All About Animals: STORY 10, “Earthworms”, by Rob Bullock
Have you ever wondered about earthworms? They are really interesting animals that affect all our daily lives.
Earthworms are long, thin and tube-shaped, which is really useful if your main activity is sucking in soil and pooing it out the other side! And did you know that worms can have five pairs of hearts?
Worms don’t have a stomach like that of a human being. Instead, their food goes directly into their intestines. This way, they can extract the nutrients from the soil, or rather, the tiny bits and pieces of vegetable and animal matter. Worms condition and clean the soil that they live in. Without worm activity, the soil loses nutrients that fruits, vegetables and other crops need in order to grow. So without worms, our food wouldn’t grow – we’d all be hungry!
Worms don’t live with their families, but they do have children. Making worm babies is actually very complicated. Worms are hermaphrodites – they are both male and female in one body! But they’ve still got to find another worm in order to actually have babies. Baby worms develop in cocoons. They are babies for 60 to 90 days, and it takes them about a year to become a grown-up.
Animals like hedgehogs and badgers eat worms. And after a downpour, birds find lots of worms to eat. Do you know why worms come out of the ground when it rains? It’s so that they can breathe. If they stayed in the ground, they would drown.
We can all help worms. When you see worms flailing about on a sidewalk or on the street, carefully pick them up and put them in the dirt. Be careful, because worms are very delicate! After you move them, they can burrow down to a safe place and start helping the soil again!
For more information about Rob Bullock and his stories, please visit www.ninnylizard.com.