An African Night Crawler is larger and more resilient than other types of earthworms. So how do you identify one and are they good for the garden?
Introduction – African night crawler
African nightcrawlers are earthworms that are native to the continent of Africa. These worms are popular among gardeners and fishers because they are known to be great for aerating the soil and bait.
African Night Crawlers are larger and more resilient than other types of earthworms, making them ideal for use in composting and worm farms.
If you are thinking about getting African nightcrawlers, there are a few things you should know about them. In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about African nightcrawlers, from their benefits to how to care for them.
So whether you are a gardener or a fisherman, read on to learn about African night crawlers.
What is an African night crawler?
African nightcrawler worms are excellent vermi composting worms, also known as Eudrilus Eugeniae, and are prevalent commercial worms.
These worms are used for composting as well as bait for fish. The African worms are generally found in compost bins and worm farms.
The African night crawler worms are more significant than most earthworms, growing up to 8 inches in length. Reddish in color with a distinctively thicker body than other earthworms, these worms can grow up to a max weight of 2.5 grams within 8-10 weeks.
A temperature of 24-30 °C (75-86 °F) is very suitable for African night crawlers. Unlike many other composting worms, African night crawlers are not fond of living in moist conditions.
They prefer drier environments, such as lightly-packed soils with plenty of organic matter. African night crawlers are excellent at aerating the ground and breaking organic matter into rich compost.
African night crawlers are very appealing for vermicomposting, collecting worm castings, and a good fishing worm.
How do I identify an African Night crawler?
Specific physical characteristics of an African nightcrawler differentiate them from any other composting worm; the features below can help you identify them.
● African Nightcrawler grows up to 12 inches when fully grown.
● They have a very distinct red hue all over their bodies.
● The African nightcrawler has a very thick body, much more expansive than your average earthworm.
● When looking at an African night crawler from above, you will notice that their bodies taper down from the head to the tail.
● The underside of the African Nightcrawler is dark red to purple, with an iridescent gleam when exposed to light sunshine.
● They move at a sluggish pace when carried in hand but are very swift when moving through the soil.
● African night crawler reaches breeding age faster than red wigglers.
What’s the difference between earthworms and nightcrawlers?
The two main types of earthworms are nightcrawlers and earthworms. They are frequently mistaken for one another since they have a lot in common, such as what they eat, how big they grow, and how long it takes them to breed.
● One of the most significant differences between these two worms is that Nightcrawlers Are Nocturnal. In contrast, Earthworms Are Diurnal, which means, Nightcrawlers are most active at night, and earthworms are most active during the day.
● Nightcrawlers are sensitive to light, so they stay deep in their burrows or under leaves and logs during the day to avoid being exposed to sunlight.
● Earthworms do not have this same sensitivity to light, so they can come to the surface during the day to feed.
● The body of a nightcrawler is segmented, meaning they have different sections visible on the body.
● Earthworms do not have segments but just one continuous piece with no spaces between each portion of the worm’s body.
● Another distinct difference is the color; African night nightcrawlers have a brownish body color, whereas earthworms are a little on the whiter side.
● African night crawlers grow to a maximum weight of around 2.5 grams within 8–10 weeks, whereas a healthy earthworm grows to a body weight ranging from 1.6 to 3.0 grams.
How fast do African night crawlers reproduce?
African night crawlers are incredibly efficient reproducers. The worms are hermaphrodites, meaning each has male and female reproductive organs. As a result, they can mate with any other African night crawler.
African Night Crawlers are colony dwellers; they enjoy living in close quarters with each other. It also aids in their rapid reproduction, which is a plus point if you have a worm farm.
The average number of cocoons produced by African night crawler worms each week is about 3.5. Typically, two hatchlings emerge from each cocoon.
Remember that while some worm breed characteristics such as food, temperature, and humidity levels can significantly impact reproduction rates, other factors like diet may also have an effect.
How big do African night crawlers get?
The African Nightcrawler can grow over 8-10 inches in length, however, their counterpart European Nightcrawler ( European Nightcrawler) can only grow from 2 to 4 inches.
African nightcrawler, known as the larger cousin of the red wriggler worm, grows more in length than other night crawlers. For instance, the Canadian Nightcrawler grows up to 8 inches.
They are also sensitive to sunshine, as they do not like it as much as other worms. They are not as tolerant as other nightcrawlers, but they are a valuable addition to your worm bin.
Are African night crawlers good for your garden?
Yes, they are. The African night crawler is an excellent composting worm. They consume more than their body weight in organic matter every day, and they excrete nutrient-rich castings that are perfect for your garden.
The diet of night crawlers includes leaves, grass, and other garden debris. You can also offer them kitchen scraps such as fruits and vegetables. You can feed them once or twice a week, and they will be more than happy.
One of the most significant advantages of using African night crawlers in your compost bin is that they are much less likely to escape than red wriggler worms.
African night crawlers are excellent aerators of the soil. They help improve drainage and aeration by burrowing through the mud and creating tunnels. This is beneficial for your plants as it allows them to access oxygen and water better. Improved drainage also helps to reduce the risk of root rot, a common problem in poorly drained soils.
What do you feed African night crawlers?
You can feed leaves, vegetable waste, and fruit waste such as apples, bananas, and orange peels.
Food to feed:
● Non- citrus fruit waste
● Vegetable Waste
● Egg shells
● Coffee Grounds (Filters too)
● Garden Waste
Foods to avoid:
● Dairy products
● Cooking oil
● Pet waste
How long do African night crawlers live for?
The average life span of an African night crawler can be 1–3 years. It is also observed that these worms have a relatively shorter life span than other worms.
Where can you buy African night crawlers?
In tropical and subtropical regions around the world, African night crawlers are used as composting and bait worms by vermicomposters. You can buy them from Amazon, or you can ask your local hardware store, or garden centre.
Final Words – African night crawler
The African night crawler is an excellent addition to any compost bin. Not only do they help to break down organic matter, but they also aerate the soil and add valuable nutrients. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your garden’s health, consider getting some African night crawlers of your own.