An earthworm measuring half a metre in length has stunned neighbours after being found in the gutter outside a house.

Li Zhiwei, a worker from the Forestry Bureau of Binchuan County, was putting some dates out to dry in his backyard when he spotted the massive invertebrate.

'It looked like a snake. I looked carefully and found it was actually a huge earthworm.' he said.

He plans to raise the worm at his house.

According to, biologists intend to study the soil-dweller to determine its classification and understand why it has been able to grow so long in a built-up area.