The reporting from the leech farm. The unique pictures of a leech birth in the natural environment and in captivity.
These are the walls of the International centre of medicinal leech founded on the base of “Medpiyavka” association created in 1937 that used to be engaged in keeping leeches in artificially impounded bodies of a summer community Udelnaya (Moscow region).
On 2500 sq.m. there are located facilities for growing more than 3 500 000 of medicinal leeches and cosmetic production.
All in all science knows 400 leech species that actually have the same appearance and are different only in marking. They can be black, greenish and brownish.
Leeches live in three-liter jars, nothing better as a house for them has been devised.
The jars should be always covered with a dense white rag that is tied up tightly.
Leeches are immensely active and often creep out of the water. That is why they can easily leave the jar where they are kept and escape.
A leech has ten eyes but it does not see an integral picture. Although leeches can find their bearings perfectly. Smell, taste and touch are rather well-developed and it helps leeches so much to succeed in a victim search. First of all leeches wonderfully respond to smells of items dipped into water. They hate water smelling bad.
The body of a common medicinal leech consists of 102 rings which are covered with many small papulae on the spinal side.
But the innocent surface beauty of a leech conceals its secret weapon – a front cupule, outwardly invisible. A large, scaring rear cupule does not make any physical harm but deep in the front one there are jaws and each jaw has 90 teeth, total 270. That is where the leeches’ insidiousness is hidden.
The record of a maximum size of the leech grown in this centre is 35 cm. The leeches on the picture have everything ahead of them.
The bite of a leech is similar to nettle. The leeches’ saliva contains analgetics. It lives only on blood. Hematophagus, that is a vampire.
The water where the leeches live is to be changed twice a week, settled and cleaned from impurities and heavy metals and heated up to necessary temperature.
The significant condition of successful farming of fully developed medicinal leeches is feeding them with a new blood that is bought from slaughter-houses. Only the blood of healthy animals can be used as feed for the leeches.
During the period of its growth a leech feeds each 1,5-2 months. It can eat 5 times more than it weighs and be satiated for 3-4 months, a year at most.
The leeches intercommunicate rather seldom and only when required not to die out. Boggy soil is the environment where they breed.
A pregnant leech is notable for light rings on its body.
The cocoons, each having 10-15 fries.
The unique birth pictures.
The first minutes of a little leech life.
The average lifespan of a leech is about 6 years.