We just got a message from a reader regarding a worm she found in her toilet bowl. She sent us a photo and described the creature as “very much alive”. We only needed to glance at the photo to identify this specimen as an earthworm! Although it is never comforting to unexpectedly discover a living, moving creature in your home (and especially in your toilet), our reader doesn’t need to worry because earthworms are not harmful to humans.
We determined the creature to be an earthworm based on its purple-brownish coloring, clear segmentation, and swollen segment near its middle, which is known as the clitellum. The clitellum secretes mucus to form a cocoon that will later hold worm embryos. This is not the first (or last) time that a reader will discover an earthworm, or several, in their toilet. Sometimes earthworms get dragged into a house by accident, perhaps on a pet or piece of clothing, and then seek out the bathroom to locate water. Other times, earthworms end up inside a toilet by entering through the plumbing system. Earthworms live underground in moist soil. Occasionally after heavy rain they are pushed through a crack in a pipe and end up in the toilet bowl. Before our reader worries about her pipes and calls a plumber, we encourage her to wait it out. In the meantime, she can remove the worm from her toilet bowl and place it outside. If earthworms continue to show up in her toilet, then she might consider calling a plumber. However, the worm might have arrived accidentally and it might be a one time occurrence, which is why she should wait before consulting a plumbing technician.
To end, a reader sent us a photo of a worm laying next to a coin, which she originally found in her toilet bowl. We are confident that she has found an earthworm. This happens more often than one might think, and our reader shouldn’t stress too much over the situation.
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