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Earthworms are invertebrate annelids. The ones we see in London tend to be the common earthworm, which is from the semi-aquatic earthworm family. They are nocturnal, which means they mostly come out at night.

Earthworms are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. A baby earthworm is called a wisp or wormlet. A group of earthworms is called a clew.


The common earthworm sleeps in deep vertical burrows, although other species sleep in horizontal burrows, whilst others don't burrow at all. They live anywhere that has moist soil, so they particularly like forests and land close to freshwater. The ones we see in London tend to be the common earthworm.

What does it need?

Earthworms eat organic material in soil and decaying plant matter. They breathe through their skin, but air dissolves on the mucus of their skin so they must stay moist to breathe.

What needs it?

Lots of animals eat worms: birds, rodents, moles, badgers, hedgehogs, foxes, and even other insects.

As they feed, earthworms create a microbe-rich soil and leave behind castings that are a great fertilizer. Their tunnels bring in oxygen, drain water, and create space for plant roots, and their movement creates a more stable soil structure. They break down organic matter like leaves into things that other plants can use, though too many worms could gobble it all leaving not enough for other plants.

Fun fact!

A worm can eat its own weight in soil in one day.

See a video here, and learn more here!

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