Earthworms are made up of many ridged segments. They are covered in minute hairs, which allow them to grip the soil and move.
They usually live in the soil’s top few centimetres, but will burrow deeper to find essential moisture if the earth dries out or freezes.
Worms are vital in maintaining soil structure and fertility as they aerate the soil, improve drainage and bring nutrients to the surface.
Although worms have both male and female reproductive organs (hermaphrodite), they still need to find a mate and exchange sperm before they can reproduce.
They make a cocoon in which they deposit both eggs and their partner’s sperm – live worms emerge later. Earthworms are an important source of food for plenty of creatures, including hedgehogs, foxes, moles, many birds, slow worms and amphibians.
It is a common misconception that if you cut a worm in half it makes two new worms. Although they can regenerate to a small degree, usually both halves die.
What they eat:
Decaying organic matter.
- Up to 30 cm