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How to Care for Pet Worms: Advice for Kids on Keeping Earthworms

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I am a lover of all pets, including unusual ones like earthworms.

Learn how to keep an earthworm as a pet!

Learn how to keep an earthworm as a pet!

Caring for Pet Earthworms

Worms live underground, so a pet earthworm might not seem like the most exciting pet in the world—until you realize that your pet worm is the best, stealthiest pet a kid can have! Your pet can live underground in a worm box, window box, or in a potted plant, or even outside in the garden.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your worm, there are worm farms, which are perfect for seeing your pet worm at work and play. Keep in mind, though, that a worm kept in a little worm farm with nothing but dirt won't live very long because they need food to eat.

A worm farm is a clear-sided tank where you can see your worm as it slides through the soil.

A worm farm is a clear-sided tank where you can see your worm as it slides through the soil.

What Do Worms Eat?

Worms feed on decomposing material, which is another way to say rotten food and plant scraps. If you have kitchen scraps, you can put them into a worm bin, and the worms will eat the scraps and excrete a dirt-like substance that is very nutritious for other plants. Worms are nature's scrap recyclers.

How to Care for Your Pet Worm(s)

There are lots of different kinds of worms in the world, and they require different kinds of care. The advice in this article is geared towards the common pink earthworm that you'll find in most gardens.

  1. Hands off! Pet worms are best watched, not played with and touched. It hurts a worm to be handled by your hands because they are designed to live in soil. If you have to move your worm from one place to another, be very gentle and try to move it with a little soil around it to protect it from your hands.
  2. Say no to sun! Unlike you and I, who enjoy sunny days, worms are designed to live underground. Being exposed to sunlight can give them painful sunburn very quickly, and it can also cause them to die by drying them out. Make sure your worm is always gently covered with earth.
  3. A little water goes a long way. The soil your worm lives in can be damp to moist, but it should never be soaking wet. Have you ever noticed the way worms end up on the pavements and roads after a heavy rainfall? That's because they are trying to escape drowning in the water.
  4. Yummy worm food. You can feed your worm all kinds of organic scraps— things like potato peels, apple skins, carrot peelings, and other sorts of plant material. This might get stinky, so it can sometimes be best to keep your pet worm outside where the smell of the scraps won't bother anyone.

Free-Range Worm Pets

The best way to keep a pet worm is to just keep it for a few days and then let it go back into the wild again. Though it might make you sad to let your pet worm go, remember that worms are wild animals and can never really be tamed. They will live much longer and much healthier lives if you only spend a short time with them and send them on their way happy and healthy.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.