On the subject of repelling leeches, people may be interested in the
1996 Ig Nobel Prize winning paper: "Effect of ale, garlic, and soured
cream on the appetite of leeches" at http://www.uib.no/isf/surprise.htm
I once carried a leech from near Bateman's Bay to Canberra in my boot;
it had managed to get inside the weave of a thick "Explorer" sock, but
was unable to get out again after it had fed. Once they're full, leeches
have no further desire to bite you (in fact, quite the opposite.) I felt
sorry for bringing the leech back to a Canberra winter; I tried to keep
it alive, but it died a few days later.
This particular leech had an orange stripe down either side of its body;
I assume this stripe acts as a warning to potential predators, as it
would not visible unless the leech has swollen with blood. Since a
blood-filled leech would be more nutritious than a starved leech, what
is it warning predators about? One medicinal reference to "Hirudo
seu whitmaniae" - sun-dried leech (no, really!) - described it as
being "Salty, bitter, neutral and slightly toxic."
"Doctor: ... An extraordinary new cure has just been developed for
exactly this kind of sordid problem.
Edmund: It wouldn't have anything to do with leeches, would it?
D: I had no idea you were a medical man.
E: Never had anything you doctors didn't try to cure with leeches:
a leech on my ear for earache, a leech on my bottom for
D: They're marvellous, aren't they?
E: Well, the bottom one wasn't. I just sat there and squashed it.
D: You know the leech comes to us on the highest authority?
E: Yes, I know that. Dr Hoffmann of Stuttgart, isn't it?
D: That's right, the great Hoffmann.
E: Owner of the largest leech farm of Europe.
D: Yes. Well, I cannot spend all day gossiping. I'm a busy man.
As far as this case is concerned, I have now had time to think it
over and I can strongly recommend a course of leeches. [in chorus]
E: Yes, I'll pop a couple down my codpiece before I go to bed.
D: No, no, no, no - don't be ridiculous! This isn't the dark ages;
just pop four in your mouth in the morning, and let them dissolve
- Blackadder II, "Bells."
Paul Taylor Veni, vidi, tici -
I came, I saw, I ticked.
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