Friday, November 14, 2008

And Beaten with a Rooping Iron

Let's talk about Worm Grunting, because it's completely awesome. You go into the woods, drive a stake into the ground, and then beat it with a rooping iron, which drives worms all around up to the surface. That, my friends, is worm grunting, and you do it to pick up bait before going fishing.

It's really more of a rubbing motion with the rooping iron (a special piece of metal), but Vanderbilt University Researchers wanted to know why some hillbillies with sticks (excuse me, "Apalachicola residents who have collected decades of experience with subsistence living") were able to get such dramatic results. It turns out that the answer is moles.

A digging mole can eat up to its own weight in worms in a single day, and it sounds a lot like a worm grunter. To escape from a mole, earthworms will dig to the surface and wriggle as far away from the sound as they can before returning to the earth. Worm grunters take advantage of this fact by scaring the worms to the surface.

I for one, think that we should be thanking these earthworms for their noble contributions to society, not only as bait, but for the addition of new words into the English lexicon including "worm grunting" and "rooping iron." I know I'm going to try to use them in a sentence, at least once a day.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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