Worms are fascinating creatures and although they may look and act simple enough, they are far more complex than most people give them credit for.
Here are 16 fun worm facts for kids and adults alike! Time to learn all about worms and the important role they play in our world…
1. Earthworms do not have eyes – their bodies have photoreceptor cells, so they can sense light.
Although earthworms do not have eyes, they have photoreceptor cells on their bodies, so they can clearly feel the light.
Because of their photophobia, (dislike of light) it is much easier to harvest vermicompost from artificial worm farms.
We go into greater depth when answering the question, do earthworms have eyes? <– Here
2. Earthworms are hermaphroditic (have both sexual organs)
And they also use allogeneic fertilization. Meaning, after mating, both worms can lay eggs.
The band or ring shape on earthworms is their clitellum and is used to determine whether they are sexually mature and their reproduction organs are ready.
During mating, the two earthworms entangle with each other for several hours.
3. Earthworms breathe through the skin and can survive in the water for a while.
Earthworms breathe through their skin. If the environment is too dry, their body will release mucus to moisturize.
Different types of earthworms have different breathing properties and resistance to water, and some can live longer in water.
But can earthworms drown? < We discuss this in detail.
4. Earthworms do not regenerate and survive on both ends after being cut in half.
They can survive, however, if 2/3 of the important organs in the front end are preserved and unharmed.
Earthworms are not able to survive after they are cut into many segments, but they mainly rely on the 2/3 of their vital organs in the front end.
If most of them can be kept intact, the probability of regeneration is higher.
Some earthworms can regenerate – find out how and why they can detach their tails and escape like geckos.
5. The longest earthworm can reach 2 meters or more.
It’s true! This is the Giant Gippsland Earthworm in Australia. See this video of the world famous, David Attenborough finding one on his travels.
6. After heavy rain, earthworms crawl out of the soil because of lack of oxygen.
This is one theory for why earthworms crawl out of soil after heavy rain.
Though another is that the rain tapping on the surface which draws worms out of the soil. (this is how some predators draw worms out)
7. Earthworms are oviparous, and their eggs are the size of a rice grain in milky yellow color. Small earthworms hatch in two weeks.
Earthworms are oviparous animals i.e. they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.
In a suitable environment, small earthworms can generally become sexually mature (ring band forming) in 2-3 months.
After that, on average approximately 3 eggs would be laid every ten days. The hatching rate is about 70-80%, and they generally take 2 weeks to hatch.
Each hatched egg can contain 1-3 small earthworms,
8. The average lifespan of an earthworm is 1-3 years.
The lifespan of earthworms varies from species to species.
The European bloodworms, which are commonly used in artificial breeding, could live for 1-2 years.
Some earthworms or large foreign earthworms can survive up to 4 years.
I have written about the types of earthworms that are usually used in captive breeding and vermicomposting.
9. Earthworms do not make any sound.
Earthworms have no vocal cords and do not make sounds. I have a detailed explanation in another article that answers the question, do worms make sound?
10. The earthworm hormones extracted from the body of earthworms can prevent stroke.
In recent years, kinases (enzymes) extracted from earthworms have been found to be effective in treating blood clots, which can help people at high risk of stroke or those suffering from vascular sclerosis/blockage related diseases.
11. Earthworms are known as Annelids and are invertebrates – they have no backbone, or bones at all!
You might be wondering how worms move at all if they have no bones? It’s a good question. They use exterior bristles and muscles within their body.
We explain in more detail here —> do earthworms have bones?
12. Earthworms can eat the heavy metals in the soil and restore the barren land.
Regarding the restoration of land, this is aimed at land destroyed by man-made industries.
Such lands contain heavy metals and excessive chemical residues and are no longer suitable for cultivation.
A number of studies have proved (1, 2) that earthworms have the ability to restore barren heavy metal land to fertile farmland.
13. Earthworms also eat rotten meat.
Earthworms are omnivorous, and they can eat a wide range of things.
In addition to the general corrosion of leaves, feces, dead wood, fruits and vegetables, yes worms also eat rotten meat (though this isn’t recommended for worms in captivity unless you love nasty pests!)
You can read more about all kinds of foods that earthworms eat < in our ultimate guide.
14. Earthworms eat soil, absorb it, then poop it out to become organic earthworm castings; a VERY effective fertilizer.
The practice of using worms to do this and harvesting their castings is known as vermicomposting.
15. Earthworms are not only traditional Chinese medicine, but they are also snacks in many places.
Earthworms in some parts of the world have medical use.
Many places around the world are also in the habit of eating earthworms, and many locals also make earthworms into dishes.
Aside from normal frying and braising, there are also worms in milk soup in China or worm patties in Vietnam – see more worm dishes in our article that answers the question, can humans eat worms?
16. Earthworms also have red blood.
Do earthworms bleed red like you and me? Yes, though you might not always see it as worms have a very low blood pressure!