5 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know about Earthworms
These animals live in your garden, they don’t have eyes or legs, and they move really fast… Earthworms are extremely strange creatures! That’s why today you can read this article and learn some interesting facts about these expert diggers.
5 interesting facts about earthworms
Have you ever wondered how earthworms eat and reproduce? Or how they can live underground without having any eyes? Continue reading to find the answers to those questions, along with some other fascinating facts.
1. They really like to eat
You can’t see their mouth or how many teeth they have, because they don’t have any. What you can see is that they eat very well. But how? All they really do is expand their body. These little creatures have a huge appetite, and they spend hours and hours munching on organic waste.
They do this through a kind of bodily orifice that they use like a vacuum. In fact, they can eat up to half their weight in food in just one day! But there’s more, they can process over ten pounds of food a year. They never get tired and they’re always hungry, so their digestive system quickly processes the nutrients they consume.
2. They live in damp areas, but not puddles
Earthworms have to live in damp areas because they breathe through their skin. They constantly need moisture. But at the same time, puddles or other watery areas are deadly to them.
When it rains a lot and their home gets extremely wet, they come out to the surface or go to higher ground. When the water dries up they might go back, or they might just stay in their new home! It all depends on how much food is available.
If they’re in an extremely dry area, they can dig holes up to two meters deep to find the dampness they need to survive.
3. They’re hermaphrodites
Another interesting fact about earthworms is that they have non-visible reproductive organs. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t reproduce. They actually do it in a very productive manner. They’re male and female at the same time, so they don’t have too much trouble finding a mate.
They begin to expand the ring around their body, which contains sperm and eggs. They close off that area and a few days later baby earthworms come out! This happens every forty-five days, in case you were wondering how there are always so many in your yard.
One more thing: they can’t reproduce asexual, which means they always need a mate to reproduce.
Likewise, they can regenerate themselves. That means if for some reason they get cut in two, the part with their head will regrow the missing half.
4. They’re extremely sensitive to light
They don’t have eyes, but their skin is so thin that the moment they feel light or heat they have to rush back underground where it’s nice and dark. That’s why when they move around so wildly if you take them out of a flower pot.
The sunlight dries their skin and suffocates them. That’s why they do anything to get away from light.
5. They play a vital role in the ecosystem
Earthworms help create fertile ground, which helps plants, flowers, and gardens grow. Plus, they improve the physical and chemical makeup of the soil and help increase bacteria activity.
They play a part in the natural cycles of carbon and nitrogen in the soil. They compost organic waste, which stops it from ending up in a landfill and causing pollution and disease. A lot of birds eat them, which means they’re also part of the food chain. So let’s be thankful for earthworms and everything they do!