Sunday, August 21, 2011

I got my first leech bite a couple weeks ago. Actually I got two. They weren't all that bad, but leeches are the last local parasite (I still fear exotic parasites, such as the blowfly larvae that grow in your skin) I hadn't been bitten by yet, and I've been embarrassingly squeamish about them. I've gotten plenty macho about picking off ticks, catching mosquitoes in midair, and swatting at deer and horse flies. Even the fearsome chiggers of South Jersey don't exactly scare me, even though I'll do everything I can to avoid them (and thank God for permethrin). Leeches gave me the willies, but no more!

The leeches found me as I was helping with an event at a local marsh where Scott and I spend a lot of time herping. I had scratched my legs up wading through saw-edged grasses and tear thumb (tear leg in this case), and the leeches latched on as I helped clear some exotic/invasive reed canary grass. Here's a post-leech shot of my leg an hour later, still not quite done bleeding.

Here's a shot of Scott wrangling a painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) that we used for an educational demonstration later.

I'll wrap up with a very happy looking bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) basking on a patch of canary grass next to the creek. I won't grant frogs intelligence, but I'll recognize that they feel some of the same pleasures we do, in this case the base contentment of soaking up the sun.