Officials say "don't touch it" but yet they want you to kill it, what is it? The very toxic hammerhead flatworm, which is slowly invading Arkansas.

In fact, if you see one of these anywhere, not just in Arkansas, don't hesitate to kill it. This is an invasive species that is consuming the beneficial critters in our soil. The hammerhead flatworm looks just like it sounds, a long tubular sort of flat body, up to 12 inches long, with a head at the end that flattens out more and is much wider than the body, almost spade-like.

Hammerhead Flatworms Are Gross and Bad - Inside Edition YouTube
Hammerhead Flatworms Are Gross and Bad - Inside Edition YouTube
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The hammerhead flatworm is carnivorous and feeds on snails and earthworms, they are very toxic and can make you quite ill if you handle one with your bare hands. These worms contain a dangerous neurotoxin similar to the one found in pufferfish. Simply touching this worm can bring on violent illness.

Symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Body numbness
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

According to the University of Arkansas, these pests need to be exterminated whenever you see one but again, don't touch them with your bare hands, use gloves. Cutting them into pieces will only create more of them so that's not the answer either.

Hammerhead Flatworms Are Gross and Bad 2 - Inside Edition YouTube
Hammerhead Flatworms Are Gross and Bad 2 - Inside Edition YouTube
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To kill hammerhead worms you must:

  • put the worm into a bucket or baggie with salt or vinegar.
  • or very hot water.
  • you can squish them, but that's kinda messy.

Trying to keep track of these worms is not an easy task, but you can help science by reporting their location here.

Want to know more about hammerhead worms, like, how do they eat and digest their food? Check out this video: By the way... Ewwww!

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

WATCH OUT: These are the deadliest animals in the world

 

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