European Nightcrawler facts, facts about European Nightcrawlers, picture of European Nightcrawlers

European Nightcrawler Facts: What to Know About the Diverse Fishing and Composting Earthworm

Earthworms are fascinating creatures that play a critical role in maintaining the health of our planet's soil. Among the various species of earthworms, the European Nightcrawler (Eisenia Hortensis) is one of the most popular, interesting, and versatile. 

These worms, commonly called “ENCs” or “Euros”, are native to Europe and have been introduced to many parts of the world (including North America by cargo boats in the 1800s).

ENCs are highly sought after by gardeners, composters, and fishermen alike, due to their size, liveliness, and ability to thrive in various conditions.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the most interesting European Nightcrawler facts, ranging from their habitat and diet to their reproductive habits and even their role as a diverse fishing and composting worm.

5 Interesting European Nightcrawler Facts

  1. ENCs are hermaphrodites,
  2. ENCs breathe through their skin,
  3. ENCs can grow up to 8 inches long (although 3-5 inches is more common), 
  4. ENCs can dig tunnels up to 4 feet deep, 
  5. ENCs are part of the nightcrawler family which is one of the physically largest earthworm species.

More Fun and Interesting European Nightcrawler Facts

European Nightcrawler Appearance

European nightcrawlers are larger than other species of earthworms, typically measuring between 3 and 6 inches in length. They are reddish-brown in color (similar to Red Wigglers) but are larger in diameter than both Red Wigglers and Indian Blue worms. Their length and thickness make them a popular fishing worm.

European Nightcrawler Habitat

European nightcrawlers are soil dwellers and can be found in a variety of environments, including gardens, lawns, and forests. They prefer soil that is moist and rich in organic matter. 

Nightcrawlers live deeper in the soil than Red Wigglers and Indian Blues, preferring a depth of 6-12 inches or more.

What to Feed European Nightcrawlers

European nightcrawlers are detritivores, which means they feed on decaying organic matter like other species of earthworms. They consume a wide range of materials, including plant debris, paper and cardboard, and even manure.

How do European Nightcrawlers Reproduce?

Like most earthworms, European nightcrawlers are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. 

ENCs mate by exchanging sperm packets, and each worm can produce up 40-75 cocoons per year. The cocoons hatch into small worms which grow into adults in about 3 months.

Composting with European Nightcrawlers

European nightcrawlers are popular for composting because they can process organic matter quickly and efficiently. They are able to consume and break down a wide range of materials, which helps to produce nutrient-rich compost called worm castings that are beneficial for plants.

European Nightcrawlers as Fishing Bait

ENCs are one of the best fishing worms due to their size and ability to stay alive in the water. Their large size and lively movements make them attractive to many fish species. 

ENCs often used for catching panfish, trout, and bass.

European Nightcrawler Cold Tolerance

European nightcrawlers are able to tolerate cooler temperatures than many other earthworm species. They can survive temperatures as low as 30°F and can be found active in the soil throughout the year in many regions.

FAQs: More Facts about European Nightcrawlers



What are European Nightcrawlers good for?

European Nightcrawlers are popular for vermicomposting and producing worm castings, and are often used as fishing bait due to their active feeding habits, high reproductive rates, and liveliness on a fishing hook.

How long do European Nightcrawlers live?

European Nightcrawlers can live for 2-3 years in optimal conditions, and have been known to live as long as 5 years.

How long does it take European Nightcrawlers to mature?

European Nightcrawlers reach sexual maturity at around 3-6 months of age.

How many hearts do nightcrawlers have?

Nightcrawlers have five hearts.

How often do nightcrawlers have babies?

Nightcrawlers can produce a cocoon every 7-10 days, and each cocoon usually contains 2-20 baby worms.

How fast do European Nightcrawlers multiply?

European Nightcrawlers can double their population every 60-90 days under ideal conditions.

What are 5 interesting facts about earthworms?

1) There are over 6,000 species of earthworms worldwide, 2) Earthworms evolved over 500 million years to play a vital role in soil health, 3) Charles Darwin was fascinated by earthworms, 4) They can detect light but do not like it, 5) Earthworms are a food source for many animals.

How did nightcrawlers get their name?

Nightcrawlers get their name from their habit of coming to the surface at night to feed and breed. Earthworms don't like light so they prefer being active at night when it is dark.

Do Nightcrawler worms have teeth?

Nightcrawlers do not have teeth, but they use a muscular pharynx to grind and break down food (similar to a bird’s gizzard).

Do nightcrawlers feel pain?

It's unclear whether or not nightcrawlers feel pain. They lack a centralized nervous system so their perception of pain is different from a human’s.

How many babies do nightcrawlers have?

Nightcrawlers can produce up to 200 offspring per year, depending on environmental conditions. Each cocoon from an earthworm can have 2-20 baby worms hatch.

How deep do nightcrawlers live?

Nightcrawlers typically live in the top 6-12 inches of soil but can burrow much deeper if necessary.

How long can nightcrawlers live in water?

Nightcrawlers can survive underwater for several days, but they require oxygen-rich water to breathe.



Brothers Worm Farm

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