Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blood Suckers

Here in Australia spring is sprung and it's been raining - commence the parade of the blood suckers!

That's a good old Aussie leech!  How big is he?  Well he's climbing a brick wall and he isn't stretched out as much as he could be, but let's give him the finger test.

Not easy to see in this photo. (Tough to be in the photo and taking it at the same time... and I didn't want to touch it), but the base is about the same width as my finger).  He is fully engorged and feel off Merrilyn's heel.

She will bleed for a while, but there will be no lasting damage.  I've had two myself lately, though they don't get to stay as long on me!  Salt is the easy way to get them to fall off - just a sprinkle and they let go and the salt kills them.  They don't really hurt, though a couple of times I have felt them pierce the skin, but they do itch about two days later - a lot!  The best way to stop the itch is to cover them with tape.  The lack of air seems to help.

However leeches aren't Merrilyn's only problem at this point.

This little dark thing, tucked into the fur of Merrilyn's pouch, is a flat fly.  They are a constant companion. The Marsh flies that I captured being taken by a blue-faced honeyeater in Big Boy is Back are also still around.

Here's one on Merrilyn's tail.  And a closer look...

These do hurt and the kangaroos flick their tails to try to dislodge them.  Merrilyn will come near the house if they are in high numbers and allows me to kill them with a fly swat!  The final problem at present is mosquitoes.  My camera wasn't up to the job of capturing them on Merrilyn's moving head, but I did gain a nice shot of her.

And one final shot so that you can sleep easy tonight. This is an Australian native, I don't know its name, but it's just coming into flower and I love it.  Enjoy.


  1. Hi Cheryl! It's nice to see you again! I know you were busy with some stuff, and I ran a 6 week blog challenge and didn't read any blogs til this week!

    How on earth do you wind up with a leech on yourself??!! or did I read that wrong?

  2. Hey Gigi, yes hard to keep up with all the reading, with everything else in our lives.

    Leechs climb on board as I walk around my property. They particularly like damp places and logs, so if you're walking through the bush they just climb onto your shoe. If you don't notice them they squeeze through your socks or climb up your leg and often you don't know they are there. If you're out for some hours you might take your show off and find blood and nothing else. Some of my friends prefer not to visit after rain!

  3. No one warned me about them when I was a kid. After a walk in wet cold rainforest, I was covered in them. I was horrified. They were only small ones, although I fattened them up somewhat.

  4. Had a fine old time in the Blue Mountains once..a bolt of lightning rolled up the valley, my hair stood on end and left a burn mark on my forehead.Seconds after a leech between my toes.An omen? You bet!

  5. Yuck! We have more than our fair share of blood suckers here in Georgia, but the worst is the tick. Do you have much of a problem with them? If we don't have the dogs on a preventative, the outdoor dogs will be covered with the nasty things, especially their ears. One of my least favorite jobs at the vet's office was to have to remove the ticks, one by one, when a neglected dog was brought in!

    As for the leaches, again, YUCK!

  6. I don't know whether to be totally grossed out or completely fascinated. Wow! We had leeches in Idaho where I grew up, but I've not run into them here in Washington. Lots of slugs and skeeters and flies, though. Gorgeous flowers - are they fragrant?

  7. Had a couple of run-ins with blood-sucking leeches (some of the two-legged variety, as well!).

  8. Every environment has it's share of creepy crawleys or bothersome flyers I guess! That leech is ginormous! We would get them in the pond at my in-laws farm but not that big! I'm itchy now...thanks

  9. YUCK!!! (...but interesting!)


What do you think?