Storage of Leeches

STORAGE OF LEECHES

To maintain healthy leeches, change the water every other day. Use distilled, non-chlorinated or bottled water.

If you use water that has been stripped of its mineral content, such as reverse osmosis water or some brands of distilled water, add 2 grams of HIRUDO salt for each gallon water. Prior to replacement, check and maintain the same water temperature. HIRUDO® salt is to be used only as additive to the water in which the live leeches are kept or stored.

CAUTION: leeches are heat sensitive. Water should be no hotter than 45 F. Do not use chlorinated tap water.

Temperature: Keep leeches cool, 42-45 F (5-7 C). Avoid temperatures above 68 F (20 C) and never place them in direct sunlight. When used in heated hospital wards, take special care to keep leeches in a cool place. Avoid sudden changes in temperature when transferring leeches from one container to another.

Container: Since leeches are amphibious and like to crawl about, a lid is essential. Perforations are advised, but they must be very small because the elastic leech body is capable of going through remarkably small openings. A cloth cover tightly secured with string, rubber band or tape is useful. Do not overcrowd - no more than 50 leeches should be in a
2-gallon container.

Disposal: Some hospitals use the incinerator, after narcotization in 70% alcohol, to dispose of leeches.