10 Little Known Facts About Earthworms

Geo Beats
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Here are 10 little known facts about earthworms.

Spring has sprung, and along with more frequent sightings of flowers and raindrops, you may find yourself crossing paths with a few earthworms.

Here are 10 little known facts about them.

Number 10. They can get big. Australia is home to the giant Gippsland earthworm, a variety that can grow to be 3 feet long. Luckily, it makes an odd gurgling sound at times, so it may be possible to hear it coming.

Number 9. Cut pieces don’t always become new, whole worms.

"I am a happy earthworm. Now that I am 2." [MSN]

Depending upon where the worm was cut and how big the remaining pieces are, it may be able to regrow some parts. Often times, though, what they end up with isn’t as functional as what they had.

Number 8. There are more than 7 thousand species. Close to 200 of them live in the US. Over 50 of those are considered to be invasive.

Number 7. Earthworms breathe through their skin. They have no lungs or other respiratory organs, but that’s really for the best as they do spend most of their time underground surrounded by soil. Their skin is no match for rain, however, as earthworms are prone to drowning.

Number 6. They’re hermaphroditic. Even though each of them has both male and female reproductive organs, they still mate with other worms.

Number 5. Earthworms eat a lot. On a daily basis they consume about a third of their body weight in food. Their meal of choice is soil that’s chock full of decayed organic matter.

Number 4. They like the dark. Earthworms burrow up to 6 and a-half feet underground. Typically, they only venture above the surface at night. That’s how they earned the nickname ‘night crawlers’.

Number 3. Finding the head is actually easy. It’s the end closest to the wide band that wraps around them. Conversely, as they move both backwards and forwards, direction of travel is not a good indicator of which end is which.

Number 2. North America is new territory. The worms hailed from Europe and didn’t come to this continent until explorers and settlers started to arrive. At the time ships balanced their weight with dirt, and with the soil came the earthworms.

Number 1. They’ve proven to be quite useful. The burrowing habits of earthworms help aerate soil and move nutrients around. Plus, they’re an excellent food source for birds.

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