Earthworms have got to be of the creepiest animals out there. Thank God they are of small size, not that this is great consolation either! Now, imagine the horror of coming across earthworms the size of small snakes! The newly-discovered creature has been documented in The Glasgow Naturalist.
Giant earthworms comparable in size to small snakes were discovered in Papadil on the Isle of Rum, a faraway island in Scotland, by researchers from the University of Central Lancashire. Their relatively enormous size is recorded to be 3 to 4 times greater than most worms, making around 40 cm in length.
The weight of one of the giant worms is 12.5 grams. Generally, earthworms weigh around 4 to 5 grams, and even the largest hitherto known one was 8 grams only. This makes of the new discovery a fascinating one indeed.
Now, another nightmarish fact. According to the scientists, earthworms can continue to grow if left by themselves. The giant ones are said to have reached such a size thanks to its isolated habitat where it is not disturbed by external factors such as predators. Furthermore, lead author Dr Kevin Butt says in a statement to The Telegraph that the worms can be kept in laboratory and fed to ultimately reach 15 to 20 grams.
While we might be utterly grossed out, the existence of these giant worms is in favour of the well-being of the ecosystem. Dr Kevin Butt explains that earthworms are essential in nature: they lower flooding risk by aerating the soil and draining water.
Another good thing pointed out by Dr Butt is that the worms themselves avoid people; when the hear footsteps, they dig deeper into the earth. Well, as long as they are working for nature beyond what our eyes can reach, it’s all good, right?!