Worm fact sheet

Information sheet

Earthworms are the world's unsung heroes. They loosen and mix up the soil, break down and recycle decaying plant matter and fertilise the soil by bringing nutrients closer to the surface.

  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
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Did you know?

  • There are 26 different species (types) of worms in the UK.
  • Earthworms breathe through their skin, so they have to come to the surface when it rains or risk drowning.
  • Worms can move an amazing amount of soil for their small size. A worm can eat its own weight in soil in one day.
  • Earth worms burrow through the soil creating channels that add oxygen to the soil and allow carbon dioxide to escape. The channels also allow rain to drain away.
  • Worms eat soil and organic matter such as fallen leaves, mixing these ingredients together and then ‘poo’ them out. Some composting systems collect this ‘worm poo’ to make a rich fertile compost which can be added to potting mixes.
  • Worm casts which are seen on the surface of lawns are made by 5 types of worms, called casting worms. Mostly found from autumn to spring, these casts are by-products of eating (i.e. worm poo!).
  • If you accidentally cut a worm in two, only the head end will regenerate and survive assuming the damage isn’t too extreme.
  • Earthworms range in length from a tiny one millimetre to a massive three metres.
  • Worms do not have eyes and prefer the dark. They can sense light and dark and prefer dark conditions because they are easily damaged by UV rays and will dry out quicky
  • Famously hermaphroditic, earthworms are both male and female in one body, though it still takes two worms to reproduce.

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