Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Humongous Earthworms


Is this real? If you have the stomach, click on the image to head to an image gallery and our very ordinary investigation.

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So, are these photos real? And the answer, amazingly is… probably yes.

Here in Brazil we have our very own Minhocuçu (Rhinodrilus e Glossoscolex spp) which can easily grow beyond half a meter in length an almost an inch in diameter.

And it’s not by far the longest earthworm recorded.

The Microchaetidae family in South Africa is a group where all species can reach over a meter in length. This is no folk tale or cryptozoological rumor: specimens of this size have been duly recorded for over a century already.

And even those are not the champions. The title goes to the Megascolecidae family from Australia. The record: 2,1 meters by 24 millimeters thick.

The worms in the images all look they are up to a meter in length, compatible with the recorded dimensions for the many species of the families we discussed. They are probably real, though exactly from where and what species my ordinary investigation didn’t come up with. Specialists, do enlighten us with further confirmation and identification! The first image of a girl holding up one, for instance, may not be of an earthworm but of is a caecilian.

Giant earthworms are harmless, but perhaps because of their plain appearance and our instinctive disgust of them all kinds of legends are associated with them, even in places where we can’t find those “little” couple-meter-earthworms.

The most curious legend is not exactly about an earthworm, but of a worm. A death worm. The Mongolian Death Worm. It can allegedly kill its victims by either spraying a lethal and blinding venom, or sending electrical discharges.


In Brazil, where we do have our Minhocuçus, there’s also the legend of Minhocão, 25 meters in size. Like the Mongolian Death Worm, its not very plausible such a creature exists.

Earthworms over a couple of meters in length are real and they can more than make up for a mix of disgust and fascination. Not only they can harm nobody and are actually important part of the ecosystem, in Brazil they are in danger as they make really excellent fishing bait. This is no joke (link in Portuguese).

UPDATE: Identified! Well, at least the where and who for the second photo. It’s from Lisa B, available on her flickr account. As Lisa wrote in the comments below, “that image was taken in the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecuador, and it is indeed a real worm.” Thank you! Apologies for not including credit beforehand, I reproduced the original gallery from erueru, linked below, and I’m happy to include the sources.

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Body size range

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Posted in Criptozoology,Fortean | 39 comments

39 Comments so far

  1. Craig York May 15th, 2009 12:21 pm

    ? Of course they’re real. National Geographic was showing
    photos of a giant Australian species back in the 1960’s.
    In this internet age, though, that probably won’t prevent
    someone from posting the pics as some bizarre ( and dangerous
    -sigh) new creature “COMPLETELY UNKNOWN TO SCIENCE”.
    Great images, Mori, thanks.

  2. Mori May 15th, 2009 1:19 pm

    Thank _you_ for your always good comments, Craig! :-)

  3. […] Humongous Earthworms […]

  4. DrJon May 20th, 2009 10:37 pm

    They look like specimens of the Giant Gippsland earthworm to me.

    Unusually for an Australian creature, they are not deadly.

  5. Boing Boing May 27th, 2009 5:08 pm

    Giant earthworms…

    Forgetomori has a nice photo gallery of giant earthworms. I’m not sure if they are real or not. The worms in the images all look they are up to a meter in length, compatible with the recorded dimensions for the many species of the families we discuss…

  6. myReport » Giant earthworms May 27th, 2009 5:17 pm

    […] has a nice photo gallery of giant earthworms. I’m not sure if they are real or not. The worms in the images all look they are up to a […]

  7. Luis Brudna May 27th, 2009 7:49 pm
  8. Toby May 27th, 2009 8:22 pm

    I think the photos are all real, but several of them are not shots of giant earthworms, but of caecilians instead (off the top of my head, I’d say #1, #9, #10, #11, #13). They’re pretty amazing in their own right (hard to beat a mother that feeds her young with her own skin).

  9. gordbird (Gordon Bird) May 27th, 2009 9:01 pm
  10. anon May 27th, 2009 9:48 pm

    Rule 34. Now!

  11. strieudal (Sam Trieu) May 27th, 2009 10:20 pm

    RT @boingboing: AHH GIANT EARTHWORMS. Something to make a rainy Wednesday in Waterloo even better: http://tinyurl.com/qnwufz

  12. Giant earthworms | ADBDAT May 28th, 2009 12:15 am

    […] has a nice photo gallery of giant earthworms. I’m not sure if they are real or not. The worms in the images all look they are up to a […]

  13. Singe May 28th, 2009 12:26 am

    Wait let me get this straight… you made a giant earthworm gallery and you totally forgot the giant blue earthworm? For shame.

  14. Humongous Earthworms | JoelsBlog.net May 28th, 2009 1:19 am

    […] Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 | JFI1, Science Science This is no folk tale or cryptozoological rumor: specimens of this size have been duly recorded for over a century […]

  15. ckoerner (ckoerner) May 28th, 2009 1:47 am
  16. jdkc4d (Josh) May 28th, 2009 1:48 am

    Holy Shit!! RT @ckoerner: Worms. http://tinyurl.com/qnwufz

  17. Gigantic Earthworms | DK Port May 28th, 2009 2:28 am

    […] Big Worms for Big Fish! LOL! Got this from Forgetomori. […]

  18. akitchen (Amy Kitchen) May 28th, 2009 4:33 am

    OK, I’m gonna have nightmares tonight… this is like a scene out of the original Willie Wonka movie http://tinyurl.com/qnwufz

  19. Yeni Setiawan May 28th, 2009 5:54 am

    I think I’ve seen those sized earth worm.
    I was in a jungle and digging a hole then I saw something big beneath the soil.

    I thought it was snake so I ran away.

  20. LambdaCalculus379 May 28th, 2009 9:52 am

    Well, I guess the only thing I have to say is this… *ahem*

    EARTHWORM JIM, Through soil he did crawl!
    EARTHWORM JIM, A Super Suit Did Fall!
    Jim was just a dirt-eating, chewy link of worm flash,
    but all that came to a crashing end HAHAHA!

    *ducks behind the sofa*

  21. Lisa B May 28th, 2009 11:05 am

    Hello, you’re using my image (second from top) in violation of both the CC license and the Flickr terms of service. The CC license stipulates that you must include attribution, which you do not. The image was lifted from my Flickr photostream (see original here) and according to the Flickr terms of service, you use must include a link back to my Flickr photostream, which you do not. Please correct this and I won’t bother you further. Thanks!

    Also, BTW, that image was taken in the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecador, and it is indeed a real worm.

  22. pavig (pavig lok) May 28th, 2009 1:04 pm

    I have seen a giant earthworm. They are real. http://tinyurl.com/qnwufz They are also somehow inexplicably cute. I’m not sure why.

  23. gogomonster May 28th, 2009 1:45 pm

    It’s real.

    I had seen one myself on a mountain top in Taiwan.
    That one was as big and long as a normal snake. I thought it was a mutated earthworm or something…

  24. […] […]

  25. mofembot May 28th, 2009 2:47 pm

    One morning after an overnight rainstorm in the Pittsburgh area, I went out in my backyard and came across an earthworm (nightcrawler?) that was at least 18 inches (about half a meter) in length and about 3/4 – 7/8 inch (3 cm?) in diameter. I tried to grab it, but it went right back down into the earth. I was astonished.

  26. Avi May 28th, 2009 2:57 pm

    The Spice must flow!

  27. roygibiv (Paul Lamb) May 28th, 2009 6:08 pm

    this stuff is TOTALLY APPROVED!!! just wait until you see them in real life!http://tinyurl.com/qnwufz

  28. 1obster (Benjy Coutts) May 28th, 2009 8:34 pm

    Oh dears – Humongous Earthworms http://tinyurl.com/qnwufz

  29. HUmongous Earthworms « jonesthought May 28th, 2009 9:49 pm

    […] May 28, 2009 in awareness, evolution, gardening, nature, photography, psychedelic, science http://forgetomori.com/2009/criptozoology/minhocuu-e-outras-minhocas-titnicas […]

  30. Groggy Mat May 28th, 2009 11:46 pm


    Toronto, Ontario in Canada has a lot of these things. I seen one crossing the street in broad daylight last week early in the morning.

    Dig deep anywhere in Etobicoke, and ye shall find ….usually!

    We got termites too!

  31. No No No No No « Raxdakkar May 29th, 2009 12:31 pm

    […] is nothing I can do: giant fucking earthworms are real and as disgusting as you probably imagine them to be.  Native to at least South Africa and […]

  32. […] Humongous Earthworms | forgetomori HUGE earthworms. oh yes. (tags: science worms) […]

  33. […] To (Wired) – Candyfab 6000: latest rev of 3D sugar-printer (BoingBoing) – Humongous Earthworms (forgetomori) – Crime and politics in Guatemala: An indictment from the grave (The Economist) – The […]

  34. […] Nightcrawler look like a parasitic pinworm. I believe these in the link below are from Equador. Humongous Earthworms | forgetomori Japan also has a giant earthworm. Here's a giant leech eating or sucking the blood of a giant […]

  35. […] suite… Après ça, vous n’allez plus aimer les Lombrics… (Via Forgetomori) var addthis_pub="flepi"; var addthis_options = 'email, print, twitter, facebook, delicious, […]

  36. Tyler August 25th, 2009 9:17 pm

    Those things are freaking HUGE!!! What the crap! We are studying earthworms in my science class this week and soon we will be disecting them but today we just put them on a tray and observed them. I thought the ones we were handling were huge but these things are monsters man! I mean DANG! Where do people find stuff like this? I never want to touch or see another earthworm again.

  37. Csaba Csuzdi December 23rd, 2009 5:42 pm

    Dear All,

    On the second photo (by Lisa B., Bellavista Ecuador) there is a nice worm called Martiodrilus ischuros (ischuros means very large). Its type locality (where it was described from) Santa Rosa, Ecuador very close to the Bellavista reserve.

  38. CHERYL May 3rd, 2010 1:54 am

    found an earth worm in my yard. it is huge. was wondering how common lage worms are. i do have pics if ud like to see them.

  39. […] all but this one clinches the bronce this year. The book is hilarious while showing you Australia. Like did you know that Australia has 12 foot long earth worms? Probably not, Bill Bryson fixes that lack of knowledge. Also check out A Short History Of Nearly […]

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