Saturday, May 11, 2024

My New Blood Puppies!

And by blood puppies, I mean Hirudinaria manillensis, Asian Buffalo Leeches, AKA Asian Medicinal Leeches. 😁 I got 5 hatchlings from Adi Yarrol, and yes, I am feeding them with my own blood. 😅
This species is one of the largest leeches in the world, with some full grown adults reaching over a foot in length. They are rather easy to care for as far as leeches go, so this plus their size has made them perhaps the most popular species in the pet leech hobby (and yes, there is a pet leech hobby 😆).

While they can be kept communally, for the sake of keeping track of growth for each individual, and to prevent other issues, I'm keeping all of mine separately, in minimally ventilated gallon containers filled with a couple inches of dechlorinated tap water (it has to be dechlorinated, otherwise they would die), each with a smaller container inside with a bunch of holes drilled into it, filled with sphagnum moss. This smaller container goes a bit above the waterline, and gives them a terrestrial (but still soaking wet) resting area. I've got Duckweed (Salvina minima) that Adi provided growing in their enclosures as well. I'm keeping them at around 75F°, and have fed them all once from myself.

The feeding process was pretty straightforward, some were hesitant to bite at first, and all of them would only bite hands or arms, never my legs (despite that being where I'd hoped they'd bite). The first one bit me on one of my fingers, which was pretty hilarious... 😂 Feeding for these hatchlings lasted about 15-30 minutes, pretty short. The bites each bled for a day or two at most, some had small raised bumps at the bite site, but others did not. Each of the leeches were placed in 16 oz deli cups after feeding with about a cm of water at the bottom, so called "poop jails" to let them excrete most of their waste over the next week or two, to prevent fouling the water in their larger enclosures.

Here are some pictures and a video of the little pups:

Leech #1

Leech #2

Leech #3

Leech #4

Leech #5 unfortunately did not get a photo shoot. 🤣 Overall feeding went very smoothly for all of them, and they've all already molted several times and grown pretty noticeably! Next round of feedings will not doubt take longer, and likely be more messy as well. 😅

Anyways, that does it for this post, thanks for reading, hope everyone enjoyed, and I'll see you all next time! 😉 

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