Authored by Kennedy Allen in Nature and Wildlife
Published on 09-22-2009
Nightcrawlers are a species of earthworms commonly used as very effective live fishing bait. Nightcrawlers can be quite large and can survive while submerged on a fisherman’s’ hook for about 5 minutes. Nightcrawlers are also very easy to keep and feed which makes them preferable to any other source of live food for other animals one might own.
To keep nightcrawlers, all that is needed is a tank or box to throw wet dirt and leaves in along with a damp and dark place to store it. Some types of nightcrawlers need a cooler environment as well, so storing them in a refrigerator might be necessary if the plan is to keep them for a long period of time. The back of a dark closet might work for most of them. To keep your nightcrawlers happy, make sure they always have loads of damp dirt and leaves, grass, or any other garden clippings.
Being as to how nightcrawlers are natural composters, they will eat just about any type of old fruit or vegetable one might have spoiling away in the refrigerator. If the main use for the nightcrawlers will be to feed other pets it is advisable to feed them more nutritionally dense dark and leafy greens.
Nightcrawlers can also be fed coffee grounds, chicken mash, bread, or even dye- free paper. It is advisable to keep the feed on the vegetarian side. This way the soil will stay fresher for longer without being made too acidic by the rotting protein. There are also many brands of worm food one can buy at bait shops that come conveniently packaged and ready to toss into the nightcrawlers tank.
It is vital that the soil in the nightcrawlers tank be kept moist, cool, and in a dark spot. If nightcrawlers are exposed to sunlight they will die. Also, if the soil is too damp and packed, the nightcrawlers will find it too difficult to move around and tunnel. If this happens the nightcrawlers will not keep for a very long time. Nightcrawlers need to move about and tunnel with ease and minimum strain so keeping the soil loose is optimal for their conservation.
When keeping and feeding nightcrawlers one must also keep in mind that less food is better than too much of it. Start with a small amount of food, and increase slightly until the right proportions are reached for the colony. If there is more food than the nightcrawlers will eat, it will spoil the soil. Nightcrawlers should be fed daily or on a schedule.
New food should be buried under no more than an inch of soil. It is recommended that the food be placed on one side of the tank, and that more food not be introduced until the old food is gone to prevent the environment from being poisoned by rotting materials.
Nightcrawlers are ultimately easy to keep and raise as long as we create the proper environment for them. They make great live bait and double as an environmentally friendly compost pile.