Worms are fascinating! With so little in the way of features to see with the naked eye, it can be easy to get very curious about the average worm. Let’s answer the question “How long does a worm live?”
A worm can live for up to 8 years in prime conditions, but the average lifespan of a worm is only 1 year.
In this article, we will answer the question “how long do earthworms live for?” as well as a few other interesting questions, such as how long do worms last in a plant?. Let’s get started!
How Long Do Earthworms Live For?
Whether you’re creeped out by them or fascinated, everyone who’s noticed worms on the sidewalk after rain or in the garden has probably wondered: “How long do earthworms live for?” It’s a fair question, since worms seem to appear out of nowhere and have no discernable age traits to the human eye.
After all, even a tree can be cut into and you can count the rings to see how long it lives. But how do we know how long a worm lives?
Truthfully, how long a worm lives depends on it’s lifestyle—surprisingly just like human beings! An earthworm can live for up to 4 years if it is not eaten or in a disadvantageous place.
Some worms that can stay safe, in rich soil with plenty to eat, can live for as long as eight years.
With all of that said, according to ABC education, the average lifespan of an earthworm is only about a year.
This is due to many factors; sometimes natural predators are simply very plentiful nearby, and sometimes the environment becomes uninhabitable. Additionally, rain can pose a great threat to earthworms that are washed into the sun and unable to return underground.
Therefore, the answer to the question: “How long do earthworms live for?” is: about 1 to 8 years. If you’re wondering “How long do worms last in a plant?” the answer is, as long as the soil is healthy with no chemical contaminants, a worm can last for up to 6 years in a plant.
Can You Keep Worms As a Pet?
Maybe you find worms particularly cute or in need of protection. Perhaps you’re looking for a low-maintenance pet, or one that you can easily find for a child’s first pet experience.
Regardless of your reasoning, you should know that worms can absolutely be kept as pets; and good ones, for that matter!
A worm can not only live for several years, providing enjoyment and little hassle during that time, but it is a fascinating creature to watch.
Worms should live in a window box, a worm box (Which usually has clear plastic sides so you can enjoy watching the worm live it’s life) or simply a potted plant.
If you do plan on keeping a worm as a pet, there are certainly some information you’ll need, and some answers to common questions. For example:
Food – Many believe that worms only eat dirt; after all, you can’t exactly watch them chew and swallow their food. However, it is important to realize that worms do need food to live.
Worms will eat kitchen scraps and compost and poop out dirt-like fertilizer, which is another great reason to leave them in a potted plant.
Handling – It is best not to touch or try and play with a worm.
They cannot bite or injure you, but you can certainly injure them. Worms were made to enjoy time in the soil, touching very little except dirt and the moisture they need to survive.
If you have to touch your worm, coat your hands in soil, first.
Light Water – You can drown a worm or flood it out of it’s space by pouring too much water into it’s habitat. Focus on keeping soil damp, not soaked or flooded.
Out of the Sun – Worms can die very easily thanks to the sun. They are meant to live underground, away from harsh sunlight.
If they are exposed to the sun for any length of time, they can not only get a nasty sunburn, but they can easily dry out and die.
Keep them covered in dirt as gently as possible for the safest results.
To sum it all up, the answer to the question “how long does a worm live?” is typically 1 to 8 years.
If a worm is not burnt by the sun, drowned in water, or eaten by predators, it can survive longer than the average worm.
Worms make great pets, and they can even fertilize plants when left to their own devices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve covered the main questions of how long worms can live and whether or not they can be kept as pets, let’s go over a few more interesting answers to questions on the topic below!
As previously mentioned, a worm can usually live for up to 8 years, at the longest, if it is in good condition. If you’re wondering “how long does it take for worms to grow in soil?” you should know they are hatched from eggs and then spend up to 90 days maturing.
As they are growing up, a worm can change from one single segment to having several segments, and they also darken in color.
The most common cause of death for worms is not birds, although these are their natural predators. Actually, the most common cause of death for worms is either suffocation or dehydration.
You see, worms are actually pretty hardy creatures. Their tails can grow entirely new heads if they are cut in half, and they can last by eating very little and generating great fertilizer. However, worms breathe through their skin. This means that if they spend time in water or even around any toxic air or moisture, they are in great danger.
This is why you’ll usually see earthworms stranded on the sidewalk; they purposefully go there to escape rain, but often cannot find their way back to safety in the soil before the sun comes out and dries them up.
It’s easy to look at a worm and assume it does not have complex enough nerves to feel pain. However, the truth is that worm pain is a bit more complex than pain as we know it.
Worms definitely feel that something is happening when they are cut in half or burned; their nervous systems do communicate something throughout their bodies that releases a chemical similar to what our own brains do when we’re in pain. However, worms don’t have the same connections in their bodies to feel emotional distress or emotional pain.
The longest living worm is actually not an earthworm, but a type of aquatic worm called the deep sea tube worm. It can live for more than 1000 years!
Worms that live longer than the average worm but not so long as the luckiest worms generally only live for 6 years. During that g year time period, when a worm can move roughly one and a half centimeter each second, it is assumed that worms can travel a bit over 1000 in their lifetime.
The daily life of a worm is usually living in their burrows in soft soil, where oxygen is still accessible. After the sun goes down, an earthworm will dig up to the surface and find compost or decomposing plant and animal matter to feed on. They use their skin to sense whether or not the air is the right temperature and moisture level to emerge.
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Nadine is a passionate gardening writer sharing practical tips, innovative ideas, and valuable insights on plant and soil care, In her spare time, she tries to convince her plants to grow by singing them catchy tunes.