Biologists trying to figure why giant earthworm grew so big

Posted at 2:19 PM, Sep 02, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-02 14:19:51-04

YUNNAN PROVINCE, China (CNN) -  A huge half-meter-long earthworm was found in the gutter of a residential house Thursday in Binchuan Country, Yunnan Province in southwest China.  

Li Zhiwei, a worker from the Forestry Bureau of Binchuan County, saw the slinking worm by the gutter when he was putting out some Chinese dates to dry in the backyard.

"It looked like a snake, I looked carefully and found it was actually a huge earthworm," said Li, who added that he decided to keep the worm and raise it in his backyard.

The elongated earthworm has attracted neighbors, who have never seen one this long before.

Depending on the species, an adult earthworm can be anywhere from 10 mm long and 1 mm wide to 3 m long and over 25 mm wide.