Wednesday, 30 March 2011


One of the frequent asked questions by travelers before they trek with us in Borneo (especially ladies) is, 'Is there any leech around?', 'I heard there is a lot of leeches...'

Tiger Leech

I'm here to tell you that, Yes, there are leeches in Borneo!!! But, will leech stop you from exploring the exotic Borneo? I don't know about what you think, but most of the travelers we met, they are all ready to put the small tiny annelids away and explore the oldest rain forest, third largest island in the world - Borneo, with us. For those who is still doubt of it, the good news is, there are trails which is leech-free!!! **phew 

I'm going to share ways with you how to get rid of leeches. Note this, it is going to be useful if you are planning to do a lot of trekking in Borneo.

The easiest way you can get a leech off of your skin is to use a knife or hold the leech with your fingers and slide it (knife or fingernail) underneath the leech and flick it away. 
If you don't feel like scraping the leech off then you can wait a while and the leech will fall off on its own for digestion. I personally think that this is a highly disgusting walking around with leeches, but it is quite a decent method. 

I usually just burn the leeches off because it is the fastest method. But there are articles on the web saying that it is not safe. Anyway, I never heard of people get sicked or infected by leeches, so, I choose to ignore it. :p I won't let the leech hang on to me until it is full UNLESS I didn't notice them. But some people think that leeches sucks blood like mosquito, so they will just leave it there until the next rest stop and get rid of it.

"Common leech" - Hirudinaria

Here are some facts about leeches.
  1. There are 650 known species of leech, luckily we only have few of them here in Malaysia.
  2. Leeches have 32 brains.
  3. They can sustain up to 6 months after 1 feed.
  4. The leech can gorge up to 5 times its body weight.
  5. Leech can be found on fresh water, terrains and sea. In fact one fifth of the species live in the sea!!!
  6. The bite of leeches is painless due to its own anesthetic, and injects an anti-coagulant serum into the victim to prevent the blood clotting.  
  7. Leech hunt by using their sensory organ to detect vibration and temperature. 
  8. Leeches are now classified as FDA-approved medical devices!!! source : "USATODAY"

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