There are more than 7,000 species of earthworms found across the globe. Depending on the species, they can grow to just an inch or reach two yards in length. They occur at different soil depths in temperate and tropical climates.
Earthworms are one of nature’s most essential recyclers, obtaining nourishment from decomposing organic matter and dead animals in the soil. As these simple creatures burrow through the ground and swallow mineral particles and matter, they excrete soil and mucus into ‘castings’ that resemble a batch of grapes or miniature castles. They can eat up to a third in their body weight per day, and in ten to twenty years, earthworms can till the top six inches of soil.
Because earthworms positively affect plant growth, soil nutrients and water-holding capacity, their presence is usually a good indicator of a healthy system. Earthworms are also a good food source for many animals, such as rodents and birds.
On a recent ecotour tracking wild animals through Sepilok Forest in Sabah, Malaysia, we encountered many worm castles. Check out this footage below to see them in the wild for yourself:
Learn more about earthworms