Subject: Leeches
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 09:12:45 +1000
DeaR birders,

I do regular surveys for Noisy Pittas in the forests west of Brisbane
and, although not as bad as SE Asia, I certainly come across many leeches
at times.

The best method I fend for keeping them off is to put insect repellant
(Rid or Areoguard cream) on my feet and lower legs, under my socks.
That way the leeches crawl up my boots, poke their heads into the sock
get a wiff of repellant and pull back again.  They seem to be able to 
squeeze through some pretty tiny holes and some of the leeches are thread
like until they've fed.

In this way I can end up with 40 leeches on my boots but none inside.
(We counted them once for someone who was collecting them).

I fully agree with Paul that you can get sensitive to them, if I do
get a bite now it swells up, becomes red and sensitive for 3-4 days.
I've also had some become infected without TOO much scratching.

So I think its best to avoid them if at all possible.



Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Pathobiology                
School of Veterinary Science              Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072          WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


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