What do worms eat?

We usually call earthworms to various animals that do not really belong to this group of worms. The worms are part of the list of the best known crawling animals, they correspond to the Annelid phylum, specifically to the Oligochaetes subclass and the Lumbricidae family, within which there are several species. These defenseless animals have a fundamental role within the soils of ecosystems, since by feeding on decomposing organic matter, they enrich the substrate with the product of their digestion. On the other hand, when moving in deep areas of the soil, they ventilate and remove it, which undoubtedly favors their fertility with the constant movement of nutrients. Earthworms are so important that they were called by the famous philosopher Aristotle as the "intestines of the soil " and were also studied by the scientist Charles Darwin. Today, they are often called soil architects for their great contribution both in nature and in planting areas..

Despite the above, worms cannot consume anything, so we invite you to continue reading this AnimalWised article so that you know what do the worms eat.

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  1. Earthworm feeding
  2. How to feed worms?
  3. How much does a worm eat?
  4. Forbidden foods for worms

Earthworm feeding

As we have mentioned, worms are consumers of organic material, mostly decomposing. In this sense, they are very efficient to devour different types of food either in nature or in places equipped for them..

As a curious fact about the feeding of worms, we can say that these animals are capable of bury their food. For example, when worms eat plants or parts of them, such as leaves, they manage to hold them by the thinnest area and carry them with them to the internal galleries they have built underground. However, ¿what exactly do earthworms eat?

Here is a list of the foods that worms can eat:

  • Fruits (shells and pulp).
  • Vegetables (raw or cooked).
  • Cooked vegetables).
  • Coffee brush.
  • Used tea bags (no labels or synthetic materials, only the inside).
  • Crushed eggshells.
  • Food remains (may be in the process of decomposition, but you should check the foods that should not be consumed).
  • Plant leaves (not containing insecticides).
  • Pieces of paper, cardboard or corks (if necessary and that do not contain dyes or synthetic materials).
  • Ash and sawdust (not containing chemicals).

These foods can be consumed both in the wild and in captivity.

How to feed worms?

In the soils present in nature, worms consume a great variety of organic matter from these places, however, both the form of the food and the environmental conditions are important for them to develop properly and contribute efficiently to the natural fertilization of the same.

There is a great diversity of earthworms, two of the best known are Lumbricus terrestris (common earthworm) and Eisenia foetida (Californian red worm), which are usually had for the production of fertile compost. If you have decided to have worms at home in order to obtain useful organic matter for your plants, such as California worms, you may be wondering how to feed them. So, after knowing what California worms eat, and earthworms in general, here are some important aspects to take into account when feeding them:

  • Feed only the foods that are recommended for these animals.
  • Verify that the food is room temperature.
  • Cut into small pieces each of the foods, do not add large or whole servings of these.
  • Make sure the food is scattered all over space where are the worms.
  • Don't bury food do not remove them, the worms will do it.
  • Remember to always check the amount of food visible on the surface, so when they are about to run out, add more again..

How much does a worm eat?

We can say that, although worms take their time to consume the available food, they are voracious, since they can eat large amounts of matter. In this way, a worm is able to eat its own weight in 24 hours.

Estimates indicate that, in a field of about 4 thousand square meters, with the sufficient presence of earthworms, more than 10 tons of earth can pass through its digestive system in a year. Let us bear in mind that when consuming the food they also incorporate the earth that has been mixed with it.

A little more than 50% of the food that passes through the digestive system of worms will become compost, which will contain nitrogenous products of the metabolism of these animals, in addition, elements such as potassium and phosphorus will pass to the surface of the soil, contributing with the enriched material that is formed. For this reason, it is not surprising that people who have enough land, appreciate living with these animals and are interested in the feeding of worms to guarantee it and thus obtain natural fertilizer.

Forbidden foods for worms

Studies have revealed that not all foods can be given to worms, in fact, with some types of food reproduction and growth levels of these can be affected. In addition, certain foods alter the chemical composition of the soil, bringing harmful consequences for worms.

Although in nature they can consume remains of decomposing animals, in the spaces that are prepared for these animals it is better not to include this type of food, since its presence can attract other animals such as insects, which alter the conditions of the built environment. There are also other types of food that can negatively alter the space where worms develop.

Let's get to know the prohibited foods if you have worms:

  • Oils and fats.
  • Citrus fruits (orange, pineapple, tomato).
  • Onion.
  • Bones and thorns.
  • Pieces of wood.
  • Seeds
  • Plant remains with very tough leaves or bark.
  • Salty products.
  • Products with vinegar.
  • Synthetic materials (plastics).

The worms are totally harmless and calm animals, which, deposited in a space with the right conditions and the appropriate food, will only provide benefits. These animals respond to various stimuli, for example, they feel footsteps on the ground, which causes them to quickly bury themselves if they are close to the surface. At present they maintain certain characteristics of their predecessors of aquatic origin, so humidity is a fundamental aspect for them.

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