back to article Earthworm blamed for laptop crash

When Mark Taylor's laptop computer crashed, he thought a computer worm might be the cause. Attempted repairs revealed that he was quite right, though not in the way he suspected. A five-inch earthworm had crawled into the laptop through an air vent before getting up in the internal fan, jamming the operation and killing itself …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. M


    Further reports name the Earthworm as 'Jim', who was in pursuit of his 'Ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit' which he thought was the laptop.

  2. dervheid

    Let me be the third person...

    to welcome our New Earthworm Underlords, sorry, Overlords!

  3. Andy ORourke

    Obviously wouldnt have happened

    if he had been using Linux / Unix / OSX / Whatever

  4. Stephen Jones


    I had a video card fan a gecko got inside here in Sri Lanka.

  5. Richard


    "Taylor, 45, from Yeovil, Somerset, reckons one of his two pet cats brought the invertebrate inside from his garden."

    If he owns a cat, he deserves to have his laptop melt.

  6. Jaap Stoel

    That reminds me

    The first actual case of a bug was caused by a moth getting squished between the relais of one of the first supercomputers.

  7. Aaron

    Re: Grr

    "If he owns a cat, he deserves to have his laptop melt."

    At a party, this would be the sign for me to stand up and back away slowly whilst carefully avoiding any sudden movements. However, as I'm not within range of any physical harm that might result from mishandling such obvious insanity, I confess I'm curious: Richard, what's your problem with cats?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Poker Face

    I'll take that Worm and raise

  9. Les

    Latest phase in the feline war against computers

    They've moved on from keyboard sitting to more serious forms of sabotage...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foreign objects abound

    Whilst I won't deny the wonderful irony of having an actual worm infect a computer, I also fondly recall a story a friend of mine told me a while back. Many years ago, immediately after purchasing a brand new top of the range 486, it began to suffer problems and rapidly died. The offending box was sent of for a bit of light spanner work, whereupon the technician involved found that the problem was caused by a single slice of hamburger cheese draped neatly across the motherboard. Given that no vent holes were large enough to accommodate an entire slice of cheese, the only conclusion they could draw was that it had been included as an optional extra by the manufacturer.

  11. Dave Jones

    So after the "real bug", and the "real worm"

    God help the person who gets a "real Trojan".

  12. Dave Jones

    Actually it's more likely than I thought....

    Over here in Merkinland, a Trojan is a condom. Getting a "real Trojan" in your machine might be an interesting experience.

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Why so defensive, cat boy?

    (the flame proof one)

  14. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Aaron

    Yeah. Cats don't need your help. They would sneer at your weakness. And then slash you across the face with their evil claws.

    Cats are not organic, everyone knows that. They are the reincarnation of the souls hell could not stomach, contained in a sort of android exoskeleton and that.

  15. James Loughner


    Long ago I once had a mouse build a nest in my Altair computer. She shorted the bus by her pee. Altair's had no fans.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Cat haters?

    Wow a lot of cat haters today. I'm willing to grant you cats may be evil. But dogs are just dumb. So which would you rather have? A cunning evil cat? Or a four legged GW Bush?

  17. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Cat haters?

    Don't be daft. My dog is at least as smart as Sarah Palin.

    (Really, though, if you think dogs are 'just dumb' I believe you may be interested in this rather fetching bit of Florida swampland I have to sell.)

  18. A J Stiles


    My kitten (he has not yet earned his stripes by despatching a vertebrate) brings in earthworms from time to time. On one memorable occasion, he even deposited three pieces of worm in my bed while I was asleep. Nobody should ever have to roll over onto *that*.

    Perhaps he has a cunning plan to catch birds by climbing up a tree and sitting there with baited breath .....

  19. J

    Re: Re: Cat haters?

    "My dog is at least as smart as Sarah Palin."

    Obvious comments on unfairness of comparison (to animals in general) forthcoming...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a Cat lover here

    They are great with Teriyaki sauce .

  21. Robert Heffernan

    More Fun With Animals!

    I was once called out to look at a PC that made a rather nasty crack sound, let out some of the magic blue smoke, and promptly died.

    I pulled the case off the machine and promptly discovered the cooked remains of a mouse that had climbed up on to the internal modem card and decided to take a wizz all over the high-voltage line section of the card.

    Surprisingly, after removing the modem (and mouse obviously), the PC booted and ran as normal!

    *Flames, for obvious reasons!

  22. Alan Esworthy

    Dogs. Cats.

    Dogs are ideally suited for those who cannot get love and respect any other way.

    Cats are best for those secure in their maturity and merely desire the occasional surprising diversion. And cleaning up hair balls.

    Flame away!

  23. Anonymous Coward



    First - I would agree with you that Sarah Palin might be as smart as my dog - but the comment about a four-legged GW Bush by the AC was hitting below the belt. What did a dog - or cat! - do that so bad as to be compared to GW.

    Second - Have you priced Florida land recently? It would take the complete state's value just to buy a cup of Star$s. I suggest selling something more valuable - like New Jersey. Heck it is only a toxic waste dump. There is at least SOME hope for that land.

    Pirates - cause that all that them live in FloRRRRida

  24. Alex King

    A Gateway????

    Didn't they go bust years ago? The worm could have chosen a much newer/more expensive laptop to destroy - that would have been much more amusing.

  25. Darren Hutchinson


    I once noticed a line of ants leading up to my Sun keyboard. I picked it up to look for food crumbs and didn't find any.

    When I disassembled the keyboard I did find a newly constructed ant nest (complete with queen)! I guess they were just after a warm dark place.

  26. Neoc

    Cats vs Dogs

    Dog: "They feed me, they play with me, they keep the place warm. They must be God"

    Cat: "They feed me, they play with me, they keep the place warm. I must be God".

    I have shared my life (and toys) with both Cats and Dogs. Overall, I'd say the intelligence is the same, but cats got all the wisdom. And the old adage of "you own a dog, a cat owns you" is oh-so-true.

    Having lived with both, I would now take a cat over a dog any day - for one thing, cats look after themselves for most of the time. ^_^

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just eww. I do not want to see chopped and cooked earthworms.

    One of my cats once brought in a slug. Stuck in his fur. He's very good at sleeping, not so good at noticing things.

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Worms, snakes, ants... destroying computers? Perhaps Mother Nature is trying to tell us something?

    Mine is the one with a copy of The Swarm in the pocket, and Day of the Triffids in the other.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Not the first one to find a bug in a computer...

    The first was, as almost always when we are dealing with a computer, Admiral Saint Grace Hopper, when doing maintanance on a Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    @ Alex King

    Gateway still exists as a brand name, owned by Acer (?) and sold, mainly in the UK, to this very day.

    Although I think there was an article the other day which said Gateway was coming back to the UK.

  31. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Cats vs Dogs

    I think maybe you just never met the right dog.

    Cat and dog intelligence isn't really comparable in the end - it's very different. Cats just don't need some kinds of intelligence because of the refinement of their killing-machine bodies and their indepedence; dogs are pack animals and have greater social intelligence which is why we can relate to them as we do. Etc.

    I admire cats, but they remind me too much of the kind of people who are nice enough to your face but wouldn't actually give half a flying fuck if you were brutally murdered in your bed. It's in their biology not to give a shit about you - it's not their fault.

  32. Alan Fisher

    oh noooo not cats & dogs again...

    People feel the need to fight over which kind of pet is better need to get some perspective....either that or they have self esteem issues ;-p why project on your animals? I've had a variety of different pets; a fish or two, a parrot, a gerbil, a couple of cats (at different times) and now a dog (though i've had dogs in the past) so what does that make me?

  33. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: oh noooo not cats & dogs again...

    >I've had a variety of different pets; a fish or two, a parrot, a gerbil, a couple of cats (at different times) and now a dog (though i've had dogs in the past) so what does that make me?

    A bit smelly?

    It's true, one thing doesn't have to be crap for something else to be good. It's an entirely immature and needless polarisation.

    (But dogs are still better.)

  34. dervheid

    "My dog is at least as smart as Sarah Palin."

    But then again so is an amoeba!

    I'm sure your dog is smarter than that!

  35. Alan Fisher

    @sarah bee

    Oooh Miss Bee, you ARE sharp today! lol

    I am very well-scented thank you; well most of the time anyway......ah...I think...errrr

    I do prefer dogs too (though my current one is nuttier than a squirrel's poo) I find them much more entertaining and amusing than cats could ever be!

    But no, I see no one species as the better one lol as you said very well earlier on, it's an evolutionary thing; dogs we have as pets are subservient and do not much thinking because they see their owners as the alpha male/female and therefore indisputably in charge (a left over from their wolf days)....I'll be honest, dog being happy to have you in charge is much, much better than dog who wants to be in charge...the papers are full of them....

  36. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @sarah bee

    Actually the reason a lot of dogs are stressed/aggressive or otherwise fucked up is that they think they're obliged to lead the pack, because we don't send them the right signals to let them know everything's under control. It's like the admin monkey suddenly being plonked in the CEO's chair and left to get on with it. So they freak out in various ways.

    But I am a dog nerd, it's true. And nutty dogs are always a tonic, aren't they.

  37. David Nunn

    Earthworm? Laptop? pfft...

    Do on image search on "red bellied black snake computer" and you'll find a corker over at We do it proper hard out here in the colonies, you know...

  38. Lukin Brewer


    How about the case of the printer (as reported in "Computer Wimp" by Robert? Bear) which wouldn't stop doublespacing (yes, this does date it). The cause was eventually found to be a banana slug that had crawled into the printer and died in some horrible way, shorting out some electronics and causing the double spacing error. "For once the engineer's lament - 'I ain't never seen that before' might be fully justified."

    I can confirm that I have disassembled a PC and found a (small) dried-out slug in it. I also found one containing a very much alive earwig wedged in a gap between the welded parts. The surprising thing is that, in spite of the number of spiders that I *know* are inhabiting the house with me, not one has come to grief in any piece of equipment so far.

  39. Chris Fleming


    Yip, had the same. Customer complained some keys were not working... Amazing what formic acid can do to ribbon cables. So many ants in there.

    Can of Black Flag in the pocket

  40. Ed

    Cats & Dogs

    Cats Have Servants

    Dogs Have Friends

    I Dont Hate Cats But Give Me A Dog Any Day

  41. Pierre

    C'mon, cats are all the fun.

    Anyone for a footcat game?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I've often said that cats will only stay with humans until someone invents a paw-operated can opener!

This topic is closed for new posts.