Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for Bloodsuckers


is for bloodsuckers.

I love lakes. I love swimming and skipping rocks and listening to frogs.

I do not love bloodsuckers.


There's just something about bloodsuckers that brings out a primal reaction in people. They're gross. Just as humans evolved to fear snakes, I believe that we also evolved to be grossed out by leeches.

There were bloodsuckers at the lake at the cottage when I was a kid. Since then, they've all been eaten by something or other, but I remember being horrified (and secretly delighted) by a big, black, glistening leech attached to an aunt or an uncle or a cousin.

There was only one way to disengage a bloodsucker: cover it in salt. When it was completely covered in salt, the bloodsucker would detach itself from skin, curl up and die.

I used to find the whole process strangely fascinating to watch as a child.

One of my Dad's favourite stories when we were kids was about the fat leech that latched on to his big toe. When he peeled it off, he found that his toe was covered in leech eggs!

This was - and remains - at once one of the most disgusting and one of the coolest things I'd ever heard.


artist's note: actual leech eggs probably look nothing like this. And actual toes usually have toenails. Let's just call it "artistic license". Also note that I might have to revise this entire post after I call home this evening and confirm that I got the story right.

Bloodsuckers.

Gross.

* * * *

Want more? Luckily for you, there are 26 whole letters in the alphabet!

A Clay Baboons Alphablog: 26 Things That Annoy Me, Confuse Me, Creep Me Out, or Otherwise Make My Life More Difficult.



Click on a letter to read more.

70 comments:

  1. Ew. When I first read bloodsuckers, I was thinking vampires. This was much worse.

    I deliberately avoid bodies of water that are known to have leeches. Which was hard when we vacationed at Leech Lake (no lie) but at least I had the sense to know salt gets them off. Unlike the poor kid in the tent next to us, whose parents thought you just pulled them off. Blood. Everywhere.

    Gross.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha @ Leech Lake. At least it's a descriptive name... I want to go to Leech Lake and have my picture taken next to the sign, with a leech on my arm. No, strike that. I want to take a picture of someone ELSE next to the sign, with a leech on THEIR arm. I'll bring the salt.

      Delete
  2. We used to do the salt thing to slugs, too. Kids can be so macabre.

    Luckily I've never come face to face with a leech. Or it's offspring. Gag.

    Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, in our defense, we didn't salt things on purpose. Just if there were bloodsuckers on somebody. And it didn't happen very often, but it was a strong, strong memory!

      Delete
  3. This is the reason I refuse to go into natural water....the creatures in it just freak me out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just pretend they aren't there. Kind of like the "lalala I can't hear you" strategy. Except with things that want to eat you.

      Delete
  4. I can agree, easily. Now I'm going to have these nasty creatures in my head all day. But I DO love your who clay theme here, different and fun,!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoy it! Don't worry, I'll be posting other creepy/annoying/gross things that will hopefully get the leeches out of your head. ;)

      Delete
  5. I got the heeby jeebies just reading this post. *shudder*

    Also, you may want to warn me now if "S" is going to be "Spider" so I can just avoid that post all together. :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or at least make the clay spider cute and cuddly (if that's possible) because I, too, would like fair warning on that one.

      Delete
    2. No, I promise both of you that I will NOT be writing about spiders. Believe or not, I'm not really bothered by spiders. I think I'll probably write about spam. Or something.

      Delete
  6. You're right, gross! But what a great story!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. I kind of wish it were mine. Except for the whole "a leech laid eggs on my toe" bit.

      Delete
  7. ewww. I also thought you meant vampires at first and though o no! vampires annoy you-- but leeches I get. Speaking of x-files, the episode with the gigantic leeches hiding in port-o-lets- scariest thing ever (well at least in that episode it was the scariest thing).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vampires don't annoy me. Unless they sparkle. That's very annoying. Haha! (errr...no offense if you like sparkly vampires.) I remember that episode!

      Delete
  8. I actually felt my skin crawl at the thought of having a leech latch unto my skin! EEK!

    I'm used to a different sort of bloodsucker known as the mosquito; they are dreadful, too. :P

    -Barb the French Bean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They really are horrible, disgusting things. And yes, we have mosquitoes here too. Plenty of them. Awful nasty little monsters!

      Delete
  9. Gah!!! and is it just me, or does that leech look surprisingly like a harmless bit of licorice?

    thank you for ruining one of my favorite types of candy for me...

    best,
    MOV

    ReplyDelete
  10. EWW they're gross.
    The most traumatising youth camp I ever had to attend was the one where they MADE us go stream trotting and half the guys came back with leeches.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yuck! Awful! Kind of reminds me of that awesome scene from Stand By Me. Only awesome because it didn't happent to me.

      Delete
  11. Gross Fact, they used to use leeches in medicine to suck out infection and poison. Kind of like bleeding people. pointless, dangerous and gross.

    Ok I might have made that up, but i remember reading it somewhere but it might have been a fantasy novel. It makes sense though right? People used to do weird stuff when they were sick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are still used. Even in this country. A woman that had a black eye days before her wedding had a leech put on her face to suck out the blood from under the skin. One day later, no black eye.

      Delete
    2. Yes! What Brett said! I actually think medicinal leeches are kind of cool. So long as they're not lurking in a lake, waiting to affix themselves to my feet.

      Delete
  12. EEEEEEEEEWWWWW!! xP

    Your post gave me the heebie jeebies, but it was a great "B" post! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's me! I just spread the heebie-jeebies wherever I go!

      Delete
  13. Just one word: ew.

    And ... are you going to make a book out of these, for kids? I think you should. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe I'll bind it all up as an e-book when I'm done!

      Delete
  14. This is truly horrifying. Much worse than losing time and aliens. There is no way I could leave a leech on me for the length of time it took for salt to be poured and the leech to fall off. And I think your clay toes are very artful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? You'd rather be abducted by aliens than have a leech on you? I'd pick the leech ANY day.

      Delete
  15. Stephanie, that is delightfully disgusting. I think I will be having bad dreams about the leeches tonight. Yuck! Ick!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Giving people nightmares: it's what I do best!

      Delete
  16. Ickkkk, bloodsuckers. We called them leeches, and yep, so gross. I have only ever had one on my once but maaaaan was it gross.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eww! You've had your blood sucked by a leech?!? So gross! You've got street cred now. Or creek cred.

      Delete
  17. I think I am the only one here who is just a little bit intrigued as to what this feels like..... I would do the whole: "OMG GET IT OFF ME. GET IT OFF ME" routine but I would try to give it a go! I might even enjoy it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are officially the most bad-ass commenter on this post.

      Delete
  18. I've only ever seen one leech in real life on someone but every time I think about leeches (which actually isn't that often, weird right?) I think of Wil Wheaton in Stand By Me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, Wil Wheaton in Stand By Me is the only good thing about leeches.

      Delete
  19. Wow, that is GROSS!
    I've always been afraid of bloodsuckers--they freak me out, and when I was a kid, I didn't really understand them and I think I was irrationally anticipating more severe consequences than what would really happen....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, so disgusting. Did you think they could completely drain you? Because that it gross, but also kind of cool.

      Delete
  20. ew, ew, EWWWWWWW! But thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I love how polite you are despite being grossed out and probably hating me a little bit right now.

      Delete
  21. I can never think of leeches without thinking of Stand By Me. Blech...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved that scene. Stand By Me is probably the best thing about leeches.

      Delete
  22. I just snorted out loud at the kids' book comment! What a horribly fantastic idea...

    I am in the crowd that doesn't go swimming in water that isn't chlorinated due to creepy crawly things like fish and leeches. Blargh. Disgusting. *Horrified face*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm in the "if I can't see it, it must not be there" crowd when it comes to water-dwelling creatures. Fact: my crowd is much more likely to be eaten than your crowd.

      Delete
  23. This post definitely made me vomit in my mouth a little. gross. lol

    ReplyDelete
  24. Stephanie, that takes me back to my years as summer camper. Never got them myself but plenty of kids managed to find them. It seemed like a horror movie come to life back then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bugs and worms and other creepy-crawlies really do seem kind of horrifying sometimes. Extraterrestrial, almost.

      Delete
  25. All my responses start with the letter U. Image 1 of bloodsucker..."Ugh"...Image 2 of bloodsuckers on feet.."UGGGGGGGGGGGH!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Maybe I'll just copy and paste your comment on U day!

      Delete
  26. Grossed out but still laughing. Cannot WAIT to see what else you've got coming up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spoiler alert: today I'll be talking about haunted chairs. It's a thing.

      Delete
  27. If you're without salt just stick a finger in your nose or your ear and then wipe them off with it - works a treat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No! NO! Really? That is SO COOL! I wish that I'd known you when I was a kid.

      Delete
  28. Yuck!! I actually shuddered over the leech eggs on your dad's toe. Shuddered!

    ReplyDelete
  29. One word....EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.....LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I don't know what I found more exciting: Aliens, Blood suckers or Clay Baboons ;) The leech egg thing is the grossest thing I've ever heard. My Dad tried to burn leeches off with cigarettes - as a surgical operation it ranked right up there with door-knob dentistry ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, clay baboons. Definitely clay baboons. Ha! OK, your dad is hard core. And that would have made one seriously disturbing clay scene.

      Delete
  31. ewww...just thinking of bloodsuckers gives me the creeps!
    love the toes - ok, maybe if dad was a long-distance runner, he really would have no toenails! that is a funny/fascinating/gross story about the eggs on his toe, and yes, as a kid nothing would be more intriguing and disgusting!!
    thankfully, i have never seen a real live bloodsucker - i hope it stays that way!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! My dad isn't a long-distance runner. But we can pretend, for the sake of realistic clay figurines.

      Come visit me! I see bloodsuckers in the river near my house all the time! They're really small though...I figure the big monsters are waiting a bit deeper, biding their time...

      Delete
  32. Even in clay form, leeches are icky. Ewwww....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I smashed it after I took the picture.

      Delete
  33. You covered two of my most feared things in life in one post: leeches and the prospect of a bug/insect/etc. laying eggs in or on my body. *shudder* I still fastforward through that scene in Stand By Me.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete