How To Care for a Pet Leech
If you struggle with depression or anxiety pets can be overwhelming. Actually, they’re overwhelming without depression and anxiety.
They’re expensive, time consuming, and take our energy. If you have kids, a job, or are going to school, you have enough things to do.
So I’m going to elaborate on a super low maintenance pet & cover some of the most common questions about how to care for a pet leech.
You could even go outside and find one for free so you won’t have to spend any of your hard earned money!
Outdoor activities boost growth and healing, especially mental health.
& even people who love the outdoors can struggle to find enjoyable outdoor activities.
So here is just one idea to get outside, along with some info on how to care for a pet leech.
Where do I get a Pet Leech?
What To Put in Your Pet Leech Tank
Spring water is best but I have heard of people using distilled water. Rocks and decorations are optional but a tight fitting lid is not!
Leeches do tend to like to hide in dark places or wriggle into gravel.
I would recommended smooth pebble stone just for the sake of safety.
Here is a 1 gallon glass jar
You can seal it with the lid, but you should take it off about twice a day just to ventilate it. Another option is placing mesh and a rubber band around the top, or panty hose is a popular choice.
You can experiment with different plant life. You could also even try fish and if your leech is well fed it may not be an issue.
There are plenty of leeches that prefer vegetation, in fact only a few leech species prefer blood and there are over 700 species.
Being that they are parasitic, there is always a chance that they would latch onto other aquatic life.
There are MANY species so it may be worth reading about the specific leech species you get.
What Container Can I Use For My Pet Leech?
- Mason jar
- Fish bowl
- Panty hose with a rubber band wrapped around can be used for a lid
- Containers made specifically for leeches
What to Feed Your Pet Leech
- Dead plants
- Dead animals
- Live animals
- *Look into what your leech prefers
How Often Do Leeches Eat?
This depends on the species and size of the leech but it can range from every 2-12 months and a pet leech will feed for up to 3 hours at a time.
Are Leeches Dangerous?
If the leech is from the wild it may carry diseases.
Make sure to use leeches from safe vendors.
If you’re going to allow the leech to feed on you, just know that leeches use an anticoagulant to help them feed.
Make sure to have bandages handy to use after they feed. If you are mindful of the bleeding, using a safe leech and clean your wound, it is relatively safe.
Leeches use an antithrombin, hirudin to make feeding easier.
It happens to be an extremely effective antithrombic and is used to treat clotting diseases in humans.
It does have a pretty short half life of less than an hour. Which means within 1 hour, half of the effects are gone, within 2 hours another 50% of the remaining effects will dissipate.
If you do allow your leech to feed on you, you’ll bleed an average of 10 hours after the leech detaches. Make sure to keep the wound clean to avoid an infection.
How Do I Get a Leech Off Me?
The best way is to allow them to fall off naturally.
If you try to yank them off they’re more likely to throw up their meal & you don’t want that in your wound.
You can even injure the leech by ripping them off. If you do need to remove them before they are done you can use salt, saline, or vinegar to remove them.
Where do Leeches Come From?
Leeches usually come from ponds, lakes, rivers or other shallow waters. They can be found underneath rocks or plants.
They come from eggs, which are very small.
They will hide themselves in the mud or other substrate during the winter until warmer weather comes around.
How do Leeches Reproduce?
Leeches are hermaphrodites however they still need a mate. When they do mate, both leeches become pregnant.
They will lay eggs within a couple weeks, usually. Some will hold off on laying for months.
When they do lay eggs they will create a cocoon around the eggs.
The eggs usually take just a couple weeks to hatch.
Some leeches look after their young and the babies will even attach to the mother/father leech until they become independent.
How Long Do Leeches Live?
A leeches lifespan varies, by a lot!
They may live as short as a few months but can also live up to 10 years.
There are some species that reproduce once then die. There are also species that will breed a couple times prior to dying.
Tips on How to Care For a Pet Leech
- Leeches shed 1-2 times per week
- Be mindful of air pumps and filters as leeches can fit into very tight spots
- Hungry leeches will feed on each other
- Leeches are nocturnal
- Leeches prefer darkness
- Pet Leeches are escape artists
- Remember that they can squeeze through small spaces
Hopefully this information helps, if you have any insight on how to care for a pet leech, please leave a comment!
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