One of our readers recently asked us to identify a worm he found in his toilet. He wrote, “it doesn’t look like a tapeworm to me, but that is obviously my fear.” He thinks it could be from his cat, who he lets explore outside on the porch. He thinks the cat might have caught a worm and left it for him in the toilet since the lid wasn’t down. So, did our reader discover a tapeworm or something harmless?
We aren’t sure what this specimen is. It appears to made of thick white segments. Our reader mentioned his worry that it might be a tapeworm, and while a tapeworm is also made of white segments, we don’t think it is what he is dealing with. First, the way that our reader described finding this specimen didn’t suggest that he found it after using the toilet, just that he found it in the toilet. Also, people don’t usually pass an entire tapeworm. Segments break off and are passed individually. That being said, we aren’t medical professionals and therefore can’t say with 100% certainty that this isn’t a tapeworm. We encourage our reader to see a doctor ASAP if he is truly worried that this is a tapeworm or if it might have come from his body.
If, as we suspect, this isn’t a tapeworm, we still aren’t sure what it is. The most common specimens found in toilets are earthworms, bloodworms (midge fly larvae), and drain fly larvae. None of these organisms bears any resemblance to the creature in the photo. In fact, we aren’t familiar with any specimens that look like this. We don’t have any suggestion for our reader on how to handle the situation other than to dispose of the specimen and clean his toilet.
If any of our other readers recognize this specimen, we invite them to comment below. We, unfortunately, aren’t able to identify this segmented, white worm.