Borneo, Danum Valley – On Leeches

A species that probably occupy a significant place in most visitors’ accounts (“They were everywhere!” ” They got into my socks!” “It was impossible to get rid of them!” “I was bleeding for two hours!!!”) Undoubtedly, tiger leeches can provide you with some unforgettable memories.

And they seem to be everywhere. Crawling on the ground or hanging limply on leaves, until they get a sniff of your nice, sweaty odor, then  they start waving and moving around excitedly.

a tiger leech gets excited

When they latch onto you, they race up your boots and pants like catepillars on anabolic steroids, covering the distance from your ankle to your armpit in probably less than 30 seconds – or they inevitably find that tiny hole in your pants that you forgot to cover up with duct-tape.

While during the first few days we managed to collect a dozen of them at any given time, after a week without rain their number dropped considerably and we survived our walks with only one or two attacks. By that time we got kind of used to them anyway, and their presence was only a mild irritation and they were dealt with an absentminded flick. (Also, as we would point it out – a leech is sooo much better than a mosqito,  since it does not spread malaria, or Dengue fever or any other nasty disease.)


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