Clostridium species are a group of Gram-positive bacteria that cause diseases in humans, such as food poisoning, botulism, and tetanus. Here, we analyzed 10 different Clostridium species and identified that Clostridium septicum, a pathogen that causes sepsis and gas gangrene, activates the mammalian cytosolic inflammasome complex in mice and humans. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that α-toxin secreted by C. septicum binds to glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins on the host plasma membrane, oligomerizing and forming a membrane pore that is permissive to efflux of magnesium and potassium ions. Efflux of these cytosolic ions triggers the activation of the innate immune sensor NLRP3, inducing activation of caspase-1 and gasdermin D, secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β and interleukin-18, pyroptosis, and plasma membrane rupture via ninjurin-1. Furthermore, α-toxin of C. septicum induces rapid inflammasome-mediated lethality in mice and pharmacological inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome using MCC950 prevents C. septicum-induced lethality. Overall, our results reveal that cytosolic innate sensing of α-toxin is central to the recognition of C. septicum infection and that therapeutic blockade of the inflammasome pathway may prevent sepsis and death caused by toxin-producing pathogens.