Saturday, November 15, 2008
Mystery Solved: Worm Grunting
I can't tell you how many times I've found myself wishing I had a big bucket full of worms. Okay, not many. But if I ever find myself lost in the woods, with only a trout-filled stream to feed me, I now know how to quickly rustle up some fishing bait. (Or an appetizer.)
It's called worm grunting. Here's a description from the New York Times: "Worm grunting, also known as worm fiddling or charming, involves driving a wooden stake into the ground and rubbing the top of it with a . . . flat piece of steel to make a grunting or snoring noise. Done in the right place under the right conditions, the result will be hundreds of earthworms appearing on the surface of the ground. Worm grunting is practiced in parts of the southeast to obtain fish bait."
Kind of cool, if you're into slimy, soil-dwelling invertebrates. But until recently, no one had no idea how how it worked. Now scientists have discovered that the sound produced is similar to the sounds made by moles. The worms think they're being chased and flee to the surface!
Enjoy the great worm grunter video below, which offers numerous fascinating worm facts!