Science Questions

What shoud I do with leeches in my pond?

Sun, 1st Jul 2007

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Question

Amy asked:

I have found 2 leeches in my garden, we do not have a pond and live on an estate. What should I do with them, I have children, so dont want to put them back. Do you have any suggestions?? Many Thanks

Answer

Leeches are a member of the worm family, and do not have to live in water, as long as they donít risk drying out.  Itís unlikely that they will harm you; in fact medically speaking leeches have been used for centuries.

The saliva of leeches contains a natural anti-coagulant called hirudin.  This stops blood from clotting.  If a surgeon needs to reattach a body part, itís relatively easy to attach the arteries that supply blood, but much harder to attach all the tiny veins which allow blood to get back out.  When lots of blood goes in and canít get out this creates blood clots which can cause tissue to die.  If you attach leeches, they suck out some of the blood, establishing blood flow and avoiding clots.

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