Do Worms And Earthworms Have Lungs? (Interesting Facts)

Have you ever wondered how worms and earthworms live? I mean, can they breathe or even have lungs? Let us check that out.

So do worms and earthworms have lungs? The answer is no. Worms and earthworms do not have lungs. They breathe through their skin.

We sometimes wonder what life is for worms and earthworms. If you love gardening, you should have seen plenty of earthworms when you work in the soil. 

We do not even spend a single thought on them and throw them away. But some of you might wonder what it is like to a worm. 

Earthworms moved slowly and loved to be in the soil. You might not even know what earthworms eat or if they can breathe. But worms and earthworms exist in this life for a purpose. 

They help with our gardens and with other stuff too. Though the most top question is this, “do worms and earthworms have lungs?”. How do they breathe? 

If you want to know about that, stay for this fantastic read.

How Many Lungs Do Worms Have?

If you think that worms have lungs, we are so sorry to disappoint you because they have not. Worms and earthworms are made into this world without lungs. So your next question would be, “how do they breathe?” 

Well, worms and earthworms breathe through their skin. There is a reason why worms and earthworms would always look wet. Of course, they would be because they loved to be in damp places, but worms and earthworms need to have their skin moist all of the time. 

This is to allow the entry of dissolved oxygen into their bloodstream. Worms and earthworms loved to be in a moist and wet environment. This is also because of the mucus that is coated in their skin. 

This is why worms and earthworms can survive even if they are burrowed in soil. Worms and earthworms can breathe just anywhere in their skin, and this is an advantage for them when they are burrowing in your plant soil.

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Why Do Earthworms And Worms Not Have Lungs?

Worms, like any other animals and living things in the world, have to breathe. They need oxygen to breathe and live in this world. But how do they do that? 

Worms and earthworms do not have lungs because they will not need to. Worms and earthworms do breathe but do not breathe using nose and mouth like humans because they do not have one. Worms and earthworms breathe alone through their skin. 

The air will dissolve in the skin of the worms because they have mucus there. That is why it is essential to keep their skin moist for them to breathe. Worms cannot get dry. 

If worms and earthworms get dry skin, they will suffocate and cannot breathe. There is also a reason why a worm moves like the way they moved. They are like shaking their bodies. 

This is because of the movement of the blood in their body. The worm will get air through their skin and direct it to the worm’s circulatory system. 

After this, the worm will pump the blood into their head area, hence, the worm’s odd movement. The important key is to keep the worm’s skin moist to live.

Can Worms Breathe Underwater?

One insight given is that worms need to stay wet for them to breathe. Worms and earthworms need to remain wet for them to breathe and live. So if worms need to stay wet all the time, can they live underwater? 

Worms and earthworms can survive underwater. The skin of worms and earthworms can survive underwater because they can absorb oxygen in the water. However, worms and earthworms cannot stay in the water for too long. 

They can breathe underwater for several weeks. At this time, they will use this time to get out of the water. If worms and earthworms cannot get out of the water, they cannot breathe and eventually die. 

Worms do not have limbs and have no way of moving faster. They move oddly, and if they cannot get out of the water soon enough, they might drown and die in the water. S

So yes, worms and earthworms can breathe underwater, but they cannot stay for too long. These worms and earthworms must find a way to escape and get out of the water before it is too late.

Read also other articles about worms’ ears, legs, bones, mouths, and eyes.

How Long Can Worms Hold Their Breath?

If you reside in a rainy area, you might see many worms and earthworms go out when there is rain. Worms and earthworms can live underwater for two weeks. This is because worms and earthworms can survive and absorb oxygen in the water for weeks. 

However, this is only a minimal amount of time. Worms and earthworms move in a prolonged manner. They need to get out of the water soon before they lose that time. 

They can only breathe for two weeks. If the worms are in a small area of water, they can get out. But if they will be stuck in a container with water, with high walls that they cannot climb out of, they can eventually stop breathing and die in the water. 

This is why you can see many worms going into the surface when there is heavy rain in the area. Worms can survive water and rain but not for too long. 

They would resurface to breathe a little easier. So two weeks is the number of times worms and earthworms can hold their breath and be underwater.


In summary, worms and earthworms do breathe like us. Like any other animals, they need oxygen too. They do not have a mouth and nose like some other living things use to live. 

They can breathe through their skin. Their skin has mucus that allows oxygen to penetrate it. This is why worms and earthworms must stay moist all the time. 

If they have dry skin, they will suffocate and cannot breathe. Worms and earthworms also can breathe underwater. But they cannot live there forever. 

Worms and earthworms only have approximately two weeks to get out of the water and stay alive.


Image credits – Canva

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