Ever stumble upon what looked like a swimming hair in a puddle, lake, or your watering can? Well, don't freak out, it wasn't a hair, it was most likely a parasitic worm. YUCK!

I recently came across this viral video and I thought; "what the heck is that disgusting thing?!?"...

Let's start with the most obvious question; what the heck is that thing in the video?

Is it a snake?

A possessed string of human or animal hair?

A worm?!?

What Is a Horsehair Worm?

While browsing through the comments I saw many people say it's a "horsehair worm" or "Gordian Knot worm", which is essentially the same thing.

According to Wikipedia;

Nematomorpha (sometimes called Gordiacea, and commonly known as horsehair wormshairsnakes,[1][2][3] or Gordian worms) are a phylum of parasitoid animals superficially similar to nematode worms in morphology, hence the name.

Horsehair worms are found in damp places like rivers, ponds,lakes, even watering troughs, swimming pools, and puddles.

Now, I must admit that when the man mentions in the video that this creature was found in Lake Huron, near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I felt a sense of relief because that's a safe distance from Illinois, right? Wrong!

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources;

There are two species of horsehair worms in Illinois. They are found in water or damp places on land. The adults are free-living, but the larvae are parasitic on arthropods. They can tie their long, slender body into knots.

Here's the interesting part; adult horsehair worms are free-living and don't need a host to survive. But their young, well, that's a different story.

So, the next time you see a horsehair worm wriggling around, don't panic. They won't harm you...unless you're a grasshopper or cricket.

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