A giant earthworm found in a province in southwest China has biologists baffled as to how a common backyard worm could grow so unusually large.
The earthworm was found in the gutter of a residential home Thursday in Binchuan County of China’s Yunnan Province, CNN reported. Resident Li Zhiwei was putting out some Chinese dates in his backyard to dry when he noticed the giant earthworm slinking along in the gutter. A worker in the Forestry Bureau of Binchuan Count, Zhiwei knew immediately that there was something unusual about the worm.
“It looked like a snake, I looked carefully and found it was actually a huge earthworm,” Li said.
Earthworms can grow to different lengths depending on the species but normally range from between about a half inch to a little over an inch wide. There is a variety of earthworm in South Africa that can grow to several feet, though the common backyard earthworm is usually just a few inches long.
Li’s neighbors, who came to see his unusual find, said they had never seen an earthworm that long in their area before.
Biologists said they plan to study the giant earthworm found in Li’s backyard to find out why it was able to grow to such an enormous length, Yahoo! News reported. An earthworm’s body size can be influenced by a number of environmental factors, and, during humid seasons, they can grow larger if there is an abundant food supply and no natural predators.
The discovery is especially cool for Li. He said he plans to keep the giant earthworm in his backyard and raise it as a pet.