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Advice on taking

care of & Breeding

Red Worms

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When you're using Red Worms for the food of other Pets

The Redworm (scientifically Eisenia fetida) is also commonly
called the Red Worm, Tiger Worm, Bandling, Manure Worm,
Stink Worm, Dung Worm, Fecal Worm, Manure Worm, Striped
Worm, Red Wriggler, Angleworm and probably many more local
names. As happens with common names, the larger earthworm
species such as the Canadian Nightcrawler are also commonly
called Angleworms in some places, but Eisenia fetida can be
identified by their alternating red and buff stripes, which
is the reason for their name of Tiger Worm. The other common
names are self-explanatory, referring to the chosen habitat
of the Redworm, its appearance, or it popularity with
anglers (fishermen).

The Eisenia fetida lives under the litter layer in the top
ten or so inches of the topsoil rather than in deep burrows
like Nightcrawlers and some other species. This makes Red
Worms much easier and so more popular to raise in captivity.
They are a popular and nutritious food for fish, birds,
amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Care of bought Red Worms

Try to keep your purchased Red Worms at between sixty and
eighty degrees Fahrenheit (sixteen to twenty-seven degrees
Celsius). Red Worms do best at the higher part of this
range, and may die quickly at temperatures over ninety
degrees F. (thirty-two degrees Celsius).

Store your Red Worms in the bedding they are in when you
purchase them, their bedding material will also serve as
both food and water for the week or so that you may keep
them on hand for pet food. Before you feed them to your
pets, rinse them with clean water to remove the dirt that
may cling to the worm. The dirt won't hurt your pet, but it
is not nutritious and so takes up stomach space that should
be used for food.

How to breed your own Red Worms for live Pet Food

Red Worms, like all earthworms, are hermaphrodites, which
means that each worm has both male and female reproductive
organs. If you look at an adult, breeding mature earthworm,
you will see a swollen-looking area about one-third of the
way down the body from the head. This is called the
clitellum, and contains the earthworm's breeding organs.

The average incubation period for Eisenia fetida is thirty
to seventy days, depending on temperature, humidity and food
sources. New baby worms take up to ten weeks to reach breeding
maturity and begin producing cocoons, and once a Red Worm
begins to breed and starts laying, it can lay two to three
cocoons each week for six months to a year.

When you go to buy your starter worms, if you buy one pound
(.454 kilos) of worms you'll have about one thousand worms.
If you keep them in good conditions and with plenty of food,
within three or four months you will have twice as many.
Feed your Redworms three times their weight in food per
week, (One pound of worms will need three pounds of food.),
keep the moisture level at seventy-five percent and the
temperature of their box above sixty and below eighty
degrees F. (sixteen to twenty-seven degrees Celsius) and you
should have a never-ending supply of nutritious worms to add
to your pet's varied diet.

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