Different types of Nightcrawlers, type of nightcrawlers, types of nightcrawlers poster for blog

Canadian, African, and European Nightcrawlers: Get to Know the Different Types of Nightcrawlers

Are you ready to discover the hidden secrets of the nightcrawler world? These fascinating creatures are more than just your average earthworm - they're an essential component of healthy soil, with a range of unique features that set them apart from their red wiggler cousins.

Nightcrawlers are great composting worms that can handle a wide range of organic matter and conditions. But that's not all - they also make fantastic fishing bait thanks to their impressive size, lively nature, and durability.

But here's the, umm, catch - not all nightcrawlers are created equal. There are three distinct types of nightcrawlers - African, Canadian, and European - each with their own unique characteristics and quirks. So whether you're looking to use nightcrawlers for composting or fishing, it's important to know which type is the right fit.

In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the world of nightcrawlers and explore everything you need to know about these incredible creatures. 

What are the Different Types of Nightcrawlers?

Nightcrawlers are divided into three types: European, African, and Canadian. European nightcrawlers, aka Eisenia Hortensis, measure 3-5 inches and are reddish-brown; they are great for composting and fishing. African nightcrawlers, known as Eudrilus Eugeniae, are larger at 6-8 inches with a greyish-brown color, and are often used for vermicomposting and fishing for medium-sized fish. The Canadian nightcrawler, or Lumbricus Terrestris, is the largest, measuring 10-12 inches, and is ideal for catching large fish like pike and bass. 

African nightcrawlers
African Nightcrawlers

Differences between European, Canadian, and African Nightcrawlers

In addition to being different in size and color, the 3 main nightcrawler types also differ in the conditions they can thrive in. Also, some nightcrawlers are better suited for composting while others are better-suited for fishing.

For example, the European nightcrawler and African nightcrawler are both excellent compost and fishing worms, and they can survive in a broader temperature range than Canadian nightcrawlers. 

Canadian nightcrawlers, on the other hand, require much cooler temperatures to survive and thrive. Canadian nightcrawlers are also a good fishing worm for larger fish due to the species’ size (10-12 inches long), but they are not a great composting worm because they tend to burrow more than other nightcrawlers and as a result  can be difficult to feed.


Avg Length

Best Use

Ideal Temperature Range (F)


3-5 inches

Fishing, Composting

60-80 degrees 


5-7 inches

Fishing, Composting

70-85 degrees


10-12 inches


50-65 degrees


What nightcrawlers are best for composting?

For composting, we recommend the European nightcrawler followed by the African nightcrawler. European nightcrawlers can survive in a wider temperature range, and they are more tolerant of bin conditions (temperatures and pH) than their African cousins.

European nightcrawlers, buy european nightcrawlers
European Nightcrawlers - Diverse Nightcrawler Used in Composting & Fishing

The characteristics make the Euro a better fit if you are planning to use the worms for composting in a worm bin or compost pile.

What are the Biggest Nightcrawlers?

Sometimes referred to as the “granddaddy of nightcrawlers”, the Canadian nightcrawler is the largest of all nightcrawlers. They can grow up to 14 inches in length and can weigh up to 1 ounce. 


Canadian nightcrawler

Canadian Nightcrawler: The Grandaddy Nightcrawler due to its Large Size

What is the difference between European and African Nightcrawlers?

The European nightcrawler and African nightcrawler have several differences. The European nightcrawler is smaller in size (3-5 inches vs. 6-8 inches) and has a reddish-brown color to the African’s greyish-brown color.

Both worms are excellent fishing bait and composters, but the European nightcrawler can survive in a wider temperature range and is slightly more tolerant of varying worm bin conditions.

Conclusion: The Different Types of Nightcrawlers

Each different type of nightcrawler has unique characteristics that make them useful for specific purposes. 

If you are planning on breeding or composting, consider European or African nightcrawlers over their Canadian cousins. 

And for fishing, try the European nightcrawler for smaller fish, the African nightcrawler for mid-sized fish, and the Canadian nightcrawler for larger fish.


Looking to buy European Nightcrawlers or red wiggler compost worms? We sell worms in small quantities, by the pound, or in bulk. Questions? Contact us at highfive@brotherswormfarm.com and we're happy to help!


Brothers Worm Farm

Awesome Post, thank you!

Brothers Worm Farm

Great info, thanks for sharing.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.