If you’ve noticed worms burrowing through your yard, you are probably curious about how they eat and drink water.
While earthworms benefit your soil in numerous ways, like the creation of drainage channels and aeration passageways, you may be worried that they feed on the roots of your plant, so if you keep asking yourself, ‘what do worms eat and drink?’ then you should know that they mainly feed on organic matter and other things that you find in the soil.
This article has uncovered all you need to know about worms, what they eat, and how they eat. We take you through the mildly biological process and answer some of your frequently asked questions.
What Are Worms?
The word “worm” is quite an extensive term as it can describe parasitic worms, worms found in wet places, or those found burrowing through soils.
The word ‘earthworm’ is the term used to refer to the long-segmented worm you may find in the soil in your yard. These creatures belong to a class of invertebrates (animals without backbones) called annelids.
Earthworms are popularly known for their fluid movement, carried out without limbs or hind limbs, because they move by contracting and pushing the front part of their body forward.
What Do Worms Eat And Drink?
Worms spend most of their time in the soil, so it makes sense that their primary food source is organic matter. But they also feed on other materials such as dirt, manure, rotting and decaying, and leaves. Worms do not drink water through their mouth. They depend on the moisture in the soil to keep their body hydrated.
There is a far-reaching list of all the items you can feed worms, but here are the essential food items and why they are great for worms.
These are biological matters which have started to decompose. Worm feed on the organic matter because it is easier to absorb the nutrient they contain. After they feed and absorb the needed from these organic materials, the remaining unused pile is excreted.
Earthworms move around in the dirt, and if this dirt contains microorganisms and a small percentage of organic matter, they feed on them and digest the nutrients they need. They end up excreting useless materials.
Manure is an organic fertilizer made of animal waste and bedding. These materials benefit worms because they contain rich nutrients that the animals have already digested. It makes feeding easier for worms as they only need to absorb nutrients. Manure is considered to be the worms’ favorite food.
Rotting And Decaying Materials
Worms will feed on almost any material in decay or rot. They don’t have an advanced digestive system that can break down complex substances; thus, they must absorb nutrients from any appropriate source.
Leaves or flowers that are decaying or rotting are a delicacy for worms, so if you have fallen leaves in your surroundings, they can serve as food for worms when they decay. These creatures have an instinct that protects them from harmful leaves; for example, they all know poison ivy harms them.
Worms are not their best in acidic soil or environment, so worms need eggshells in their diet. Eggshells contain calcium crucial in neutralizing acidic soil, thus creating a great living environment. Ensure that the eggshells are crushed before feeding them to the worms.
Coffee grounds are another perfect food for worms; however, they should be fed to them in moderation as excess coffee grounds. We recommend adding a little grounded coffee into the materials you feed to worms.
Worms eat fresh and used tea leaves as long as it is found in a compost pile or in a state of decay. That goes for many vegetables as well. You can mix these leaves with other materials you feed them.
How Do Worms Eat
When observing a worm from a distance, it may seem that both ends of its elongated body are closed up, so you may wonder how exactly it feeds. The feeding process of worms is quite simple, but we are about to get a bit biological.
It may be surprising, but worms have no teeth. They pull their food into their mouth, which is done using the first segment of their body. Their pharynx (throat) pulls the food into their crop, temporarily storing it before being transported to the gizzard.
At the gizzard, the food items are broken into smaller pieces, and this is because worms have no teeth. The nutrients from the broken-down food will be absorbed in the small intestine. The undigested materials will be excreted.
Frequently asked questions
You may have many other questions relating to what and how worms eat. Fortunately, this section covers some of those questions you may have.
How much do worms eat?
Worms are known to consume a lot quickly, and it has been estimated that they eat about half their weight daily.
How often should worms be fed on a worm farm?
Worms should be given a reasonable amount of food per day. There should be a ratio between fresh or green food and decomposed or brown food to ensure their diet has a balanced pH. It is why eggshells are essential to act as a neutralizer.
What is a worm’s favorite food?
Worms love animal manure because it contains a lot of nutrients and is easy to digest. Because the animal has already digested it, the gizzard will do less work breaking it down, and the small intestine can absorb the nutrients easily.
You may have a worm farm, or you’re just curious, but this article answers your questions about what worms eat and drink.
We have described all the food items worms eat and why they eat them, and you will also learn what they drink. You should know that they don’t need some food items in excess as it can affect their body pH.
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We also cover how worms digest their food through the detailed process and how they take in water. Reading further, some of your questions should have been answered in the FAQ section.