Hammerhead worms

annageckos

New Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
PA
I've been working in my gardens, getting them ready since it has been so nice out and I've found a few hammerhead worms. They are an invasive species from Asia and eat earthworms. I believe the species is Bipalium kewense, Arrowhead flatworm/planarian. I know there is a risk of parasites feeding wild food, but once the weather is a bit nicer I'll be moving my Eastern box turtle outside anyway so I'm sure it will be eating all kinds of wild bugs. I don't use any chemicals, no herbicides/pesticides/insecticides. Not even any fertilizers, only compost that I make. Has anyone fed their turtle these worms? I've read they have some toxins and still need to look more into it. Anyone have any experience here?
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
84,810
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
What I read about them on Google makes me afraid to allow box turtles to eat them.
 

1289Gabe

Active Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2020
Messages
113
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego California
I've been working in my gardens, getting them ready since it has been so nice out and I've found a few hammerhead worms. They are an invasive species from Asia and eat earthworms. I believe the species is Bipalium kewense, Arrowhead flatworm/planarian. I know there is a risk of parasites feeding wild food, but once the weather is a bit nicer I'll be moving my Eastern box turtle outside anyway so I'm sure it will be eating all kinds of wild bugs. I don't use any chemicals, no herbicides/pesticides/insecticides. Not even any fertilizers, only compost that I make. Has anyone fed their turtle these worms? I've read they have some toxins and still need to look more into it. Anyone have any experience here?
I just read an article on them and it said they have the same poison in them as puffer fish. So I would say no on eating them😬
 

annageckos

New Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2019
Messages
2
Location (City and/or State)
PA
That is what I've read, and I don't plan to feed them but I'm wondering now. Are these actually toxic to box turtles? How much toxin do they have? If I have the turtle outside it(I'm not sure on sex, too young) may very well come across these, is that a problem. I hate jumping on the 'OMG it has a toxin!!!!!!' and going with it. I know that reptiles are different than mammals and aren't affected by the same things the way we are. I know that boxies can eat mushrooms that would be deadly to us. I know I'll never get a complete answer.
 

1289Gabe

Active Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2020
Messages
113
Location (City and/or State)
San Diego California
That is what I've read, and I don't plan to feed them but I'm wondering now. Are these actually toxic to box turtles? How much toxin do they have? If I have the turtle outside it(I'm not sure on sex, too young) may very well come across these, is that a problem. I hate jumping on the 'OMG it has a toxin!!!!!!' and going with it. I know that reptiles are different than mammals and aren't affected by the same things the way we are. I know that boxies can eat mushrooms that would be deadly to us. I know I'll never get a complete answer.
I wouldn't risk it until you get more info.
 

ZenHerper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2020
Messages
411
Location (City and/or State)
New Jersey
Hmmm. There are several types of hammerheads, not all are considered toxic.

An anecdote about a salamander eating one without apparent consequence from the Texas Invasive Species Institute in 2014:


You might try calling PA's agricultural dept and/or the reptile department at the Philadelphia Zoo. If they don't have local species' info right at hand, they would have the contacts to reach out for data, if any exist.
 

New Posts

Top