and so we have our first toad of spring. He was dug up accidentally, we made sure he was okay by letting him hop around for a while, and then the lad covered him up with dirt again to help keep his body temp stabilized for the night.
The lad has also been discovering worms. Last night while I was working he was right in there with me, and he found some just born worms. They are very light at birth and he was just in wonder. He even found some of the eggs/cocoons that they hatch from. Good eyes on the lad as I never would have seen them. Seeing the wonder on his face and hearing the delight in his voice...it just makes the hard work of spring gardening well worth it. He's learned a lot about camoflage ....how God naturally makes animals darker on the top and lighter underneath as it helps them to hide (even worms have this). How God helps to protect baby things before they are born (worms in cocoons). He's discovered insect cocoon and has learned to properly bury them again so we can see what might come out of them.
Links to our increased understanding
Baby worms are not born.
They hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice.
This page was helpful in being able to ask the lad leading questions.
1. Earthworms respire ("breathe") by absorbing oxygen through their body surface into the body and sending carbon dioxide out. The oxygen dissolves in the mucous on the body surface and then passes into the highly branched capillary blood vessels in the body wall where it is picked up by the respiratory pigment and transported to the internal organs.
2. Earthworms may survive for considerable lengths of time in water if the dissolved oxygen level is high enough.
3. Earthworms cannot maintain a steady body temperature like humans or dogs or cattle.This means their respiration rate rises with increasing temperature. Increasing respiration rates mean increased metabolic rates which means increased energy requirements which means increased feeding rates by worms or food must be "stolen" from reserves in the worms' own body tissues. The reverse is true for decreasing temperatures.
4. Earthworms derive their nutrition from organic matter in a wide variety of forms. So far plant matter (various forms, fresh‑decayed), protozoans, rotifers, nematodes, bacteria, fungi and decomposing remains of other animals are known to be worm food.
This site has information about all different types of worms and what their distribution is. I do wish it had some better pictures though. it's an interesting site though and uses proper earthworm terminology.
From this Canadian Geographic Article we learned the following:
Number of worm species identified in Canada: 25
Number of segments in a full grown dew-worm: approximately 150, all of them capable of sensing light and touch
Average length of a dew-worm: about 25 centimetres, roughly the height of this page
Life expectancy: approximately seven to nine years
Number of worms that can fit in a regulation worm-picking coffee can: 400 to 600
Number of offspring a dew-worm produces each year: 10 to 12
All this from doing some gardening with a seven year old boy. :)
We find that most of the earthworms are congregating where either there is lots of hay (the pale dew worm types) or where there is lots of poop/hay mixed (the red wiggler types). I just find it interesting how they distribute themselves and I like breaking up the rabbit compost to spread them out a bit. Worms are good for the soil you know. :) The lad, he just carefully collects them and puts them in a big bucket with soil.