Memories of a rural childhood – W is for worms and water



Giant worms are not something you see every day. Some of them live in very damp areas near the creek at the bottom of our hill. They rarely come to the surface and so are not often seen. Sometimes people have heard a gurgling sound as they have moved along their tunnels. Not me, unfortunately!

The only time I remember seeing more than one of these giant worms was after a tall mountain ash tree fell over near the creek. Several worms were hanging from the roots which were now a fair way up in the air. The worms appeared to be at least 1.5 metres (5 ft) long but may have stretched after death.

Note: The worms in our area are thought not to be the same species as the well-known giant Gippsland earthworm (Megascolides australis). 


Some time later, one of our cows fell into an unexpected hole near these roots. She was completely underground with just her head at ground level and was only discovered when the current milking cow was reluctant to leave her. It was a great challenge and took many hours to extricate the cow from the hole. Dad and a couple of neighbours dug a series of steps in the hope that she could be persuaded to walk up out of the hole. She was not at all cooperative until they lowered a bucket of water and she had drunk her fill. Then it was easy. She walked up the steps gingerly at first, then more confidently. Once out of the hole she wandered off to eat some grass, the only external evidence of her ordeal being a scrape mark on her flank.



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