Leeches in Lane Cove (the non human ones!!!)

Leeches in Lane Cove

We all love living in Leafy Lane Cove with its access to our beautiful bushland. However hidden in those beautiful bushlands are some little creatures that freak us out – Leeches. In the Cove has had reports of Leeches in Lane Cove.  If you live in a residential area close to bushland be alert.

There are only two known places in the world where leeches live on land  – Australia and South East Asia. Our warmer than normal Summer and Autumn, and the wet start to June, has made the bushlands a paradise for leeches. They will most likely be transported into your house by pets or on your shoes/clothes after you have been out walking.  The Leeches below were spotted in a house near bushland. They love climbing the walls.

leeches in lane cove 4 leeches in lane cove 2

Leeches contain a component in their saliva which prevents blood from clotting and allows them to have their fill before dropping off. This anticoagulant can cause a wound to bleed slightly after the leech has been detached. It’s said a leech can suck up to 10 times its own body weight in blood. Don’t panic if you see a leech.
Most people will not know they have been bitten and the leech will fall off when it has its fill.

Some people actively search out Leeches. Actress Demi Moore travelled all the way to Austria for a “leech detox” and recounted her experience with the “high-level bloodsuckers” during an interview on the Late Show with David Letterman.  We do not suggest you try a Leech dextox at home!!!

If  a Leech attaches to you, there are several home remedies for removal, such as putting salt on the leech, insect repellent or tea tree oil. If however the leech is attached to a sensitive area like the eyeball, go and see a doctor immediately.

Leeches have been used in medicine for centuries (ITC knows we watched the Tudors).  The anticoagulant in their saliva has proven medical benefits and can be used to reduce bruising and prevent clots for those undergoing plastic and reconstructive surgery and are especially helpful in assisting in the reattachment of severed body parts. According to a BBC article,

They are often used today in plastic and reconstructive surgery, because a natural anticoagulant they secrete fights blood clots and restores proper blood flow to inflamed parts of the body.

Thousands of patients owe the successful reattachment of body parts to miraculous technological advances in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

But some of these operations might have failed if leeches had not been reintroduced into the operating room.

The appendages reattached include fingers, hands, toes, legs, ears, noses and nipples following breast reconstructive surgery.

The Australian Museum has a comprehensive article on leeches here.

Have you seen a leech in your house?  What action did you take?

Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]

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