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Leech Breeding

Russia Boasts Having Biggest Leech Farm

Op-Ed: Russia boasts world's largest leech farm

Posted Jan 3, 2015 by Ken Hanly
Although there are more than 300 species of leeches it is only varieties of the hirudo medicinalis, or medicinal leech, that are used in hirudotherapy and administered to humans.
Sucking leech (Hirudo medicinalis)
February 22  2011
Sucking leech (Hirudo medicinalis) February 22, 2011
According to an article in Al Jazeera: ".. this freshwater parasite preys on large mammals and has 10 eyes and stomachs, six hearts, and a sucker equipped with three jaws. The jaws sport 90 teeth that can penetrate human skin within seconds and leave a bite that resembles a tiny Mercedes Benz logo."
While the bite is rather painful it also releases many proteins and enzymes that have beneficial effects.
According to Yelena Titova, who heads a production laboratory at the world's largest leech farm at Udelnaya near Moscow, the bite releases drugs that stimulate blood circulation, metabolism, generation of blood cells, lower cholesterol, and aid people with heart conditions, glaucoma, diabetes and infertility. There may be some marketing hype in these claims but even the US FDA since 2004 has allowed the marketing of leeches as "medical devices" when it approved an application by a French company. Leeches were already widely used in the US and companies that raised and sold them have been allowed to continue doing so but a law passed in 1976 required new companies to receive approval from the FDA. The FDA reports that leeches are helpful in healing skin grafts by removing blood pooled under the skin after grafts. They also can restore lost circulation in blocked veins by removing pooled blood. Being classified as "medical devices" has probably contributed to a comeback of hirudotherapy in mainstream western medicine.
The use of leeches dates back to ancient times: Leeching, or hirudotherapy, was widely used in ancient Egypt, India and China since at least 1500 BC. The bloodsucking worm became such a ubiquitous staple of medieval European medicine that the very word "leech" originates from Anglo-Saxon "laece", or doctor. European doctors believed that leeching drains "bad blood" and helps balance patients' bodily fluids.
Hirudotherapy does not always work as in the notorious case of Lord Byron the poet in 1824: On Apr. 9, while out riding, he was drenched to the skin by a sudden rainstorm and took chill. Within two hours he complained of fever and rheumatic pains. Though he opposed the use of leeches, he finally relented, and they took a pound of blood from his body. He became weaker, but he was bled twice more, fainting each time. His brain was inflamed, but doctors decided that strong stimulants, Peruvian bark and wine, were his only hope.
Who knows perhaps it was the Peruvian bark and wine that ultimately did him in. He fell asleep and did not wake up.
The three story laboratory in Udelnaya was built during the Stalin era It raises up to three million bloodsuckers annually. They hatch from fuzzy white cocoons and are fed on cow's blood, and are allowed to grow for about a year before being sold to health clinics. However, some are killed and powdered and turned into creams, shampoos, and lotions, some quite expensive.
Natalia Lepyoshkina smiles as she displays a handful of leeches and says: "See how beautiful they are?" Here is an image of some of leeches at the farm. Lepyoshkina is one of about two dozen leech growers at the farm. She has worked there for 30 years and talks of the leeches as if they are her children: "We have to nurture them, nurse them, raise them like our own children."
Not all doctors are enthusiastic about the use of leeches. Doctor Yelena Malysheva who has a very popular TV show on national Channel One claims that leech therapy is "outdated" and "miserable". Certainly in the west, the practice has been in decline compared to the 19th century or ancient Greece:In ancient Greece and 19th-century Europe, leeches were the predominant medical device for bloodletting, a procedure by which practitioners sought to help balance the body's "humors" (phlegm, blood and bile) by simply allowing the subject to bleed for a bit. Bloodletting was prescribed to treat a variety of conditions, from a black eye, headache and fever to obesity and melancholia, and in 1883, French medical professionals imported more than 40 million leeches for this purpose [sources: Rubin, Mestel]. Nevertheless, as with many other traditional medical remedies, modern medicine is discovering that ancient practices and remedies do often have proven value.
Posted on 5 Jan 19:15

How to Breed Leeches at Home or Start a Leech Farm!

How to set up a leech habitat for pregnant leeches and to be able to breed leeches at home on a small scale.‬

If you’ve been a having a dream about having a leech farm been able to multiply breed keep leeches and do various things with leeches in as much natural environment for them as possible, then this tutorial is for you.‬

And lets get started.
 I have a box, its just plastic see through box that you will need in order to set up your leech habitat.‬

Now the reason that I’ve used a clear plastic is because anything that has to do with leeches has to be clear and see through.
Trust me you don’t want to take anything that’s opaque or solid and keep leeches in. 
The reason is because you always gonna have to keep an eye on your leeches and they has to be very clearly visible.‬

Don’t buy any supplies for leeches that are not see through.‬ has the best supplies and it has the best leeches as well so you can’t go wrong visiting and getting all your supplies from there.‬

You can also find the same supplies probably in your local Walmart Cameart or grocery store or whatever supplies home supplies store.‬

I’ve put almost three quarters cold water from the tap from the sink into this crate (into this container).‬

The container has to have a lid.‬

And when I close the lid its sort of snaps close‬ although. 
Its a it could some leeches could escape because they are escape artist and they can get through any little hole.

You can also set up a peace of fabric on top, like a scarf or just peace of cotton or gauze.

Well actually gauze is not good because it is too porous it's got big holes.

So when you have something like this you can then tie it with an elastic and this will prevent the leeches from escaping.

What you need is just an elastic band to go around.

You need the elastic to go all the way around, to make it very tight.

And you can also use the fabric and the lid at the same time.
This way it will prevent allot of the leeches from escaping hopefully all of them.
 The idea is to keep all the leeches in and not let any of them out.

So lets continue with the tutorial on how to set up your bedding.

Now what you’ll need is leech moss. You will find it on Leech moss will be available here year round.

So back to my collection of leeches. 
I am using a leech bucket for them and this bucket of leeches is not set up for pregnant leeches or for breading purposes.
 My leeches are very very lively.

My leeches are from - they are all over the place although I haven’t changed their water in a couple of days but they are starting to come out already and you will see that there are holes in the lid. One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty one holes...! Twenty one holes and I keep made holes on my buckets because I don’t want leeches escaping, and I don’t want to put fabric on top of my bucket and so I am not using fabric on top of my bucket where i keep my collection of leeches. I am using a lid, solid lid. I find that the lid if far more effective because it keeps them in and doesn’t let them escape.

The leech forceps the leech handling tool which you will also find online in

This is what you’ll need to do:

I have purchased leech moss and a lot of them will escaping while I do this but thats just the nature of leeches.
They will run. So the leech moss that I purchased from is probably about one two three four five six six or seven portions of it. When you buy one portion you will going to get about a hand full. You will probably be able to keep about thirty leeches in it. So about thirty leeches.... and with all of the moss I have, you will be able to keep hundreds and hundreds of leeches. Each portion is about two hundreds grams.

All right so, my leeches are so robust and lively. They are just unbelievable. 
And they are very clean and very beautiful and I love them. Some of my leeches are really really big. I have one really huge leach.... and I am sure I have pregnant leeches already because they mate in a very warm temperature.

So but back to our set up, what we’ll need is because we have pregnant leeches as I said I take out all of my moss and I will make sure that the moss is placed in the water in a propped up fashion.

So lets see how this will work. Now this would not be so good because there is no water in the moss and this is a styrofoam box but if I use more that one styrofoam box in fact I have another one. And you can use a plastic box or anything with holes in it. There holes in my boxes. 

All right so I am going to place another box on top of the first one. 

This will clearly allow for the pregnant leeches to crow in and out of.

My leeches they are all over the place!

And I am submerging these boxes under water.

They are made of Styrofoam, so they will float.

So you might want to get other kind of boxes not Styrofoam.
But the idea is to have the leech moss be half way wet and half way dry.
So what will happen is now that I have the moss set up, it will stay half dry and half wet.

And if I can keep it submerged under water like this without it floating up so you might want to put some heavy weights like rocks / stones. So make sure to keep everything submerged.

So that the moss stays half way wet half way under water and half way above that’s the idea.

Now I also have a little bit of wild moss which is available here in England and as you can see its almost identical to the purchased moss and I’ll just put all the moss that I have in my habitat.

And of course my leeches are all over the place again....!

Now I’ll be very busy collecting them afterwords but the leeches are everywhere.
So whats going to happen is I am going to keep the boxes submerged.

I’ve actually gone outside and I found some weighing devices  - I’ve got two bricks.

My bricks are going to keep my Styrofoam well under water and this is just perfect perfect habitat for the leeches.

This is this is giving them enough moss and its also affording them to be in wet in swimming in water.

So on both sizes I have plenty of room for swimming.
The inside of the two boxes sort of box stuck together gives them a dark dark space as well and then the moss which is half wet half dried will give the leech the opportunity to lay their cocoons.

The pregnant leeches will lay cocoons.

So I’ve had I bought some eggs just to demonstrate.
These are not leech eggs.

These are not leech cocoons.

These are just regular eggs that I’ve purchased what will happen with your leech breading habitat.

This is how you’ll find leech cocoons on top of moss in the dry.

Because leech cocoons cant be submerged under water.

Maybe they can half way be submerged but not completely.

So then I’ll place this lid on and then I will use my poking device to make holes just like I have with my leech bucket.

Where I keep my leech collection.

I am going to make a few holes so lets find some easier.

That’s one hole two , three, four.

I’ve only done five just to demonstrate but you can actually cover this in holes.

I would say about thirty holes will be great maybe even more.
And so, now that I’ve set up my leech habitat I can easily transfer my leeches.

And of course leeches are all over the place.
But I’ve got some bigger leeches and smaller leeches.

I will I will pick out some of the bigger leeches.
They are probably pregnant.
Leeches do breed in a warm temperature in the spring time.

Leech will actually made in the spring but leech will lay cocoon probably end of spring beginning of summer.
Although I’ve heard has customers that’ve reported that when they bought pregnant leeches, that the leeches have actually given birth to cocoons in winter.
So my friend Lisa has reported that.
She bought from and her leeches delivered I think tree leech cocoons if I am not mistaken and hundreds of baby leeches inside.
So here leeches absolutely loving this environment.

This is the right moss this is the right set up for leeches.

This is perfect for leeches.
So now some of leeches are actually goes swimming in the water.

Some of the leeches will launch around on top of the dry moss.

Some of the Leeches will find the box, box space inside just swim around in dark.

Or to launch around or just sleep.
And so this is this is offering tree different kinds of environment for the leech.
Cold water, dark water and dry half dry half dry moss for leeches to breed on to lay cocoons on and to for the leech cocoon to hatch and for the little baby to hatchlings for the little baby leeches to come out of.
Each leech cocoon going to be very spongy egg, egg looking cocoon.

Its going to be a bit smaller that this or this size and it its going to be a bit smaller that this or this size and its going to be like sponge.
And you can actually even open it although I don’t recommend you opening leech cocoon because the hatchling inside, the babies that are going to be inside they are going to wait for the right time…

Look leeches are trying to bite me.

Oh no, they are going to wait for the right time to hatch out of this cocoon.

So its not up to you or anybody else to determine when leeches going to be hatching .

The little babies determination when this is going to take place.

And as you can see I have leeches everywhere.

This is the most lively bunch I’ve ever seen that I’ve gone all over the place.

But the all and up in this leech habitat after all and I am gonna to prepare to breed leeches this spring.
And so another way to breed leeches is to set up the same kind of habitat like this one but just for two leeches.

So you can put a male and female.
In fact leeches are hermaphrodite.
So any two leeches that you take, this one and this one for example you can put them in a habitat like this one exactly.
And just have the two of them here and they will eventually made.
And they will eventually one leech will get pregnant and will deliver cocoons.
So that’s how the process works.
Once baby leeches are hatched and they start swimming in the water and everything leeches will want to eat and the leeches eat by drinking blood.

That’s leech only food.

Leech don’t swallow worms or leech don’t do anything else.

Leeches just drink water, uh water, leeches just drink blood.

So what you can do is feed leeches here on your veins.

You can feed leeches on very very delicate places in your body.

To make sure that the little babies because leech cant bite everywhere.

Leeches can only bite in very delicate places.

So what I’ve seen people do is they will put the mother and the father leech on the finger and have them sucking from the finger.
Feeding leeches on the finger.

And then they will put the baby leeches in water and they will put that same finger in the water and the baby leeches will actually feed from the wound from the bite from the mother and the father leech.

So the baby leeches will have easy way of latching.

Otherwise leeches wount be able to.

And I think this cover just about everything as you can see all the leeches that I put in here they either starting to swim or leeches are actually are hiding because leeches love the dark.
Right now this is too bright for leeches.
And leeches already starting to find dig holes and find their way into the moss.

As I said heaven heaven for leeches its perfect.

I hope you’ve learned allot.
If you have any questions whats so ever on leech breading, on pregnant leeches on anything concerning leech habitats or feeding leeches or anything else, check out my other videos I’ve done close to sixty at this point where I teach you veryest different aspects of keeping leeches and also leech therapy.

And don’t forget to subscribe to my leech channel which is very important so you can follow all my videos automatically as they come out every week and you’ll get to learn allot.

Leech keeping and leech therapy takes a life time to learn so its important for you to get started right away on learning all the different veryest aspects of leeches.

Thank you for watching.

I hope you enjoy this video.

Please give it thumbs up, please subscribe below and I’ll see you next week on the next video.
From me Tsetsi and sunny London good bye.

Posted on 16 Mar 19:39

Leech Breeders' Guide to LEECH WATER CHANGING. Leech Care Tips.

Today I am going to show you as my collection has grown bigger how I change my leech water.

I called these “my wild beast” because there are so many of them and and they are just harder to keep up with, when they are so many.

As you can see there is a cloud, there is a cloud of skins inside that bucket of leeches.

They are very very lively and beautiful but they need water changing.

So thats what we are here for.

So all I do is open up my bucket.

I remove all the remaining leeches as you can see now.

You can do a close up and you can see that they are all trying to come out.

And some of them are trying to bite me .

And you have to move very fast if you want this water changing to be effective and  if you don’t wanna lose any leeches in sing or in a water or in a carpet.

Hello, all right.

So now that I’ve cleared out my bucked.

I’ve cleared out the sides of the bucket.

I will then use my strainer, my big leech strainer and I will you can zoom out, zoom in and see this skins flooding on the top.

Those skins have to be removed.

If they are not removed leeches will pretty much suffocated inside the bucked.

Then when I pour out the leeches I rotate, I rotate this strainer to help remove more of the skins and help clear them out even better.

And of course these are all coming out at the same time.

So you’ve gotta be like multitasker.

If you don’t want these to escape and if you don’t want these to escape you’ve got to multitask a little bit here.

So then what I do is that I put my big strainer on top of the container.

I see which ones are moving.

I then drop those.

So I take the ones from the top because those are alive and moving.

One of the main idea here is also to identify if you have any dead leeches in this hole bunch.

And they might be some.

So you can zoom in and you can see that there is skins stacked to the leeches and they might be some not alive but currently I do see any such leeches.

And they are all over the place and I don’t want them biting me so I have to hurry up.

I’ve identified one dead leech and I want to show you.

As I said I only put back in the bucket the alive leeches and anything that’s like down here and its not moving and might not be alive.

So I’ve seen one and here it is.

Its just, Its like rubber.

Its not moving its just sitting the siting still.

And I have in case you didn’t see what I did I separate it out here so I can throw it away later and I am still dealing with these crazy bunch.

They might be some other dead ones so thats why I am going a bit slower.

And also the suctions will not work if they are not alive.

So if you feel a leech and you are not sure if its alive pull on it.

If it’s got suction working.

If it suck, sucking to something, if it stuck to something with its suction that means its alive.

To thats a good sign.

Or if its hanging on a wall of a of a vessel of container like this one.

If its hanging on a wall and you are not sure if its alive or not.

Well I can tell you its alive.

Because If they are not alive they will be dropping to the bottom because their suction wont work.

And removing the dead leeches is essential from any any leech collections because they will start to rot and decay inside the container and they will also contaminate the water for the rest of the population.

They form the habitat in this bucket.

So this is sort of like a leech family right now.

And they all know each other.

They are familiar with each others particulars and they they are comfortable with each others.

So if you start mixing them up with another leeches they will they will make the water dirty much faster because they are not familiar with the new leeches.

And thats why its good to keep them as a family.

And what I did was just rinds out this big strainer.

All my family of leeches is escaping at the same time and I have to contain them.

Damage control, come on you can do it.

You are fast enough.

All right so now that I think I’ve got it almost all.

Now what I did was I help them wast themselves even more by turning on the water flosser that’s highest.

And just making a very heavy stream of water to wash them even more and then I trying put the rest back in.

Close the lid really tight and secure all four sights.

And Voalla we now have ourselves a nice clean beautiful container of big container with big leech collection and of course I still have a  couple of more that I that I’ve missed.

And we are done.

Thanks for tuning in.

I hope you enjoy this presentation.

Be sure to subscribe.

Give this video thumb up.

And comment if you have any question.

And I will see you again next week again in sunny London.

And from me Tsetsi good buy for now.

Posted on 16 Mar 19:38