How long do Earthworms live? What’s their natural life span?
There are about more than 6,000 species of earthworms worldwide that are known so far. Most of the garden varieties live only for 1 to 2 years.
While a lot of commonly seen species of Earthworms that you’ll find in your yard and farmlands naturally have a lifespan between 2 to 10 years for sure.
Some species of Earthworm like those of the night crawlers have been reported to live something for about 20 years of age. They have an average life span between 5 to 10 years.
Night crawlers are large earthworms found on the soil surface at night and used as fish bait. These are expected to have the highest life span in earthworms.
Red worms typically have a life span between 2 to 5 years. They are also known by various names like brandling worm, panfish worm, trout worm, tiger worm, red wiggler worm, etc.
Read worms loves to thrive in rotting vegetation, compost, and manure. They are epigean, rarely found in soil, but above the soil surface i.e. in the rotting matters.
Other species like the Gray worms, are known to have a life span between 1 to 3 years on an average. They spend their entire life beneath the soil surface.
How long can Earthworms live in the fridge?
Earthworms can live in a frize for as long as 1 month if all the other conditions they do require are fulfilled.
The only exception is that you don’t put them inside the deep freezer but you can keep them inside the side rack or in the below shelf container of your freezer.
Also do make sure that you keep the freezer at a lower freezing rate by keeping the coldness at a low rate of somewhat 4.
Put them inside a 7″ x 7″ plastic container, with soil and put pieces of vegetables scraps above it and close the lid of the container.
You can also use tea or coffee grounds. Sprinkle two to three tablespoons of used, damp coffee grounds into their container. These kitchen scraps also work best as their food source.
Also, do make sure that the plastic lid of the container has small air holes for the air to get in and out easily.
Also do make sure that you spray water thrice a week on the soil there in the container by opening the lid of the container. This will retain the moisture.
Check on your stored worms every few days to make sure they’re well-fed and the bedding is moist. If needed, sprinkle a few drops of water into the container to hydrate the worm bedding.
Keeping earthworms in the refrigerators, only works best for small amount of worms. If there are a lot of them (more than 50) in a single container then a majority of them will die.
How long can Earthworms live in a container?
If all the conditions that they do need are fulfilled then, they can easily live 2 to 3 months inside a container, only if the container is kept at room temperature or in the open air.
If you keep that container in the freezer, then can’t survive more than a month.
All you need to do is make sure to add organic compost every week which is their food source in the container filled up with soil and only about 1 to 2 dozens of earthworms.
Avoid soils too high in sand content, and with pH below 5 (best is 6 to 8 for most species).
You can also prepare a 1:3 ratio soil and cow-dung mixture and place it in a plastic container of suitable size (best is 7” x 7” container) and add your earthworms there. They will multiply and grow in about 20 to 30 days.
You can add tea or coffee grounds to it. These are very nutritious to them and will help them grow faster and better.
Keep the container out of direct sunlight and prevent it from getting wet in rainwater. Best to keep them under 20°C to 30°C room temperature.
Also, keep the lid of the container closed with small holes in it for the worms to breathe easily and release out the extra gases.
Also, make sure that you keep on spraying water twice a day to keep the soil and the compost moist. This will retain the moisture inside the container.
Make sure the moisture is not too low and not too high either. Or else, this will reduce reproduction speed.
How long do Earthworms live underwater?
Earthworms need oxygen gas just like humans do, so they are happy to stay in moist regions where they can get much oxygen gas easily.
So, drowning might not be a big concern for earthworms, but breathing actually is, as underwater there’s only dissolved oxygen, not much gaseous oxygen.
So, they can’t stay or breathe underwater for a long time or they will die due to suffocation.
So, earthworms can live underwater for approximately two weeks only and not more than that.
But in some cases, it has been seen that they can stay perfectly inside the deep soil at the bottom of the ponds or stagnant water bodies where there are only regions of moisture and not excess water.
It’s because as they go very deep inside the soil, they are soon able to stay for months with a sufficient amount of oxygen gas availability.
But, if you try to keep them locked in a water bottle with its cap open then you will find that the earthworm will come up in the water surface for a while to take the oxygen from the free air.
Or, inside the bottle, you will find that the half part of the earthworm’s body is inside the water and the other half outside water. The earthworm breathes in the open air by keeping half of its body out of the water.
But, if you create a condition where you keep the earthworm inside the water bottle and close its cap tightly then, you’ll surely find that it will die due to suffocation within a day or two or so.
Do earthworms survive after being cut in half?
Yes earthworms can survive after being cut in half, but there are some exceptions to its survival.
If you cut the earthworm behind the clitellum than only it can survive or else if you cut above the clitellum than the chances are very very high that it will die.
Now there are two scenerios that can happen if you cut the earthworm at any of its segment behind the clitellum.
In the first scenario, the cut head part of the earthworm that has the clitellum will survive as the earthworm can regenerate the rest of the part of the tail and mid-body, although the regenerated part can often grow as a stunted one.
At the second scenario, the cut part of the tail that is without the clitellum will not survive as the earthworm can’t regenerate the rest of the head and clitellum.
Different species of earthworm are better at regenerating their tails than others but all can regrow to some extent.
Some earthworms may deliberately amputate (cut-off) their tail when grasped by a predator and escape while the end still moves and distracts their attacker and soon dies.
Just, for example, the compost worm Eisenia fetida accumulates waste in its tail which gives it a blurry yellow colour. When they cannot store any more waste they amputate the tail which removes the waste.
How long can earthworms get during their life span?
Basically, night crawler earthworms range within a length of 4 to 5 inches on average. However, some species can gain a length of around 35 cm.
Other species like the Kinabalu giant earthworm, Pheretima darnleiensis, is a grey-blue coloured earthworm that can grow to a length of approximately 70 cm in the soft and thick soil at an altitude of 3,000 m above sea level.
Other, earthworms like the Pheretima praepinguis is a huge earthworm that is about half a meter long. It can be seen in the Emei Mountain of Sichuan Province, China.
Other earthworms like the giant earthworm called Dave is 15.75 inches (about 40 cm) long and weighs as much as a small chocolate bar (15 to 26 gm) and is only found in the UK.
The longest earthworm is the Microchaetus rappi of South Africa. It can extend 6.7 m (21 ft) in length and 20 mm (0.8 in) in diameter when naturally extended.
Now, depending on the species, an adult earthworm can be from 10 mm (0.39 in) long and 1 mm (0.039 in) wide to 3 m (9.8 ft) long and over 25 mm (0.98 in) wide on average.