Why Do Earthworms Come Out In the Rain?

July 20, 2011

Question: Why do earthworms, on a rainy day, suddenly pop up all over my lawn, in my garden…everywhere?!

The answer is simple: so they won’t drown! Worms spend all of their time burrowing and eating dirt, therefore creating minute tunnels underground. A rainstorm of any size could flood a worm’s home and drown it, so they come above ground. Unfortunately, they don’t fare any better outside their tunnels. A variety of predators are just waiting to pick off worms above ground, especially birds, and they run the risk of getting stomped on by us! 


Did You Know…?

  • There are approximately 2,700 different kinds of earthworms. 
  • In one acre of land, there can be over a million earthworms.
  • The largest earthworm ever found was in South Africa. It was 22 feet long from head to tail!
  • Charles Darwin studied earthworms for 39 years of his distinguished career.
  • Earthworms become paralyzed if they stay out in the sun for too long, which is about an hour. 
  • Worms can eat their weight every day. 

Facts found on the University of Illinois cooperative extension site.

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I have always been fascinated with earthworms, since I was a child. I did not have a garden until I was in my 30's, and we composted all of our vegetable matter. The soil was always filled with these wonderful "little tillers." After heavy rains we would find them on our driveway and I always picked them up (still do in my 70's) and place them back in the garden, on areas with perennial beds, or on the grass. I feel I am doing my part for nature and allowing these fabulous annelids to work another day.

Interesting! I hope that

Interesting! I hope that everyone has a great and safe weekend!