Biggest Earthworm found in UK
I have knowledge as a lad when my grandmother used to dig her garden and up would come Earthworms of various shapes, sizes and ages. They used to terrify me and were my nightmarish creature of horror if anything was. For others its spiders and snakes but for me it was most definitely Earthworms but now as Im older perhaps I am little more tolerant of them now.
Dont get me wrong I could never pick one up but I am a keen gardener now and appreciate how they aerate the soil and get rid of debris like decaying leaves which they drag into their borrows and eat.
Worms apparently are aware of each other and as we all should know Earthworms do not have any eyes but apparently can communicate by feel and they know when danger is about as they stay safely in their borrows. We have all seen worms crawling when it rains when the soil is flooded and they are after more dry ground as it were as they too like us are air breathing creatures and would drown. They breath through their skin and although they do not have a brain as we would understand it their nervous section running the length of their body does give them some intelligence like knowing what they want in the decisions they make. They have to be in damp soil and when there is a drought they go lower down and cocoon themselves in mucus and curl up until the soil is damper again and can again crawl up to the higher surface of the soil again.
If they are exposed to sunlight for too long meaning ultra - violet light they will burn, shrivel and die. Their main enemies in the UK are blackbirds, hedgehogs and other types of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles who love juicy earthworms as a delicacy.
The biggest earthworms ever found in the UK were found on the Scottish isle of Rum where they grew to a size bigger than the average size on the British main land and it was thought this was the case because of lack predators.
One earthworm how ever given the name Dave found in Widnes, Cheshire, England by Paul Rees as he was looking at his veg patch is 40cm (15.7in) weighing 26g and is the largest earthworm ever found in the UK. How and why this worm got so large is a mystery as on the British main land the predators described in this piece abound and so put it down to the richness of Mr Rees soil.
Emma Sherlock of The Earthworm Society of GB could not believe the size of the annelid worm and said she was bowled over by the size and weight of the animal. Emma said she would look forward to anyone finding a bigger worm discovery in a survey sponsored by British Museum of Natural History and other interested groups.
The fate of Dave.
This morning on the BBC television breakfast show anchor woman Naga Munchetty was speaking to the British Museum of Natural History in London about what had happened to Dave since it had been taken to the museum.
Unfortunately the worm was killed a little while after it had been received by the museum for posterity it seems. The museum went on that the worm was given a painless injection and this procedure was done as humanely as possible.
The worm is now amongst the other records of invertebrate creatures and will always be known as Dave the giant worm the museum went on.