Do Worms and Earthworms Feel Pain? (Interesting Facts)

Worms may not be cuddly and cute like our usual pets. In fact, they can even seem disgusting to touch and feel. However, they remain as important animals that are crucial for the system. Further, they don’t run out of ways to drive out an inner curiosity in us.  

If you’re someone like me who finds worms fascinating, you probably ask and wonder many things about them. One of these things will be if they feel any pain should someone try to hurt them. Thus, you may ask:

Do worms feel pain? Yes, worms do feel pain, just like all other animals, and even just like us. These animals also have a nervous system that enables them to register pain whenever they get injured or hurt. It’s also the reason why they exhibit reactions to things such as sunlight, salt, or even cutting them in half.

At a glance, worms don’t react when they get hurt. However, they tend to respond well to some things. Among these are direct and harsh sunlight as well as salt. On the other hand, they don’t react much when someone tries to cut them in half.

Worms are so fascinating, so I did some research to know more about how they feel pain. 

If you’re as curious as I am, then read on.

Can worms feel pain?

As I said earlier, worms can feel pain, and it’s possible since they have a nervous system that transmits data. Thus, whenever they get hurt, it registers in their brains and reacts accordingly.

At a glance, they won’t do anything in case you take them out of the ground and put them somewhere else. Instead, worms just seem to keep moving until they burrow themselves in the ground again.

However, you can also see how they react if you put them under direct sunlight with no ground nearby. You can also see how worms wiggle like crazy if you put some salt in their skin.

With such observations, we can already say that they feel pain and react to it. They can register any life-threatening situation, although they don’t have great survival instincts.

Due to their small sizes, it’s quite challenging to see at a glance that they also try to survive. In fact, if you cut one worm in half, it continues to move anyway.

Related: Can Worms and Earthworms Drown?

Do worms suffer?

Worms do suffer due to pain, but not in the emotional aspect. These animals have simple nervous systems that are enough to register pain.

However, they don’t have the emotional capacity to suffer. For this reason, if by suffering, you mean emotionally, then worms generally don’t.

Thus, you don’t need to worry about how they would feel should you ever cut one in half, although it’s not right for you to do so. Still, don’t do it.

Worms may not be able to suffer emotionally, but it’s not reason enough to hurt one. If you can, it would be best to leave worms alone.

Does it hurt a worm to be cut in half?

If you see someone cutting a worm in half, stop it since it hurts the animal. Although worms don’t have a complex nervous system, it’s still enough to register pain.

Thus, worms may continue to survive if you cut them in half. However, in most circumstances, they would likely die.

Some people think that worms become two when you cut them in half. Although worms may survive the cut, only the part with the head may survive. 

Still, the fact remains that it hurts worms when you cut them in half, so don’t do it.

Related: Can Worms and Earthworms Die?

Does touching worms hurt them?

If you worry about hurting a worm if you touch it, then don’t. Worms won’t likely get hurt if you feel them. Still, it only goes as long as you remain gentle with it.

The skin of worms is enough to survive even in the rough ground. However, if you apply pressure, it may lead to killing the worm.

Aside from the worm, you should worry about yourself if you touch one. While some worms like earthworms are safe to hold with bare hands, some species may release a stinging substance. 

Thus, it would be best to be careful when touching or holding worms of any kind. Moreover, it’s also crucial that you wash your hands afterward. While worms won’t hurt you, they aren’t the cleanest animals either.

touching worm

Do earthworms feel pain?

Like all other kinds of worms, earthworms also feel pain. The design of their bodies may differ from different types. However, they remain with a nervous system that registers pain.

Thus, you can observe how they would react in harsh lights and even in salt. Moreover, they wouldn’t likely survive a cut or if ever you step on them.

In general, earthworms also feel pain. Thus, it would be best to handle them with caution if you ever plan to pick one up.

Does touching earthworms hurt them?

As I said earlier, earthworms are one of the perfectly safe worms to hold and pick up. Thus, touching them won’t hurt them, but only as long as you remain gentle.

Earthworms are just as sensitive as other kinds of worms. Thus, they can be quite fragile to handle.

Moreover, since they are earthworms, they can carry more germs and bacteria than other kinds.

Thus, always make sure to wash your hands every time you handle earthworms. This way, you can stay safe and disinfected from any bacteria it may transfer.


Worms, just like all other animals, also feel pain. They also have a nervous system that registers pain every time they get hurt or injured. Moreover, it enables them to react every time they face a life-threatening situation.

Of course, their nervous system is not as complicated as ours. Thus, worms may not suffer when they get hurt. However, it’s not reason enough to hurt one.

If you plan on picking one up, make sure to do it as gently as you can. Moreover, make sure you also put it back in the ground where it belongs, alive and unhurt.


Image credits – Canva

Share on: