Oregon Giant Earthworm

Asked May 30, 2017, 3:57 PM EDT

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

3 Responses

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!