We found this interesting infographic “How to remove a leech” on the Art of manliness website and we just had to share it with you.
How to Remove a Leech
- Don’t panic. Leeches don’t transmit diseases and aren’t poisonous. In fact, it’s more harmful to remove them the wrong way than simply let them do their business.
- If you find one leech, check for others. They release an anesthetic so their bites are painless; where there’s one, there’s likely more.
- If you can stomach it, wait for the leech to finish its meal and detach naturally, which takes about 20 minutes.
- Otherwise, use a flat-edged tool like a credit card or your fingernail to carefully press the leech’s narrow head to the side until it detaches from your skin.
- Flick it off quickly; once the leech is detached, it will try to re-attach to your skin.
- Treat as needed. Leeches inject the wound with an anticoagulant. Wash and bandage the area, and be prepared to change them regularly for up to a couple days. If it bleeds beyond that, see a doctor.
There a couple more facts about leeches that maybe you didn’t know.
- They don’t all suck blood – actually very few of them are interested in feeding on human blood.
- They make good bait – every fisherman will know this trick.
- They can get pretty big – The giant Amazon leech can grow up to 18 inches and live for 20 years.
- Leech scientists use themselves as bait – obviously, the best way to learn about a species is to let them suck your blood :).
- Some species make surprisingly caring parents – They’ll lay the eggs, cover them with their bodies, and fan the eggs to prevent fungus or bacteria from getting on them, and then when the eggs hatch, they will attach to the parent
- They’re everywhere – Every continent on the planet has leeches, with the exception of Antarctica, and even then there are marine leeches in Antarctic waters.
- They’ve made a comeback in medicine – Today, surgeons keep them on hand in the operating room and use them as mini-vacuums to clean up blood.
- You might be the next to discover a new species – Scientists are aware of about 700 different species, but they know there are many more out there.
You may also want to check our post about other outdoor skills.