A weird creature found in Virginia last week, initially thought of as a snake, has been identified as a large invasive species of Asian worm.
Images posted on Virginia Wildlife Management and Control facebook page on October 28, showed a long weird snake-like creature. It was reported to be 10-12 inches long and had a half moon-shaped head. The post compared it to another spooky creature found in Virginia a couple years ago. The department was not sure if it was a “freak of nature” like the two headed copperhead they were involved with a few years ago.
The facebook post was soon filled with comments pointing out that the creature was in fact a hammerhead worm.
The information was later verified by the Texas Invasive Species Institute. The hammerhead worm is a “terrestrial flatworm” native to South Asia. Indeed one of the commenters on the post was from Okinawa Japan and pointed out that it was found in their locality. A resident of Mecklenburg County VA also claimed to have seen the species in their yard.
The department later posted the video that was sent to their Snake Identification Hotline from Midlothian Virginia.
According to Texas Invasive Species Institute the species hitchhiked its way to the U.S. decades ago in the horticulture trade and specimens have been found in greenhouses as far north as Maine.
Virginia is not among the state’s where the worms have been found, but they have turned up in nearby North Carolina, the institute reports.
The species of the worm is hermaphroditic which means it has both male and female genitalia. The worm can also quickly regain any damage to its tissues and can grow into multiple new creatures if cut into pieces. Everybody had the same joke about the hammerhead worm being practically immortal. There is indeed some truth to the claim.
“Flatworms may not look that exciting, but they have an astonishing superpower: regeneration. When bits of them are amputated, these bits can regrow into complete worms — even from snipped-off fragments that represent 1/300th of the worm’s body,” Live Science reports.
For that reason, the Virginia Wildlife Management and Control officials did not kill the worm. They thought it was better to just leave it alone.
Virginia Wildlife Management and Control department services all of Central Virginia and its surrounding areas 24/7 and can be contacted anytime, day or night at 804-617-7086 or 804-304-0464 for animal or pests related issues.
John is a local news reporter for the Virginia Herald. His coverage area is statewide with a focus on NOVA and Richmond area news.
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