Earthworms breathe by passing oxygen and carbon dioxide through their skin. For the oxygen to get through the skin and into the worms' bloodstream properly, there needs to be some moisture on the skin, so the worms produce mucus to keep them moist and slimy.
Just so, why do earthworms die if they dry out?
In fact, they come to the surface during rains (especially in the spring) so they can move overland. The temporarily wet conditions give worms a chance to move safely to new places. Since worms breathe through their skin, the skin must stay wet in order for the oxygen to pass through it.
Do worms prefer wet or dry?
Soil Condition. Because earthworms breathe through their skin, it must be kept moist in order to work. Dry skin stops the diffusion process, effectively preventing earthworms from getting oxygen. That is why worms are so commonly spotted above ground when it is rainy and at night, when air is wetter.
Do worms like lots of water?
But after a rain, the soil pores and the worm burrows fill with water. Oxygen diffuses about a thousand times slower through water than through air, she says. “The worms can't get enough oxygen when the soil is flooded, so they come to the surface to breathe.”