Leeches don’t suck

Far too much has been written on leeches. I don’t mean scientifically. I mean sensationalist scare-mongering. It’s all over the internet. Truth is, leeches really aren’t a big nuisance. I’d take them any day over a tsetse fly (infuriatingly persistent) or a horse-fly (painfully rasps open your skin) or a swarm of sweat bees burrowing into your every orifice. Welcome to Africa, on all accounts.

Best thing of all, leeches don’t spread any (known) diseases. If anyone can tell me why, let us all know. Here’s an animal that seems just a perfect vector – it’s so good at finding (and latching onto) hosts. Is it something about the frequency of bites, or the number of different hosts a given leech bites? Or the mechanics of how it bites? Anyway, it’s a blessing, and means that leeches are certainly no reason to be apprehensive over visiting Borneo’s forests.

For those of you who are interested, here’s what (terrestrial) leeches looks like in Borneo, and what their bites look like afterwards:

Of course the worst aspect of leeches is their uncanny ability to seemingly teleport to any part of your body. And I mean any…

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6 Responses to Leeches don’t suck

  1. nina says:

    It’s the ‘ew’ factor! Or maybe it brings back memories of over-use in early modern medicine.

    • OllieW says:

      There’s nothing more “ew” than a massive, crunchy tsetse fly that refuses to die, even when you stamp on it. The things come back to life zombie-style, cracking their limbs and wings back into shape before flying straight for you again!

      A leech is just a nice squidgie sock of blood.

  2. Chris Wearn says:

    I agree I’d take leeches over mozzies and flies too! You’ll be glad to know we medics have found good use for leeches (hirudo medicinalis)- fantastic for overcongested tissues transferred to another part of the body for reconstruction. Hope the project is going well bro!

  3. Charlie says:

    I’m glad you only showed us the ankle bite! Leech jars are very collectible in the Antiques world fetching some fairly good prices … I bet those Quacks of the past had no idea ..!

  4. TheSeer says:

    There is a forest (in Malaysia) that I know of, that has next to NO leeches. But I am not going to reveal the location, lest the forest be trampled to smithereens 🙂 The sad part is that it’s only a few thousand hectares, and it used to be much bigger, but most got cleared for new houses (the usual). Imagine a rainforest WITHOUT leeches. How is that? And although secondary, it is still very beautiful within. Imagine how it was like before the human (earth virus) came along…..

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