Invasive snake-like worms popping up again in Georgia. Here’s what to do if you see one

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A growing number of metro area gardeners are crossing paths with something that looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie.

“It looked like an alien. It really had a strange look to it. Something I’ve never seen before,” Tim Breer said.

The hammerhead worm species has been spotted in Georgia. The worm gets its name because its head resembles that of a Hammerhead shark.

The worm is often confused for a snake because of its slender body and ability to grow up to a foot in length.

“Even for me -- and I’m pretty well acquainted with the creepier crawlies that we have --this really stuck out to me,” said James Murphy, a UGA agriculture extension agent.

Murphy told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen that the species was first brought to Georgia more than 100 years ago. However, it has just recently been spotted again in the Peach state.

It’s believed the invasive species hitched a ride in a potted plant from Asia.


The hammerhead has no natural predator in Georgia. The hammerhead is a predator for the common earthworm. This creates a problem because earthworms are precious to the ecosystem.

Scientists say if you encounter a hammerhead worm, you should not chop it up to exterminate it. These worms have the ability to regenerate a new head at the cut location.

“If you were to slice one or take it and put it into a couple of pieces, it can absolutely reproduce into a fully living worm just from that cut piece,” Murphy said.

“I’m usually a ‘live and let live.’ But in this case, it’s something that would probably be prudent to take action,” he said.

It’s recommended that you use vinegar or salt to rid your environment of the worms.