What Leech Products and Care Supplies You Need
I am Tsetsi and today in this video you will learn how to take care of your leeches. So this video will cover the basic leech care tips tricks and instructions. I am a leech expert as such I know a thing or two about leeches and their care. So I am here to teach you what are the basic rules about taking care of your leeches wether you are using them for pets or wether you using them for leech therapy also know as Hirudotherapy. This video will cover leech care, leech handling, leech breathing, leech transportation and water changing of your leeches. I have here some supplies that you will be needing for those purposes. Lets get started with the leech lodge. In order to keep your leeches happy and alive and swimming you will need a leech lodge which can include a jar, leech jar or leech bucket. So behind me here I have so leech buckets which are very well suited if you have a large collection of leeches. So right here as you can see those are housing allot of leeches inside them. And as you can see these two leech buckets are providing very good housing for my leech collection. However they are getting kind of dirty, so the water is dirty and it needs changing. On this side however these two buckets are housing leeches that are happily swimming and the water is not in need of changing just yet. These two jars are designed to handle leech collections that are smaller. So lets say you have a pet leach and you wanna keep it in a specialize jar - this one or this one is the ones to go for. This is a two litter jar and this one is a one litter jar. And of course you can get everything shown here online on leeches.com. There is other items that you can also use for leech housing. And that is leech aquarium which looks just like this and some people choose to put the leeches in an aquarium and for leech housing you will also need leech moss. So this is what the moss looks like. Now let me go over some of the leech being. I am going to place one of my leeches into leech jar to show you it is going to live in the jar and these buckets by the way are also very good. They have about twenty holes and this way the leeches bread. And the bucket itself is ten liter bucket which is also very well suitable for a larger collection and right here we have a bigger guy that I am going to take out and show you how I am going to keep this big Dracula pet leech into my pet jar (leech jar). So here is quite a large size in this small one letter size you can house up to ten leeches. If you have more that that I recommend you purchase the larger one. They came in sets of two. So when you purchase two leech jars you’ll actually getting a set, which means that you will get the small one and the big one depending of what you get. And those leech jars are going to provide very good housing not only for your hungry leeches such as this big guy here. But also these jars are going to house the fed leeches. Which need to be kept separate. So say I am going to feed this guy. I can’t put him back in this jar with his friend. I have to put him in a separate leech jar. And what I will do is simply take some water which I’ve prepared here, some tap water. I will put it in my leech jar. This guy here wants to go somewhere but he is not allowed. So basically now I have my pet leeches into this small jar. Of course you will probably need more water than this and now they are swimming happily. Look at how big this medical leech is. Now this covers the bedding portion of our tutorial but if you notice I did used some leech forceps to take my big pet Dracula Leech out of his bucket. Thats the second tape of equipment that you will need to raise leeches and to keep leaches at home and to take care of them very well. You will need one or two of these tools here. Now what those are is those are different kinds of leech handlers. They are also called forceps or tweezers. And let me show you one by one what each one of them does. So for example the one I just used is the metal one. This one has these grepping wedges inside. And this helps you grip the leech and handle it more comfortably let me show you. So when I take this Hirudo Leech out of his jar. He does not slip and slide in the grip of my forceps this medicinal leech is well handled. And there is another kind of forceps again these are available on leeches.com This kind of forceps is similar to the metal one however it is plastic and it does provide another very very good grip. I know people who prefer the plastic forecept and other people prefer the metal but for example my mom she prefers to handle the leeches with plastic long handlers. And then of course there is a tweezer. They can be used for medical leeches. Now this tweezer is not suitable for this big leech warm here because its a very small tweezers. So this one handles tiny little creatures, not a big guy like this. Aldo I could handle him with it but it is not comfortable for me nor is it painless for him. So for this giant leech I can also try in handle him with these middle size handlers. They are semi comfortable for this size leech but I would not recommended again. For this pet Dracula Leech you will need either these or these. Now lets move on to another size leech and that is cosmetic or baby leech. For that size leech you will need tweezers. Now lets have a look at where I might have a baby or cosmetic leech to show you. And I think I might have it here. And yes of course there is allots of them here. And you will see that they immediately take on the forceps the tweezer sorry. And the Hirudo Medicinalis glue themselves to it. As you can see its very easy and comfortable to handle them with this tweezer and they are fore precision Hirudotherapy these small guys. So these tweezer is comfortable for them to be used in Hirudoterapy. For example if I wanted cosmetic leech on my face I will put him on my face and I can only hope that he does not bite me. So thats how we handle the small medicinal leeches. I as I says I don’t feel comfortable handle leeches with anything else than my forceps and in fact only the metal ones. So here we are back to our good long metal forceps for handling our leeches. This way is quick and easy. And I am done in seconds. Another method you can use to handle your leeches is called the leech gloves or hirudotherapy gloves. Those are right here and you can use hirudotherapi glove which is basic silicon glove which you can get online on https://www.leeches.com or you can use one of these cotton ones. These are for a larger collection so I would say these can be used for up to 200 leeches. The basic rule of thumb when using these gloves is that leech basically gets unstuck , unglued from the bucket when its handled by a cotton glove like this. So these are non toxic cotton gloves that are used and I can do any kind of manipulations with leeches with that glove. So leech handling again is done by using forceps or gloves. Now lets move on to leech use. The leeches can be used in Hirudotherapy also known as leech therapy. They can be also used in feeding. How do you go about feeding a leech? Well leeches only and only feed on blood. So if I were to feed a leech, I will take one of those leeches and I will go ahead and place them on my veins and I do have a special video for feeding leeches which you can check below. Check the links below this video to watch how I feed my leeches. And so this is how you would go about feeding your pet leeches or even for Hirudotherapy this is how you would go about applying your medical hirudo leeches and the final item in the leech lodge is this peace of leech moss. Now what would you go about using the leech moss for? The moss is basically used when you want to breed the leeches or you want to give them more comfortable environment to live in. So for example if I have my pet Dracula leech and I want it to sometimes lounge around or if I want it to breed with other leeches, what I will do is I will go ahead and remove part of the water and I will place a peace of leech moss inside and now all of the warms can benefit from the moss. This moss is specially designed for leeches. Its their natural habitat and basically this moss will provide a resting place for your hirudo medicinalis leach to lounge around and if she wants to sometimes not swim in the water. She wants to rest on top of some wet moss. They love it. Hirudo Verbana leeches absolutely love it. The moss is totally optional. And also if you want to bread them you will place them in pairs inside the leech jar and you will put some moss in the leeches. And that how you bread leeches. Also watch my leech breading video to find out more details on leech breading techniques. And the larger jar as I said can be used for leeches of larger quantity. So for example I can put let say a good number of leeches in this large jar. Let’s start with one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. I think I can put around twenty leeches in here of the size I just showed you. In fact I can probably empty this whole bucket inside the jar. So lets do that. And some people might ask aren’t you afraid that leeches will bite your hand while you do this. And the answer is no I am not afraid only because the palm of the hand is actually too course of a skin for the leech to bite in comfortably. So she wont be very comfortable with that. Normally the leech don’t bite the palm of your hand. They only bite the thin skin on your body. And in fact the most delicate part of the body are the most sumptuous ones for the leech to bite into. Ant they love that. And so here we are just transferring the leeches from the bucket into the jar. And in just a few minutes I will have my full collection in my jar. And also jars are very good when it comes to the next point which is leech transportation. Now many of you might wonder well I am going out of state visiting my sister how do I take my leech collection with me? You basically equip yourself with a set of jars and this jar is so comfortable because it it lightweight , it is plastic and the opening is really large so you can fit your whole hand in and a man’s hand can fit easily inside to. And then you take your leech jar, you fill it up not all the way but you fill it up three quarters of the way with tap water. Thats another think that people might wonder about is: Tsetsi why do you use tap water and not filtered water or whatever spring water? Well I use tap water. Why? Because I can. The leeches are not killed by the tap water. And no mater how chlorinated it is it is suitable for them. So, so far I haven’t found any water source that is tap that is not suitable for live leeches. So therefore you can use it safely. Some people choose to use other kind of filtered or non chlorinated. Well I don’t advise you to do that because I haven’t done it myself. I’ve only done it tap. And therefore I recommend you do exactly the same as me. So that you can have the same kinds of results. And here we are. We now have our happy bunch. The new leech jar and as you can see they are hanging out at the bottom. They are still trying to get acclimated with this new leech home. So if I were to use these leeches either for hirudotherapy or feeding I will have to get an empty jar and put the fed ones that I fed on my skin, put them in another jar with fed leeches. Now let’s move on to our next point and that is leech water changing. Now as I’ve mentioned this bucket here did not need changing because it is not murky and it is not dark. So the clarity of it was pretty good and it is not opaque it is not murky. So when it comes to leech water changing you have to pay attention to the coloration of the water. This leech collection has a bit more darker color water but again it is not murky. It is pretty clear. So you can see clearly inside and the leeches are swimming. I don’t see any opaqueness. Let’s check the other two leach buckets. I have this bucket here which is allot darker and quite a bit more opaque. So the opacity shows that there might be some dead leeches inside, which must be cleared out otherwise they will contaminate the water and they will cause for the other leeches to start dying off. This water clearly needs changing. This water here is the most dirty one. Is the one most need of changing. It is so dark that you can barely see throw it. You definitely need to change this leech water. Just pouring out the content throw the strainer. So the strainer is necessary for you to change the leech water. Wether you using them as pets or wether you are using them in hirudotherapy you always need to take care of them by changing them water weekly. On a weekly bases. If you have more leeches like I do i even have to change them daily. And let me show you the three kind of strainers that I have here. There is a plastic larger hole leech strainer . There is a metal small strainer and there is a larger metal strainer as an alternative. Now out of those three strainers I can only effectively use one. And that is this one. And the reason is because the holes in these leech strainer are too large for me to effectively change the later without loosing any leeches and without them going throw these holes. And my leeches are starting to fall of here. And thats fine. You put them right back in. So let’s change the leech water in this bucket. I would go about doing so by pouring the water directly from the bucket and throw the stainer and into the sing just like so. Imagine this is your bucket. So you take the leech bucket and pour it throw the strainer. This strainer here is not suitable for big collection like this. It is only for small leech collection. So you will need to check leeches.com for bigger strainers than this. But this one is just used for me to demonstrate how to change the water. So once I had the dirty water in the sink I will pour some fresh water into the bucket and fill it up three quarters of the way just like I’ve done before. Now the last part of our tutorial deals with leech transportation. And thats probably the most challenging part of taking care of Hirudo Leeches. Leech transportation involves a very special kind of care for the leeches. And let me tell you, let me explain to you how this works. The leeches gets very stressed out when they travel. Because when you take their jar and for example as you can see they just colored the jar yellow. The water, it was pure, clear, white, tap water ant they’ ve just colored it yellow. That means I’ve placed allot of leeches. Concentration is really big and they have girted their water so quickly. Of course this need changing right now. But I wanted to show you how I would go about transporting my leech collection like this. The way to do so is by using a product call hirudo gel and I have hirudo gel here. This gel is dry. It is sold in a dry form just like this. It looks like salt crystals. And when you hydrate this gel into water it produces probably expanse about 100 200 times its size. So it produce large water crystals, that or then suitable for the transportation of your medicinal leeches. And let me show you how this works. I will take a spoon full of your hired jel. You don’t want too much because this amount will probably hydrate ten letters of water. A full bucket like this it will probably turn into gel. Now let’s go ahead and put this gel into our aquarium just to show you how leech gel or hirudo gel is hydrated. We are going to stir the water. This is again tap water. Just regular tap water is all that you need to hydrate your leech gel. And then you need to wait a couple of hours. Now I will try and show you what happens after this is been hydrated but we don’t have a couple of hours to wait for me to show you. And while we wait for the gel to hydrate I am going to introduce you a couple of methods to get a leech to bite you. So when you starting to use them either in Hirudotherapy or for yourself to feed your leeches. Let say that they don’t want to bite. What you want to do is buy some leech needles. Lancet needles this is what they look like. And they have a nice tip. Nice small tip and you will prick yourself anywhere that you want them to latch. You will get some blood drawn with this needle and then you will place your leech right on the bloody spot. That way the leech will latch very easily because it will smell the blood and it will be naturaly drawn to bite there. This is very useful and helpful when you are doing hirudotherapy or when you have many leeches that you need to feed. Another method is the cupping method. I am going to demonstrate to you how the cupping method works. Let say I am placing some leeches on a patient and the leeches don’t want to bite. What I can do is just fill up a cup and those cups are sold on leeches.com as well. And I will fill up. I do have one that fell on this side. And when I fill up this cup with leeches. In fact I can do more that that. I can probably put 30 or 40 hirudo medicinalis leeches inside. And once I have a cup full of leeches like that they get frustrated. So they are quite unhappy being so many of them in such a small space. So they will out of frustration the leeches will go and bite me. All right so if I were to cup this cup here I will have immediately have some one that will latch. And of course the are already doing that. So I am putting them away immediately cuz I don’t want to get bitten right at this moment but I will later on cuz I will be doing some leech therapy on myself. And I will place leeches on another place on my body or on my patient and as you can see they are going right for my arm which is quite good. It is desirable. It is what we want to happen. All right so that is how you get the leeches to bite you when you are trying to feed your pet leeches or do hirudotherapy. And that is how you use your leaches. Now back to the transportation device. As you can see it does pay to be very swift and quick in dealing with your leeches because otherwise they will take over you and they will eat you alive. No I am just kidding but they will do what they want. So you have to act quick. Once is trying to get me there. Now let see how our gel is doing. The transportation gel has been hydrating right here. This is the hirudo gel I mention to you about. And so I can see right now that there is already crystals for me. And you can see them right here. Now lets take a look at what it looks like when it is hydrated. I am going to sieve this throw the strainer to show you. This is our spoon full of hydrated gel and we are going to extract the pure gel out of this. Watch this. And what we have here is pure hirudo gel ready for our leeches to be transported in. This is quite a good turn out considering we did not waiting two hours. So in fact you can ever hydrate your gel in less then two hours. But if you to be more thorough and you want to get out more gel you will probably need to wait the two hours. So I will then take my leeches. I will dump out the dirty water and I want to get rid of all the water. So now I left with only leeches. Nothing else. And what I want to do is put some gel in those some leeches and this is how I do it. Ok that was easy. Now I have leeches everywhere. But that is all right. So I have a few happy guys with some really cool hirudogel. Now I can put this leeches in the fridge to get this gel a bit cold and good for them to travel in because they actually love the cold temperatures. Leeches do tent to die from warm temperatures and so that is why if you place this is refrigerator not in the freezer. Put the leeches only in refrigerator before you travel. This gel will get cold and they will happily live in it for entire duration of your trip and they will not shake around like they would in water. Because if you take this jar full of water and you shake it around during travel this is what happens they get banged around but if you shake this around nothing is shaking and they are allot more steadier. This is the way to go when shipping your leeches. And this concludes our leech care tutorial. I hope it was informative and helpful for you. I hope it will assist you in your leech care journey and if you have any questions what so ever leave me a comment bellow. Don’t forget of course to subscribe. The subscribe button is red and just press it for it to turn in grey. There is also a bell button next to the subscribe button which you need to press to get notified of all of my videos that are up coming. And give this video your thumbs up and share it. Share it with everyone who might benefit from this information. It was a pleasure doing this tutorial on leech care and all the facets of taking care of leeches. I will be looking forward to seing you next week on my next video. From me Tsetsi and sunny Europe good bye.