“What is this?” is all this reader asks in his submission to us. He asks about a long, red worm-like organism that looks like it was found in a toilet.
Although no more context is provided, we can tell from the photograph alone that this is an earthworm. Its length, coloration and shape point to this identification, as well as the clearly visible clitellum. The clitellum is the thick band of skin that usually encircles an earthworm’s body around its midpoint. The purpose of this body part is to store the eggs of the earthworm before it is time to lay them. Only certain annelids (a family of segmented worms to which the earthworm belongs) possess them, including leeches.
Earthworms are harmless, benefactors of the environment and should be protected at all costs. This is because they eat decomposing organic materials in nature (such as leaf litter and discarded fruit peels) and, via consumption and digestion, turn those organic materials into nutrient-rich faeces, which acts as a fertilizer. We recommend that our reader simply move the worm outside, as it does not pose any threat to his health or home.
Now, it is not all that strange that our reader found an earthworm in his toilet, as this is not the most uncommon of occurrences. Often, if there is a leak in a sewage pipe somewhere underground, earthworms can find their way into the pipe system through this leak, squirming their way through a crack. For this reason, it might be worth investigating if our reader is experiencing a leak.
To find out for sure, hiring a professional is his best bet. But there are also signs he can look out for himself to check if he might be experiencing a leak, such as foul-smelling water, changes in water pressure, and discolored water. Likewise, the earthworms might have been attracted to this particular toilet and drain because of a build-up of decomposing organic matter (their preferred diet), which may indicate that our reader’s drains are in need of a proper clean.
In order to effectively clean his drains, our reader should pour boiling water down his drains, followed by bleach, followed by boiling water again, with ten minutes waiting time between each step. This will help prevent various organisms that like organic matter from showing up in his toilet.
In conclusion, the long, red worm our reader found in his toilet is an earthworm. We hope this article answers his question to a satisfactory degree and we wish him the very best!