Mungo and I set out on a mission of discovery. We would know every blade of grass on our place by the time we finished our daily walks. I revelled in the land although thick lantana covered much of the non-paddock area. A long way beyond the chicken house we discovered a dam and although there were lots of floating plants it was large and it was full. The other dam visible to us from the house always looked as though it needed a good amount of rain to fill it. From this dam it seemed as though we had a creek bed, not dry but not running either. This meandered through the property from the dam to our northern boundary fence. This dampness made it the perfect habitat for leeches and they were in abundance here. The first time Mungo and I walked in this area I was unaware of the problem. It wasn’t long before I felt the familiar irritation I suffer and discovered I had numerous of the suckers crawling into my socks and shoes. There was little I could do about it except high-tail it out of the area as quickly as possible for to stop would have just been an open invitation to many more of the slimy, red-black, bloodsucking worm-like creatures to hitch a ride. Not having the means with me to remove the sucking parasites my best hope was to leave the area, remove those not yet latched on and head for home to the salt-cellar. Luckily, I managed to remove all but one which had managed to attach itself in the arch of my foot. When we arrived home I covered it in salt and watched with a deal of satisfaction as it quickly detached, agonised shortly then shrivelled in death. A little later I noticed that there was large amounts of blood on the timber floors.
“Are you bleeding?” I called to Rod.
“No. You probably missed a leech somewhere”
“I don’t think so”. I was in bare feet and I could see nothing coming from that direction.
“Mungo,” we both cried in unison. On examination the blood was indeed coming from him. I had not thought that he would be affected by the creatures and had not examined him. Now doing so I discovered he was bleeding from puncture wounds found in several of the soft fleshy pockets between his toes. Salt was not required as the offending suckers had already had their fill and detached, the anticoagulant they had injected still having an effect.
irene waters © 2013
Oh, Mungo! Good piece, Irene.
Your story about mungo and the leeches makes for a good tale