Why do earthworms come up out of the ground when it rains?

Simple, really, say some researchers. Earthworms breathe air, just like we do. They CAN breathe water (they breathe through their skin), but not for long periods of time. When it rains and the ground fills with water, they have to come out or they'd drown. Of course, they have to get back underground before too long, or the hot sun could dry them out, causing them to suffocate. Other scientists, however, say the worm-drowning theory is bunk. They say worms can live underground in water for weeks and speculate that the reason that worms come out after it rains is to mate or to look for different kinds of food. Since the rain has made the surface moist and humid, they can move around freely without fear of dehydrating. If you cut an earthworm in half, will it grow into two new worms?

This is largely a myth. It's true that earthworms can regenerate, but when you cut one in half, BOTH parts don't regenerate into fully developed worms. Only the front end of the worm, containing the "brain" (cerebral ganglion) has a chance of growing new segments. How big can earthworms get?

If earthworms make you squeamish, you might want to avoid South America, Africa, and Australia. Worms in those places can grow over a dozen feet long! The biggest one on record was 22 feet, found in South Africa. M Y S T E R Y F A C T TODAY'S TRIVIA QUESTION

How many hearts does an earthworm have?

-- Answer here next issue --


What Greek playwright is said to have died from a skull fracture when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his bald head?

Aeschylus. Legend says that the ancient Greek playwright's bald head was mistaken for a rock by an eagle flying overhead. The eagle dropped the tortoise onto his head in an attempt to smash open the shell.