Oregon Giant Earthworm
I recently rescued an extremely large worm which one of my chickens unearthed from a spot where I have been dumping water when I change out the chickens water. I thought it was a snake at first, but when I ran in to rescue it, it appeared to be a worm or maybe a salamander? Never seen a worm that big before, and the chickens were kind of afraid of it. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo, or an extremely good look at it as I was concerned to get it to safety, and....I'm kind of squeamish when it comes to worms. I picked it up and placed it in the area of the yard which is shaded and overgrown with nettle. I live in Eugene, off of River Road which is a couple of blocks from the Willamette River. I am concerned about if it is either the Oregon Giant Earthworm or a salamander what I can do to keep my yard a "friendly" place for them to live (in spite of chickens.) Thank you.
Lane County Oregon worms
First off, thank you for being so friendly to other life forms! Oregon Giant Earthworms are rare and not in our valley. They live 4 or more feet underground in a very limited area. We do occasionally get really huge night crawlers, however, and that is a more likely identification. They live in fixed burrows so it may have been flooded out. Salamanders prefer a damp, usually shaded location. We also have newts which are not quite so fussy, but still need damp areas. Nettle is very friendly to such creatures as well as being a great food source for us and other creatures.
Thank you so much for your response. Kind of glad to know it wasn't an Oregon Giant Earthworm. I will make sure my Nettle patch stays nice and wet. I remember when I had been cultivating gardens in Oakland, CA for a number of years, salamanders or newts started appearing in the evenings. I was overjoyed, and would be again, if, this happened in my current gardening site. Thanks again; I appreciate a source to go to for information about the wildlife in my area.
Part of the joy of gardening is other discoveries of the natural world. You are most welcome!