How do worms dig?

As the soft, squishy, pink things you first encounter when you’re playing outside as a kid, worms appear extremely fragile. With a soft outer skin and little protection, when you first saw them bury themselves out of sight and into the ground you may have wondered how they managed it. And how can they possibly navigate these depths without any eyes or ears?

When worms dig they are moving a stream of soil. Consuming the loam as they roam, this soil passes through their elongated bodies before being excreted behind them in their wake. Digesting organic matter and leaves as food, they also return nutrients to the soil as they travel.

In a world of darkness, the only method they have to survive the continuous threats of bird beaks, hungry moles and other predators is to feel their way through. Nerves in their bodies can detect light and vibrations as they manoeuvre, and their bodies move in response.

We only get to see worms’ movements for a small fraction of their lives on the odd occasion they surface, so what magic are they working when out of sight and in their element?

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