6 amazing facts about earthworms
The earthworm is a truly fascinating creature. They may look fairly simple, but these common garden dwellers are full of surprises. For starters, they have no teeth and five hearts! Read on to discover even more weird and wonderful worm facts – you’ll never look at them in the same way ever again!
1. Earthworms don’t have eyes, ears or a nose
Instead, they have sensors that help them to distinguish between light and dark. This is extremely important, as ultraviolet light rays can kill earthworms! No wonder they spend most of their lives living underground.
2. Earthworms breathe through their skin
Worms do not have lungs. Instead, air and fluids are absorbed through their bodies. However, this only works if they remain moist, which is why they avoid direct sunlight as it can dry them out. So next time you pick up an earthworm and shudder at its sliminess, cut it a little slack – it needs that ‘slime’ to survive!
3. Earthworms are covered in tiny hairs
Whilst earthworms may appear very smooth and slippery, they are in fact covered in tiny hairs that allow them to move more easily through soil. These hairs are a bit like the Velcro on a shoe!
4. Earthworms are tougher than you think
Did you know that if an earthworm is cut in half, one half will survive? An earthworm can regenerate (which means regrow) its missing parts from the head end, as long as it’s not too badly damaged. What’s more, worms are 1,000 times stronger compared with humans!
5. Earthworms are both male and female
Earthworms are ‘hermaphrodites’, meaning they have both male and female reproductive parts. However, two worms are still needed to make babies. They then lay eggs within a cocoon, which go on to hatch two to three weeks later.
6. ‘Worm poo’ is a farmer’s best friend
Worms eat dirt, absorbing plant matter and animal remains into its body and passing the rest. This is known as ‘worm casts’ (aka. worm poo), providing nutrients to the soil, helping plant growth and fighting off diseases. Who knew poo could be so useful?