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Friday, October 5, 2018

How Fast Can A Nightcrawler Crawl?

     Bonus Fact: What kinds of shots would you have to take if a monkey bit you? A monkey bite is the second most common animal bite after dogs in India and are a real risk for travelers. 
     A monkey bite, no matter how trivial, can turn dangerous. Although it's unlikely that a human will get rabies, monkeys do carry the disease. Even a monkey that is not rabid can create dangerous infections and fevers thanks to the high level of bacteria in their mouths. 
     Infectious disease experts say monkeys can carry the Herpes B virus, which can be transmitted through saliva and can be potentially deadly. "Herpes B can lead to encephalitis, a swelling of the brain. 
     First, a specimen for testing should not be obtained from the wound area prior to washing the site because it could force virus more deeply into the wound, reducing the effectiveness of the cleansing protocol. Wash the wound with povidone iodine or chlorhexidine followed by irrigation with sterile saline or bottled drinking water if sterile saline is unavailable as soon as possible. Then most likely rabies immunoglobulin will be injected around the wound and a post-exposure course of four rabies vaccine injections to prevent infection will be given. Tetanus shots should also be up to date. 

Now on to nightcrawlers. 
     Though nightcrawler worms can burrow down to a depth of 6.5 feet, they generally stay close to the surface. This increases the chance of running across one when gardening, playing in the dirt or landscaping. These worms receive their name because you can usually find them feeding above ground at night, but they’re really just your common earthworm. 
     It may take the tiny worms up to a year to reach full size and sexual maturity. How long they live after this in the wild isn't certain, but best guesses are anywhere from 3-8 years; captive worms have been know to live for 10 years.
     When you examine a nightcrawler up close, note their red-gray color and ring-shaped segments called annuli.  Tiny bristles called setae cover each annuli. Nightcrawlers use their setae to slither and move as well as burrow into the ground. If you dissect one of these worms, you will discover that it does not possess a backbone, making it an invertebrate. 
     Nightcrawlers can grow to be a whopping 14 inches long and can weight up to 0.39 oz. The first segment of a nightcrawler's body contains the mouth. As they burrow, they feed on soil. The dirt contains decomposing leaves and roots that provide nutrients. They can eat up to a third of their body weight in a single day. 
     These worms also function as food for birds, rats and toads and fishermen often use them as bait. 
     Nightcrawlers can be divided into two types: European and Canadian. The Europeans usually measure around 3 inches in length. Besides being used for fishing bait, people use them for composting dumping household food garbage into a compost bin where worms eat it and produce compost through their waste. They also make excellent food for pet lizards and turtles. 
     The Canadian nightcrawlers grow larger than European nightcrawlers, up to 14 inches. They make good bait for freshwater fish such as large-mouth bass, trout and catfish. However, Canadian nightcrawlers don’t like warm temperatures and will die in temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
     Earthworms are unable to drown like a human would and they can even survive several days fully submerged in water. Soil experts now think earthworms surface during rain storms for migration purposes. For more information on this subject you will want to read Scientific American's article, Why Do Earthworms Surface After Rain? HERE 
     Now, to answer the question, how fast are they? Underground a large earthworm can move up to 0.05 miles per hour (about 3.5 feet per minute); a small one only travels about one tenth that speed. Their land speed is, as far as I could determine, unknown.

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