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Leeches


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#1 ONLINE   Mystic

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 09:59 AM

All creatures have a place, but I think most people would prefer a life without bloodsucking leeches.

Most of the places people are likely to explore around Tasmania are moist and perfect environments for these nasty little critters. Luckily I have been fortunate enough not to actually find one sampling the taste of my blood so far, but it is bound to happen.

If you are unfortunate enough to have one attach, most people suggest that salt will make them let go, or a bit of heat, applying a lit cigarette for example, will get rid of the critter. Doi not scratch the bite area no matter how much it itches as this will only make it worse.

The leech in the image below almost got me. I found it attached to my lens cap after kneeling down in the damp moss to take a shot of some mushrooms. Even trying to get it off my lens cap was hard work, but car keys have more uses than one wink.gif

leech.jpg

I never thought I would say this but, after getting back and looking at this thing in  the photo, magnified greatly, they are quite an interesting looking creature.


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#2 OFFLINE   tassiesim

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 01:15 PM

Fantastic Leech shot there , the one I took with you both didnt turn out so good,

also if you pull a leech off it will leave its head in your skin so another reason to let it drop off instead of flick it off

#3 OFFLINE   nineteenineteen

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:07 PM

boo, hiss.

I would also be pleased if leeches were a bit more conservative in their behaviour, and more conventional in their tastes.

I've heard that a spot of pure tea-tree oil on a beastie that is attached to you will also make them drop off. I think this method also works for ticks, but I've never had the pleasure of testing either remedy.

#4 OFFLINE   Shane V

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 03:11 PM

Haven't heard of that remedy Wayne.  Will try it if I get one on me.  

I really like the Shot Anna, Well done.

#5 OFFLINE   Hummingbird291

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 06:51 PM

very good shot anna, I can personally guarantee the salt or heat methods of removal of leeches, (used both in the past), thats what you get for playing around in the scrub in tassie as a kid, lol, also, yes DO NOT SCRATCH the wound left behind, The bite doesnt hurt, its the itchiness afterward that causes the discomfort, for this i recommend using a product like stingose or calamine lotion, there are a lot of home rememdies around for this to, but cant remember the ones that work off hand. The leech is supposed to be good for bringing down your blood pressure to, however how this is supposed to work i have no idea, since most people i have encountered who have a leech attatched seem to be suffering with higher blood pressure than lower smile.gif.

#6 OFFLINE   CoastalCanuck

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 12:13 PM

Maybe our leeches are dramatically anatomically different, but I don't think so, they don't have a 'head' as such... I had a leech on my butt a couple years ago while swimming in a lake. Just pulled it off gently and then put it in a glass of water and watched it swim around for a bit. Most people I know have had a leech on them at one time or another, same thing, just pull it off gently.
The "proper" way is to scrap it off with a fingernail or something. That will break the seal that it uses to hang on and flick it away.

Is it generally not advised to attempt removing a leech by burning with a cigarette; applying mosquito repellent, shampoo, or salt; or pulling at the leech. This can result the leech regurgitating into the wound and causing infection much worse than the leech bite itself.

Ticks as well. They hang on tight and their heads are very small, leading to the myth that their head stays in the bite. Both ticks and leeches often carry all manner of bacteria and parasites, and sometimes can transmit them from host to host. This often makes their bites prone to infection, scratching the bite makes infection more likely.

BTW, Thats a really cool photograph, they are fascinating little buggers really.

#7 OFFLINE   Shane V

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 01:08 PM

Thanks for the info CoastalCanuck.

OK...I have a question.  Does a leech drop off when it has had it's fill???

#8 OFFLINE   CoastalCanuck

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 04:17 PM

Yep. Usually they're 'full' in about 20 minutes. But if it feels warm and safe, it might just 'stick' around longer.  I dunno if you would want to just wait until it falls off on its own though, ewww.  There are leeches that are bred and used for modern medicinal purposes. They are the single best way to get rid of a bruise.

#9 OFFLINE   justcoop

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 04:25 PM

yes they do drop off when they have had there fill and when they do you don't get the itch that you get when they are interupted,but whowever they leave a blood trail behind due to the blood anticoagulateing agent they inject into your blood to make it run freely for them to feed.But the leeche you realy don't want on you is the tiger leeche lots of people tend to be allergic to the little suckers. Like Me.

#10 ONLINE   Mystic

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 04:27 PM

Thanks for all the info. Curious about the tiger leech Coop, is that a black leech with two yellow stripes running the length of it? these are the most common types of leech I had seen previously on the mainland.
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#11 OFFLINE   frank_in_oz

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 09:20 AM

Only two leeches on me last week on the Overland Track.  Still b.....y itchy!!!  btw, great picture
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#12 OFFLINE   justcoop

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 09:03 PM

I think so Anna   if you wish to find some their is quite a lot along the side of the freeway out behind Hagley and around that area (in the gutters along the side of the roads). Just put a hand down in the gutter and they will find you.

#13 OFFLINE   tassiesim

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 06:17 PM

One found me today the little blighter , sucked my blood good and properly, I had been on a photography class with Adult Ed down into Notley Gorge ,
Had the jeans tucked into socks and all bt it must have been on my jeans when i untucked because at the next stop just under half hour my leg was itchy i thought a mozzie bite so i rubbed with other foot and didnt think anything more about it til i felt a trickle of blood going down my leg,
I knew even before i pulled my jeans up what i was going to find and sure enough one very contented leach LOL,
So I am now sporting a rather attractive bandaid on my calf and its rather itchy LOL ......

The photos of the day were worth it :-)

#14 ONLINE   Mystic

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 08:22 PM

Silly Sim. Hasnt anyone told you before that you are not supposed to feed the wildlife?

Glad you had a good day and look forward to seeing the pics.
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