Leeches

Leeches arouse, almost universally, a “Yuck!” response out of all proportion to the pain and suffering they cause.

Our attitudes to small wildlife reflect our upbringing and experience and I’m constantly intrigued (and sometimes very quietly amused) by them. Most people I know “love wildlife” but only up to a point. They might love all mammals and birds but not reptiles, for instance, or like small lizards but not the big ones. Most of them love butterflies but many are not at all keen on spiders (I agree they are not usually so pretty but I like them just as much) – and then we reach the problematic types: flies, fleas, ticks, mozzies and of course leeches.

What is a leech?

We also tend to know very little about leeches. What kind of animal are they? They are obviously not vertebrates but they can’t be insects because they haven’t got six legs, so what what are they most closely related to?

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