How to Feed a Large Worm to a Small Newt
AKA, What do they mean by "chopped nightcrawlers?"
By Pin-Pin Wei
Not to worry, here is a step-by-step of reducing a gigantic nightcrawler (worm) into edible bites for your little caudate.
Step 1: Gather this equipment: Chopping plate, small toothpicks, razor, tweezers, and of course, worms.
Step 2: Take Mr. Worm out, and measure out a length that you need. While it is best to chop up the entire worm at once (to prevent further suffering), if you don't have enough animals to feed the entire worm to, you can chop off the tail end. Chopping must be done quickly and with as sharp of an instrument as possible to prevent excessive worm torture/escape.
Step 3: Put rest of Mr. Worm back into the worm container (Make sure you put the lid on!) Worms will survive up until there is only 1 inch left of the head. The "head" is the end closest to the clitellum (a thicker and sometimes darker colored part of the worm).
Step 4: The worm often emits dirt and mucous or a "slime" material which makes it hard for many animals to eat. I like to wipe the section with a piece of tissue before proceeding to chop it up into edible sizes.
Step 5: Chop quickly into bite-size pieces and spear onto a toothpick. Voila! Dinner on a stick.
Here, a Taricha torosa enjoys a piece of worm (larger than the pieces shown above).
Of course, you don't have to limit nightcrawlers to just caudates. Lizards, for example, enjoy a break from the daily cricket routine as well. Nightcrawlers provide the essential protein and moisture necessary to keep your caudate/lizard happy and er, happy.
© Pin-Pin Wei, September 2004