The Worm

The life of a worm is not easy or glamorous. The hours are long, the office is dark and the pay is, well, dirt cheap. But before you start thinking they’re repulsive, remember that some worms are actually very useful. Worms turn garbage into the best fertiliser on the planet, and leech are once again being prescribed by doctors.

Produced by NHNZ

The life of a worm is not easy or glamorous. The hours are long, the office is dark and the pay is, well, dirt cheap. Blind and defenceless, worms are picked on by just about everybody. But before you start squishing everything squelchy on the planet because you think they’re repulsive, remember that some worms are actually very useful.

Worms eat their own weight in organic matter each day, and thanks to the their digestive system, what comes out the other end is full of concentrated minerals essential for plant growth. Basically, worms turn garbage into the best fertiliser on the planet.

Long before laughter was the best medicine, leeches filled the role nicely because back then people thought that diseases were caused by “evil vapours”. Leeches were supposed to suck out the disease along with the blood, and so could cure everything from headaches to constipation. And the twist in the tail of this worm is that today, doctors are once again prescribing a leech or two for their patients.

From demonic possession to “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, we love to scare ourselves with the thought of having our bodies invaded. There are over 20 species of worm that are quite at home inside the human body. Our modern clean-living lifestyles mean most of us no longer have parasitic worms. But instead of this making us healthier, new diseases are springing up. Many of these involve our own immune systems attacking us. Could there be a connection between these new diseases and our lack of worms?

So is it time we gave our attitudes towards worms a good shake-up? We’ve always treated them rough, but it seems the worm is about to turn…

Episodes From This Series

The Cow

30 mins / 2001

The Bee

30 mins / 2001

The Shark

30 mins / 2001

The Whale

30 mins / 2001

The Parrot

30 mins / 2001

The Fish

30 mins / 2001

The Butterfly

30 mins / 2001

The Ram

30 mins / 2001

The Dog

30 mins / 2001

The Cat

30 mins / 2001

The Worm

30 mins / 2001

Who was the Real Lord of the Flies

2 Minutes / 2007

The Goldfish and the Emperor

2 Minutes / 2007

How a Moth Saved the Queen of England

2 Minutes / 2007

Dracula Was A Little Batty

3 Minutes / 2007

Are Butterflies the Messengers of the Gods

2 Minutes / 2007