Earthworms rain down on Norway, scientists puzzled

By Amy R. Connolly
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BERGEN, Norway, April 18 (UPI) -- Cats and dogs have nothing on this one.

Thousands of earthworms rained down on parts of Norway, leaving scientist baffled by the appearance of the slimy invertebrates on snow-covered grounds.


Biology teacher Karstein Erstad made the discovery as he was skiing in the mountains outside the coastal city of Bergen. At first he thought they crawled atop the snow from the ground beneath, but then realized the snow was too deep.

"When I found them on the snow they seemed to be dead, but when I put them in my hand I found that they were alive," he said. "In many places, the snow thickness was between half a meter and a meter (1 1/2 feet to 3 feet) and I think they would have problems crawling through the cold snow."

Erstad took a sample to Trond Haraldsen, an environmental expert at the Bioforsk research institute in Norway.

"This is a phenomenon we know from the literature, but it is the first time in my time as a scientist that I have got the message that it has happened on the snow, "Haralsen told the Bergens Tidende.


Since the incident, reports have come in from other areas of the country as far away as the Swedish border. Experts suggest the worms may have been lifted into the air by a weather system and blown miles from their original location.

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