This photograph of Giant Earthworm is real!
Hoax or Fact:
The photograph shared widely online claims to show a Giant Earthworm. Many people thought it was not real, that it is a clever shot of 'perspective'. But surprisingly, this is a true case, the picture in fact shows a real earthworm that is very large.
The photograph (in full) surfaced online in December 2013 when the Facebook page of a non-profit organization 'Amazon 5000 - for the Cure' shared it questioning how large the over-sized earthworms can grow. To a query about the same, they replied saying:
The worm is actually native to the cloud forest area of South America. The high humidity levels create an ideal habitat for these worms that in Kichwa are called "cuica".
Founded in 2011, 'Amazon 5000 - for the Cure' is a 5000 miles expedition along the Amazon River and across South American continent - to raise awareness for the fight against Cancer.
Mickey Grosman is the founder and director of 'Amazon 5000 - for the Cure' who started the year long expedition in 2012. Describing the giant earthworm he found during the expedition, the Israeli Special Forces veteran, Cancer survivor and adventurer calls it the largest Earthworm in the world:
While trekking the mountains of Ecuador's Eastern Andes I've encountered today with the largest Earthworm in the world, native to Cloud-Forest, 4 ft long, that grow up to 8 ft! In Kichwa (Quechuan language native to South America) it is called "cuica".
Many thought the earthworm in question is the Giant Gippsland Earthworm (more about this later) native to Australia, but it not clear and rather appears to be some other species in South America. It is to be noted that there are many species of earthworms and it is difficult to identify the type; more importantly, there are bigger earthworms that are known.
As mentioned above, the Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Megascolides australis) is one species of giant earthworms 3 feet in length usually, but has been seen as long as 9 feet. It is native to the clay soil along streams in Victoria, Australia. Surprisingly, according to TwentyTwoWords.com, the very large sized earthworms take 5 years to mature and live for about 10 years. In Image Gallery, you can see couple of photographs of the Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Megascolides australis). Unfortunately, it is listed as a threatened and endangered species and is protected in some places.
The video shown is a report on these giant earthworms. Since their body is able to expand and contract, the earthworms appear much larger sometimes. These giant earthworms resemble snakes, avoid humans and stay inside damp sub soils of river banks.
To conclude, yes, the photograph in question does show a real, giant-size earthworm found in the forest area of South America. Locally called "cuica," the earthworm species is unidentified as of this writing.