It is often wondered whether worms or earthworms make sounds or if they have the ability to make noise through some kind of vocal chords.
I’ve been asked countless times if earthworms make any noise. I was curious too and started wondering about it myself.
After keeping African Night Crawler worms for so long, I’ve never really heard them making any noise.
However, I have heard them making some noise before when I kept a different worm species.
I once had a box of red wigglers and yes, if you listen closely enough, you would hear the sound of them rubbing their mucus across each other as they slithered.
Kind of like the sound of someone walking in a swamp.
As red wigglers are relatively small and more active, we hear them more easily when they move around.
On the contrary, we rarely hear the nightcrawler earthworms which are seemingly lazier and slower.
Do Worms Have Vocal Chords?
From a scientific point of view, ordinary earthworms do not have vocal cords and do not make a sound.
We can only hear some slight sounds if you listen really carefully when their skin produces mucus or when worms bristles rub against each other.
They actually do not like sound and it’s probably due to their sensitivity to vibration, which is a survival instinct that lets them know a predator is nearby.
Sound is a product of vibration between objects, and air is the medium (that’s why we can speak with vocal cords).
This means the breeding of earthworms is usually not done in a noisy place where many cars pass by, for example, or the earthworms would escape.
Here are a few overlooked reasons for why earthworms escape if you want to know more about this.
But, when I received this video, it challenged my understanding:
When the old man in the video took his dog for a walk at night, he seemingly found an earthworm which loved to sing.
Weird! Are the earthworms making noises?
When I thought back, I recalled some older generations saying the same thing to me.
They might have seen the same species of worm and it might be what’d happened, but then I wondered if it really was an earthworm, as it looked thicker than usual.
Although this video isn’t very clear, I am quite sure that it’s not fake.
If it’s not an earthworm, then what insect is it? Comments below would be appreciated.
Can Worms Scream or Shout?
The fact is, it is impossible to make such a sound, like screaming or shouting within the structure of a normal earthworm body. They simply don’t have vocal chords as we mentioned before.
And even experienced people I’ve spoken to in the earthworm breeding industry have never heard of this sound.
There are over a thousand kinds of varying earthworms (For example, Australia recorded the largest earthworm at about 3 meters long), which makes it difficult to know if there is a special kind that CAN make sound or noises via a vocal chord.
But to my knowledge, there hasn’t been a species discovered yet that can make sound via a vocal chord.
If we don’t consider vocal chords, there are some worms that can make noise or sounds. One type is an arthropod called the sod webworm.
Though technically called a worm, they aren’t segmented worms or annelids like your typical earthworm. They are classed as arthropods and insects, which eventually turn into moths, whereas earthworms are neither of those things.
Sod webworms eat grass and destroy crops, so they are considered pests.
There are tens of thousands of species of sod webworms all over the world, and some of the more advanced species have harder shells, and they will make a sound after shaking themselves. After some time, they form pupae and become moths.
One Tiny Marine Worm That Does Make One of the Loudest Sounds
There is one tiny marine worm that DOES make an incredibly loud noise – the Leocratides kimuraorum – but this isn’t from having vocal chords either.
It’s a loud popping sound scientists think is generated when they fight or a call to other worms to tell them they’re being attacked.
This tiny worm that lives around the coasts of Japan is a 29mm long sea worm and makes one of the loudest sounds in the world. Fascinating.
By the way, if your earthworms make noise, please comment below, as I’d be interested to hear what kind of sounds they are making, and what species they are.
Are they scraping/slithering sounds or more of what sounds like a “vocal” noise?