A rising variety of persons are conserving big leeches as pets, and letting the bloodsucking parasites feed on their blood for sustenance.
The breed of selection is the buffalo leech (Hirudinaria manillensis), which hails from southeast Asia and may develop as much as two ft lengthy.
Breeders suggest the creatures feed each three to 6 months, although some species can go a yr between feedings.
Homeowners share photos and tales about these unique creatures on-line, utilizing hashtags like #petleeches and #leechesofinstagram.
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A rising variety of persons are adopting big leeches as pets and letting them feed on their blood for sustenance
On Instagram, one girl posted a photograph of her leech treating her arm like a lunch buffet.
‘This glutton obtained so full she would not maintain herself up, so I needed to do it,’ she wrote in an accompanying caption. ‘It is so odd to carry a squishy sausage filled with my very own recent blood.’
Instagram consumer ‘freshwatercactus’ posted a collage displaying her leech, ‘Dave,’ swell up because it gorged on her blood.
‘He grew into a little bit bratwurst and fed for an hour-and-a-half,’ she wrote.
Breeders suggest the creatures feed each three to 6 months, although some species can go a yr between feedings
Buffalo leeches are among the many bigger of the 600 identified species of leeches and may drink as much as ten occasions their weight in blood in a single feeding. Instagram consumer ‘freshwatercactus’ posted a collage (pictured) displaying her leech, ‘Dave,’ swell up because it gorged on her blood. ‘He grew into a little bit bratwurst and fed for an hour-and-a-half,’ she wrote
Ariane Khomjani, a therapist close to San Francisco, retains 4 buffalo leeches as pets and lets them feed as soon as a month.
‘As soon as they get feeding you do not even really feel it, even with the big buffalo leeches,’ he informed ScienceAlert.
Khomjani, who additionally owns a 5 foot anaconda and a carnivorous centipede, lets the bloodsuckers slither freely round his room,
Buffalo leeches are among the many bigger of the 600 identified species of leeches—in a single feeding they’ll drink as much as ten occasions their weight in blood and swell up greater than a foot longer.
Khomjan says every of his ‘youngsters’—Laera, Liidra, Lykra and Lars— have their very own distinct persona.
‘Some wish to attempt to sneak a feed extra usually than others, haha! However as soon as they’re full, they’re content material to sit down and relaxation for a bit out of water if dealt with gently,’ he mentioned.
One other proprietor, who goes by the identify of ‘leechscapades’ on Instagram, mentioned their two leeches have develop into romantically hooked up.
‘Jane and Adelaide did the Spider-Man kiss at this time,’ they wrote on Instagram. ‘I awakened and Jane was hanging the other way up from the flower pot and kissing Adelaide passionately. It was lovely.’
Except for their uncommon food regimen, Khomjani insists having a leech is not that completely different from having a cat or canine.
Leeches can go a yr between feedings however breeders suggest letting them sup as soon as each three or 4 months
Buffalo leeches are hermaphroditic and reciprocal fertilization is feasible in the event that they mate going through head-to-tail
Whereas conserving them as pets is a comparatively new pattern, leeches have been utilized in medication for 1000’s of years, relationship again to the traditional Egyptians
‘Persons are solely afraid of what they do not perceive,’ he informed The Sun.
Nicely, there’s not less than one different distinction: Buffalo leeches are hermaphroditic, possessing each female and male reproductive organs, and reciprocal fertilization is feasible in the event that they mate going through head-to-tail.
Whereas conserving them as pets is a comparatively new pattern, leeches have been utilized in medication for 1000’s of years, relationship again to the traditional Egyptians.
Prior to now, medical doctors believed that ‘bloodletting’ — utilizing the parasites to suck ‘extra’ blood out of their sufferers — would purify the physique.
There are some 600 identified species of leeches, and the buffalo leech (Hirudinaria manillensis) is among the many largest
They have been utilized to deal with a spread of maladies, together with boils, cysts, tootaches, complications, eye problems and even psychological sickness.
To deal with tonsillitis, a leech could be tied to a thread and lowered right into a affected person’s throat till it hooked up to the swollen glands.
Leeches are nonetheless used at this time, albeit in a way more restricted approach: The parasite’s saliva accommodates an anticoagulant that may assist forestall veins from clogging with blood after reattachment operations, pores and skin grafts and reconstructive surgical procedures.
Anecdotally, some folks declare they’ll additionally assist with circulatory issues, arthritis, even clear up your complexion.
In 2004, The Meals and Drug Administration authorized the usage of leeches as ‘medical units’ to stop venous congestion after surgical procedure.
‘Although the usage of leeches can forestall tissue loss of life and promote therapeutic in choose instances, sufferers and households are sometimes uneasy with the idea,’ mentioned Rod Rezaee, a surgeon at University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.
‘Nonetheless, once we overtly talk with them about our objectives and the explanations for the remedy, most sufferers perceive and are accepting of the therapy.’