How to Remove a Japanese Mountain Leech

This video describes a simple procedure for removing leeches from the body. The idea is to break the mouth and sucker suction which the leech uses to hold on to the skin. This can be done fairly easily be simply slipping a fingernail between the skin and the mouth and again between the skin and the posterior sucker (or vice versa). This procedure has some advantages over other methods such as the use of salt, soy sauce or heat as no tools are required and most importantly it avoids causing the leech much trauma, which could induce the animal to regurgitate into the wound and possibly transmit parasites or infections into the host animals body. I have used this method several times since learning about it from a YouTube viewer and it seems to work very well. I apologize that I cannot remember the name of the viewer who suggested this technique to me, though I would like to extend my thanks if they happen to read this.

This video was shot by eight year old Emily and was filmed in a wet and very narrow canyon deep in the mountains near Shizuoka City, Japan. In the video I commented that the leech had not yet had a chance to bite me; however, I soon discovered that I was wrong as the wound began to bleed. Interestingly though, the blood did clot rather quickly which leads me to think that the leech had, in fact, only recently become attached and had not yet had a chance to inject very much anticoagulant. This was one of two leeches which managed to climb onto me during this particular hike though Emily spotted the second on my shoe before it could get to the skin. Fortunately neither Emily or Yumiko were leech victims on this hike.


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~ by softypapa on July 12, 2009.

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