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Tag Archives: ශ්‍රී ලංකාව


Normally, blood seekers like mosquitos or my favorite the hairy legged vampire bat don’t find me tasty, but in Sri Lanka it was different. I was the flavor of the day with the local leeches in the Singharaja rainforest. I was aware leeches would be present but I did not expect the warm reception I received.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to leech prevention, 1. Keep them away from your skin with long pants and leech socks/gaiters or 2. Sandals and shorts without gaiters. Method one you pick them off your clothes, method two off your skin. I used a hybrid method, leech gaiters and shorts. I could not stand walking around in long pants in the oppressive humidity.  Leech gaiters = prevention. Not exactly, the gaiters are white to make it easier to see leeches. I discovered this when I returned to camp and found more leeches inside the gaiters then I pulled off on the walk.

There are also a couple of schools of thought on when or if to pull leeches off. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter they are so highly evolved in the end they get what they want.

They are harmless and do not transmit disease so I just got used to them. During a downpour, I sort shelter and had time to observe the leeches up close. They are fascinating. I picked one off my leg and dropped it on a rock.  It begins by contracting into a thin mound. Perhaps it catches my scent, it triples its length and waves around like a cobra in a basket. Once it determined my location it took off like an inch worm on speed. Watching how fast it is, it is no wonder whenever I stop to take a photo I was immediately under attach.


While reading about the leaches of Ceylon/Sri Lanka online I came across this fascinating account from the 19th Century. Click here to read from The concise guide to the Anglo-Sri Lankan lexicon by Richard Boyle – Part 13 “Hooked on leeches”.