WACO, Texas — A hammerhead flatworm sighting isn't uncommon in Central Texas. Just ask Erin Stamile's seven-year-old son Ben.
"Ben is always trying to find all the critters and get involved as much as he can an outdoor activities," Stamile explained. "While he was outside at school, the teacher said, go look for worms, we're gonna put them in the compost. While he was searching for those, he found the hammerhead worms."
Hammerhead worms look just like how they sound. They have heads that look exactly like hammerhead sharks.
They can be found anywhere in the United States and thrive in dirt from gardens or lawns.
These worms are known to be predators to earthworms. Texas Invasive Species Director Ashley Morgan-Olvera says while they look unique, they're an invasive species and can be a danger to people and animals.
"Thankfully, it's a minimal risk for humans," Olvera explained. "It can make animals feel nauseous. So if your cat or dog accidentally eats one, the flat worms defense mechanism is to have the animal regurgitate. The dog or cat will likely feel nauseous for about a day or two."
If you ever happen to encounter a hammerhead worm, its is recommended to kill it. But chopping it into pieces isn't they way to do it because all they will do is regenerate.
"Flat worms are kind of notorious for doing that so that's why we definitely say do not cut the worm if you're trying to kill it because the segment was just regenerate ahead and keep producing more worm. That's really important if you're removing it," Olvera said.
Spraying salt or vinegar is the best option to fully get rid of the animal.