The UK's largest recorded earthworm has been unearthed in a Cheshire garden.
Measuring a staggering 40cm and weighing a whopping 26 grams, the huge worm – nicknamed Dave – was spotted by Paul Rees while he was tending his vegetable patch at his home in Widnes .
Emma Sherlock, Natural History Museum scientist and chair of the Earthworm Society of Britain, was astonished by the find.
She said: “I was bowled over by the size of this worm when I opened the plastic box they sent it in.”
Unfortunately the monster worm died shortly after its arrival in the post and is now stored in a jar at the Natural History Museum.
It isn’t on public display but forms part of the 80 million specimen scientific collection.
Emma said: “Not only is it really long, it is almost twice as heavy as any other wild earthworm ever seen, weighing the same as a small chocolate bar.
“I look forward to seeing if anyone can find an even bigger example by taking part in the Earthworm Watch survey this autumn.”
Earthworm Watch is a survey of earthworms and soil quality run by the Museum and the Earthwatch Institute in association with the Earthworm Society of Britain.
These creepy crawlers improve soil fertility and ability to store carbon by mixing in dead plant material. Their burrows increase the amount of air and water that can enter.
Because earthworms have so many predators, they don’t usually grow to Dave’s size. The previous record holder was from Scotland and weighed 15 grams.