The reader initially didn’t believe her mother, thinking she must be mistaken about what happened, but this Christmas she visited her mom, who showed her the scar from the worm bite. Moreover, the reader found a dried worm in a vent near her mother’s bedroom, and the vent was spattered with dry blood. The reader is now unsure what to think, and wrote to us to see if her mother’s story about the biting worm is at all possible.
A reader wrote to us about a rash her son has in response to what is believed to be a leech bite. She found what looked like a leech on her son’s PE kit after rugby practice, and it was at this time that she noticed his skin reaction, which began as a red spot, and then spread into an itchy rash that covered parts of his body, arms, and legs. The reader has already sought medical help, and her son has been prescribed antibiotics. She only wrote to us to ask if we have ever heard of this sort of skin reaction occurring in response to a leech bite, and also to determine if what she found was in fact a leech.
A reader wrote to us a few days ago about some small black worms she found at the bottom of her kids’ laundry basket. She also found a couple more worms when transferring their clothes from the washing machine to the drier, so the worms can evidently be traced back to the clothing of her children. The reader was wondering what these black worms in the laundry basket are, and we think they might be leeches (which are actually worms) or potentially slugs (which aren’t worms).
A reader sent us a picture of two smooth, black, worm-like creatures that he found by a swimming pool, which he thought might be leeches. The leeches, if they are leeches, were on a ledge right on the side of the pool, a little above the water line. They reader said they moved very slow by expanding and contracting, and that they are black on top, but a lighter, tan or brownish color on the bottom. The reader was only wondering if he found leeches, so we’ll limit ourselves to the matter of identification. Did our reader find leeches by the pool?
A reader recently wrote to us about a black worm she found on the wall of her house. The worm is also described as “slick” and is about four inches long. The reader’s house is on the east coast of Florida, in a town called Fort Pierce. So, the reader’s worm is from Florida – it is a Florida worm, if you will, although of course the worm she discovered might be found in any number of other places depending on what it is. The reader was also concerned if the worm is dangerous or harmful, as she has a nine-month-old baby in the house. What is this black, slick worm from Florida, and is it harmful?
When you’re in the business of describing worms and related creatures, as we are, you grow to tolerate things that the common folk might regard as creepy and disgusting. But we are humans just the same, so when we received a picture recently from a reader of what appears to be a worm with teeth, we could react with nothing but disgust and indeed a bit of terror. We don’t mean to belabor the point, but the worm (or rather worm-like creature – we’re not sure exactly what it is) is fundamentally gross. As we said, the reader did include a picture, for good or ill, of the “worm with teeth,” and naturally he wanted to know what it is. What is the creature that struck fear into our hearts?
A little while back, we received a very detailed email from a reader about a worm, or what is believed to be a worm, that he encountered. The reader described his situation in some detail: he was sitting on his porch, which is enclosed by screens, when he felt as if he was being bitten on his arm. In response, he examined his arm and found what appeared to be a very small thread. However, the “thread” moved, becoming longer and then contracting again. Because of this movement, the reader concluded that he had come across an extremely small worm. Later, the reader found a few additional tiny worms on his arms and legs.
Worms can cause irritation to the skin if prolonged periods of contact occur, but the irritation is likely from debris or dirt from the ground or the tiny little bristles on worms’ skin that can prick or stick to your skin. This type of skin irritation is rarely cause for concern.
Earthworms don’t actually bite, but their skin can cause major irritation on human skin if contact last more than a few minutes. The irritation is not a result of the actual worm skin but rather the materials that worms pick up as they writhe, wriggle, and borough inside the earth and along the ground.
While leeches are not known to transmit disease, they can cause irritation and other allergic reactions in hosts as well as an infection or blood poisoning. In addition, a leech bite can bleed for hours if not treated. First, you must remove the leech by pushing the leech off the skin from the skinny end.