Giant Earthworms The Size Of Snakes Discovered By Scientists In UK
Among the creepiest nightmares is seeing a small animal turn into a giant. While the idea may appear like a part of a bad dream only, scientists were able to actually witness such.
Scientists from the University of Central Lancashire found giant earthworms the size of small snakes in a remote island in Scotland. The specimen's measurements were said to be three to four times larger than typical worms.
The average weight of earthworms are between four to five grams. The animals recently discovered, however, weighed about 12.5 grams. For comparison, the largest specimen discovered in the past was only eight grams. As for the length, the researchers were able to discover worms that measure up to 16 inches long.
The worms were discovered in Papadil on the Isle of Rum, which is a remote settlement for about 30 people only.
The reason behind the worms' grand size is its secluded habitat, which frees the worms from various forms of disturbances. Aside from that, there is a significant lack of predators such as hedgehogs, foxes, badgers and moles, in the area.
The scientists said earthworms are unique from other animals such that it do stop growing once it become an adult. Earthworms continue to grow and grow, even if left alone.
Despite the creepy news, people should not be all too worried. Project leader Dr. Kevin Butt said the discovery is good news for the environment as earthworms are vital to the ecosystem.
Butt said earthworms reduce the risk of flooding as it aerate the soil and drain water, halting surface erosion. Without the activities of the earthworms, the situation could have been worse, he said.
The discovery may also pave the way for further understanding of the worms' natural conditions.
"Overall, this fertile area, on a barren island in the Inner Hebrides has provided a platform for further research into dew worm ecology," the authors wrote.
Butt also said that there is no need to fear the giant creatures as they actually tend to avoid people. Once the specimens hear footsteps, they dive deep into the earth and burrow themselves more.
The research paper detailing the results of the investigation was published in The Glasgow Naturalist.
Photo: Kurt Bauschardt | Flickr