Aug 18 2014

Giant Palouse Earthworm

 This snake sized worm was thought to have been extinct until recently rediscovered in 2010. The legend of this worm has grown so much over the years as it’s hard to distinguish facts from fiction.

Giant Palouse Earthworm Facts

This is the giant Palouse earthworm, also known as the Washington Giant Earthworm. In 1897, zooligist Frank Smith discovered the worm near Pullman, Washington.

The giant invertebrate has been found in the Palouse region of Eastern Washington State as well as part of Idaho. Little is known about this creature because it was thought to have been extinct since 1980.

However, two specimens were rediscovered on March 27th of 2010 by a team of scientists from the University of Idaho. Which included Samuel James and Jodi Johnson-Maynard.

really big-earthworm

Giant Earthworm

This isn’t fishing bait we’re talking about here. This worm can grow up to 3 and a half feet long which is as long as a park bench.

The worm makes its home in burrows up to 16 feet deep in the Palouse bunch grass praires because of its fertile soil which consists of volcanic ash and rich layers of organic matter that help to sustain the worm during dry seasons.

According to an 1897 article by Frank Smith in the American Naturalist the worm was common in the 1890’s, however only four specimens have been found prior to 2010.

Then as recently as 2012 two specimens were found just south of Moscow, Idaho near Paradise Ridge by Cass Davis and Joseph Szasz.

Both specimens are now in a freezer at the University of Idaho.

Although rumored to grow to 3 ½ feet, recovered specimens are usually about as long as an Xbox or PS3.

The worm can be identified by its white albino like coloring and is said to give off the smell of fresh lilies.

It is also rumored to spit in defense at its attackers, but this has never been confirmed. This worm is so rare its hard to separate fact from fiction.  palouse_giant_wormpalouse-washingtongiant washington wormrare giant-palouse-earthworm