Land Leeches Invade Residential Japan

Blood-thirsty Yamabiru (or, land leeches) are making their way from isolation in the mountains to towns and villages on the backs of deer and boar. The leeches are about 1.5 cm long, but grow 5 to 10 times that size after feasting on human flesh. The effects of being bitten include swelling, itching, and general discomfort. Not to mention general disgust at having your blood sucked out of you.

Re-forestation is cited as one cause of the mini-vampire invasion; the mammals on which they hitch a ride have seen a spike in population growth recently. Shigekazu Tani, director of Japan’s Institute for Environmental Culture, offers some solutions: “We can cut down trees and mow long grass to dissuade wild animals from coming too close, and create sunny habitats that are inhospitable to leeches. We can also spread pesticides that kill the leeches.”

“Or we can just tough it out.”

[via Reuters]