Earthworms are fantastic creatures. Even better when they are giant. So of course I love giant earthworms. Who wouldn't?
Giant earthworm species are found in the Australia, Asia, South Africa and America. However they are so few in numbers that some species are close to extinction and they are now protected species.
Like smaller earthworms these giants live in burrows under the ground. Their tunnels are 2-3 cm wide and can reach a depth of 5 meters. They will burrow deeply to avoid summer droughts.
Giant earthworms do not come up to the surface but instead slide along their moist burrows under the ground. In fact these worms are so large that they can be heard squelching along their tunnels from the surface.
It is difficult to measure the length of a giant earthworm as they are delicate and can snap if they are stretched too much.
The Giant Paulouse Earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) is an albino form which found in the Palouse region of Washington and in Idaho, USA. They live in the volcanic soil of the grass prairies and can reach up to 1 metre in length. It was thought to be extinct but specimens of this giant worm were found in 2010.
The Glossoscolecidae species live in forests in south and central in America. They can reach up to 2 meters long.
In Australia the native giant Gippsland Earthworm (Megascolides australis) can reach up to 3 metres in length. They live in the subsoil along banks and hills of Gippsland, Victoria, although they are now threatened with extinction.
It has been reported that the largest giant earthworm found is the African giant earthworm, Microchaetus rappi, that reached an apparent length of over 6 meters. I don't believe that one though.
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World largest insect