Today, we are going to address concern from a woman who found this creature in her toilet:
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She was kind enough to send a video. For obvious reasons, she was quite creeped out. Her main concern is that it may have come from one of her kids.
Though we are not doctors, and cannot be absolutely certain that this did not come from one of her children, we’re pretty sure it didn’t. As always, if she is at all concerned that she or one of her children may be ill, we urge her to consult a doctor. But, to us, this looks like a typical, run-of-the-mill earthworm. It is not harmful to her, her children, her pets, or her plumbing.
How would such a worm end up in a toilet, one may ask? Well, we can think of several ways. The most likely is that the poor little fellow got tracked in somehow, perhaps on a toy coming in from outside, on a piece of clothing, or on a shoe. It is even possible that it was brought in on purpose by a mischievous child. Or adult (mischief is common in all ages). It is not uncommon to hear of a child choosing to bring an earthworm into the house to keep as a pet, only to have it wander off.
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Once inside, any earthworm is going to seek out water. Earthworms need to keep their skin moist because they obtain their oxygen via diffusion. The only way an earthworm would be unable to “breath” underwater would be if the water had a lower oxygen concentration than that of their blood. If an earthworm ends up in a situation where it cannot find water, it may dry out and die like the poor little fellows in this article.
Because they get their oxygen via diffusion, earthworms cannot drown. This is a handy trait to have when living underground where floods are likely to occur anytime it rains. That is why it is common to see earthworms above ground after rain. They come to the surface because it is easier to move on top of the wet soil than it is to move through it.
We imagine that the reader has already removed the worm from her toilet, probably by flushing it. The worm was probably fine after that. Although it may find itself far from home and have a family that misses it.