Kara's Leech

Kara became a food source on today's bushwalk.

She was not impressed that my first instinct was to photograph it rather than attempt removal.

View all photos taken: Sunday, 9th March 2008, This photo: 1:09pm


  • Xenedis said:
    I'll bet. Yuck.

    How do you remove these things?
  • ronnietan15 said:
    oh yuck, do you have an after shot?

    i hear salt does the trick
  • David de Groot said:
    You have three choices...
    1) wait for it to have it's fill and it'll drop off by itself.
    2) use a match or lighter (not recommended as you're likely to burn the victim as well as the leech)
    3) sprinkle some salt on them (this is what we did when we got back to the car).
  • David de Groot said:
    Nah, didn't think of that - was trying to be the caring Dad by then ;-)
  • ronnietan15 said:
    if only i wast here to take the shot :P did it bleed long afterwards?

    just reading through wiki, it says that using salt the leech vomits back into the wound :S and that the best method is to wedge it off
  • Xenedis said:
    Sounds unpleasant.

    I bet Kara wasn't amused. She might have thought that her predicament sucked.
  • David de Groot said:
    Well it wasn't budging with the keys, so salt it was, given I had nothing else. Yes, it bled for about 1/2 hour or so, but only a small amount. I had Kara compress the wound with a tissue which helped a fair bit.
    It's not like it gushes out or anything.
  • David de Groot said:
    *groan* Oh I'm sure she did.
  • yewenyi (文意) said:
    Ha! only one, nothing to complain about.

    Seen on your photo stream. (?)
  • maasha said:
    I heard about this girl who dived into a pool that was not to be dived into because the pond was stale and full of leeches. This girl was covered in leeches when she emerged (hundreds) and had to go to hospital because they were in places unspoken ...
  • David de Groot said:
    True, but try telling that to a 13 year old girl!

    Yeah, lots of leaches would be bad, and I don't even want to consider them in those places...
  • apurdam (Andrew) said:
    You missed method number four, just grab near the head (once you've worked out which end that is) and pull the sucker off. Might tear a tiny bit of tissue (about the size of a leech's mouth), but it's gonna bleed anyway.
    All over and done with in about a second.
  • David de Groot said:
    Ah, I thought there was another way, but couldn't remember it. Mind you, they're slippery little blighters so I don't know if I'd have been able to grip it enough to yank it off.
  • petepothole said:
  • David de Groot said:
    Well I knew it wasn't coming off until we got back to the car, so I wasn't worried ;-)
  • The Sage of Shadowdale said:
    I keep a Swiss Army knife in my camera bag (primarily for the flat head screwdriver for a tripod quick-release plate). I would have just slid the blade between the leech & the skin and sort of "sliced" it off. Done it before on myself - no pain, quick, easy; as long as it's easily accessible and the skin is flat there. Yes, it bleeds a little but no more than any other method. Just my 2c.
    Accessed through FlickrFox. (?)
  • David de Groot said:
    I keep a pocket knife in my camera bag (it's handy) but I'm not sure I'd put the blade near an open wound, I know where it's been ;-)
  • maasha said:
    There is a consensus on leech removal where you squeeze with a fingernail next to the leech head and gently apply increasing pressure to the leech head until the leech releases. You should not yank or pry a leech loose - that gives a open wound that might get infected - along with a scar.

    I am surprised that aussies apparently don't know their homework. Do you know what to do if hit by:

    A snake?
    A stinger?
    A bush driver?
  • yewenyi (文意) said:
    it's a good medeival cure, the leech. ;-)
  • David de Groot said:
    Well I know that you just don't yank them off. I was always taught salt was the go, and in fact that's in line with the Victorian Posions Information Centre, however in today's environment of blood borne diseases, it may no longer be the best way to remove a leech.

    Snakes, one would usually tightly wrap the wound from the would upwards (if on a limb) or at least around the wound on either side for a torso bite. Splint if possible and avoid having the patient move unnecessarily.

    Stinger - well we were always told vinegar was the go to relieve the sting, and seek medical help as soon as possible if it's anything worse than a bluebottle.

    A bush driver ? as in someone that drives in the bush ? I wouldn't have thought it have been any different than any other car related accident.

  • Panorama Paul said:
    Ooh, that couldn't have been much fun... maybe someone should have taken a photo of Kara's face while you were trying to remove this sucker... I could imagine that her expression was one of horror?
  • David de Groot said:
    The horror had passed by then, she was just glad to have it off. Mind you, the look on her face when she found it would have been worth capturing (but I missed it).
  • maasha said:
    Bush drivers are found out west where distance is not measured in miles or kilometers, but rather in how many beers you consume getting from point A to point B ...

    At least that's what I have been told.

  • David de Groot said:
    Ah, one of my ex-bosses used to be one of those.
  • -spam- said:
    At least it was a leech and not a tick...

    Still think we were pretty lucky not to end up with any of either on us that day with the POTN meet at your place.
  • David de Groot said:
    Yeah, I'd forgotten the first aid kit so a tick would have had to have waited until we got home.

    As for the meet out here, I think someone did have a tick on their trousers didn't they ? or was I thinking of a flickr meet out here...?
  • -spam- said:
    Might have been the flickr meet, but i wasnt there for that. Greg, Andrew and myself all got home pretty much insect free (apart from mozzie bites)
  • The Sage of Shadowdale said:
    ah, ticks are easy too thanks to my handy dandy Swiss Army knife. Go go Gadget tweezers! ;-)

    And if you just let them get fat enough you can put them off with your fingers without breaking them. Of course, letting them get fat enough kind of makes you sick/itchy as hell...
    Seen in my recent comments. (?)
  • David de Groot said:
    Ah, yes, it was Martin - I remember 'cause he took it out onto the veranda and preceded to try to photograph it.

    I tend to spray them with a mix of metho and tea tree oil. They usually disengage enough to cleanly pull them off with tweezers then.
  • Margot- said:
    Yikes! This is like in the movies. I've never seen a leech in person and I think I would have done the same thing -- reach for the camera first. (o^^o) I hope it wasn't painful.
  • David de Groot said:
    Completely painless Margot - leeches secrete a mild local pain killer and an anti-coagulant allowing them to gorge themselves with minimal effort and little chance of discovery. They are however wet and slimy, so you stand a chance of discovering them that way.
  • The Central Scrutiniser said:
    i always just pull them off. works perfectly well.
  • kjbeath said:
    A dab of insect repellent works very fast.