Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I've Got Leeches on My Ankles

I went bushwalking in Garigal National Park yesterday. I was on a seldom used trail, clearly, going through some thick stuff. This photo, of a termite nest - the big openings indicating it's been used as a kookaburra nest - gives you an idea:

Here's a cicada butt. (Click to enlarge cicada butt):

At one point I unfortunately knocked over a small burnt-out stump, and released some angry ants, one of which bit me on my sandaled foot. Ow. I went to check my foot, and found leeches stuck into me, in between my toes and on my foot and leg. Leeches! I didn't even step in any water!

Here's a short video of the aftermath of their bloody attack, and the pulled-off leeches (which then stuck to my thumbs, needing removing once again) coming after me for more:

And here's a good closeup of a leech I found on my neck about a half-hour later:

They appear to be Australian Land Leeches. (Yay!)

One of the most hated creatures of the Australian bush is the blood-sucking Australian Land Leech (Gnatbobdellida libbata). Although most species of leech are found in aquatic environments, this one has adapted to life in the moist rainforests [editor's note: nobody told me that!] and wet eucalypt forests of eastern Australia. When conditions are suitable (moist ground conditions), these horrible relatives of the worm come out onto bushwalking and animal tracks and wait for their victims. They do this by ‘standing’ in an upright position, clasping the ground with their posterior sucker, as per the shot on the left.

Once again, and all-around perfect day in Australia.

P.S. Christine says she's alive, well, and, "Hi!"


  1. Accckkkk!!@!!! Ergghhh that is gross and hurty. Posterior suckers indeed!


  2. Wow! Land leaches! I had only heard of them but never seen them or knew anyone who had. You are now in a select group. I suggest you make a T-shirt: Give Blood. Walk in Garigal National Park.

  3. Walking in the bushes~Down here in Oz
    No special reason~Just because
    Wish I had some bandaids and 10 feet of gauze
    I got land leaches all over my ankles
    I'm looking like I stepped on a bunch of tacks
    But lunch is calling and I've gotta get back
    At least I got a video of one on my pack
    That's the way the world goes round~(upside down)

    That's the way....

  4. Yes, posterior suckers. back home we call them ass kissers.

    Gene: Hilarious. Both times. Sing that one back home for me!

  5. On your fucking neck!!!!! Gah! That's nasty. Nasty.