Take one look of these Australian earthworms and you'll know exactly why our ancestors felt the need to invent fire. What are the longest worms in the world? That would be the giant Gippsland earthworm - a very thick worms and one of the largest worm species in the world. Even though they may look terrifying, they are perfectly harmless. You don't have to worry about running into them either, as they only live in one very specific location.
These extremely long worms are as curious as they are rare, but there are several factors threatening the long term survival of these massive, gross worms. It's good that the Internet has discovered them, because awareness and active conservation efforts are the only way that these creepy-crawlies will live to keep grossing us out in the future.
Their Pooping Habits Are Being Ferociously Studied
Worm poop is apparently fascinating, at least according to the researchers studying it. The little worm turds are professionally known as castings, and the castings seemingly make life for the worm a bit harder. The castings end up sealing tunnels that the worm creates, and scientists are puzzled as to why these worms would block up the tunnels that they spend so much time creating. Scientists have observed these worms return to the same spot to drop their castings, but in the words of a worm researcher, "clearly we do not have the full story on their toilet habitats."
They Make Disgusting 'Sucking' Noises That Can Be Heard Aboveground
You might think the grossest thing about these worms is the way they look, but pretty much everything about this guy is gross. They move around by creating underground tunnels with their mouths, and the process apparently produces a digusting, gurgling noise that can be heard form the surface. The sound has been likened to the noise a bathtub makes when it is draining water.
There Used To Be An Entire Museum Dedicated To These Monsters
For years, the Wildlife Wonderland Park was the place for curious minds to learn more about these amazing worms. The building itself was shaped like a worm, and some of the exhibits allowed you to crawl through human-sized earthworm burrows and even a giant replica of their digestive system. Unfortunately, the park was shuttered after an investigation revealed that they did not have the proper licenses to display wild animals and were in violation of the Australian Wildlife Act of 1975.
A Specialized Organ Helps Them Digest Dirt
It's true, worms do in fact eat dirt. They chew through the earth, ingesting nutritional bacteria, fungi, and algae as they chug along. While they don't have any teeth, they do have a way of chewing their food. Like many birds, worms have an organ known as a gizzard that helps with digestion. The gizzard is full of small rocks that have been swallowed, and those rocks help grind up the worm's food for easy digestion.