09/06/2012 05:31 pm ET

Li Zhiwei Finds 19-Inch Earthworm, Decides To Keep It As Pet

Earthworms aren't the cuddliest creatures, but this one has managed to wiggle its way into the affections of a forestry worker in Southwest China.

This, despite it being a whopping 19 inches long.

Li Zhiwei found the enormous earthworm in a gutter near his house in Binchuan County, the Metro reported.

"It looked like a snake," Zhiwei said. "I looked carefully and found it was actually a huge earthworm."

Unperturbed by the critter's massive size, Zhiwei has decided to keep the worm in his backyard as a pet, according to WTVR-TV.

No word on whether Zhiwei has given the oversized invertebrate a name, but news about his slimy companion has wormed its way through Binchaun County. Now, scores of people want a peek at the creepy-crawly creature.

The worm has also attracted the interest scientists who want to figure out how it grew so big, the Christian Post reported. Researchers are especially curious because urban environments, like Zhiwei's city, tend to be inhospitable to earthworms.

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