In seconds, its teeth will cut through your skin. Its suckers will stick into your raw meat, draining blood from your body. And there are millions of them! Could you survive this? Let’s see.
There are about 650 species of leeches. They can be as small as 15 mm (0.6 in) long or as large as 45 cm (18 in), like the Giant Amazon Leech. They have a sucker at both ends of their body. One of them contains the mouth, which secretes a strange type of saliva that numbs its prey.
So, you won’t even notice when they bite into you and start sucking your blood. The saliva will also dilate the blood vessels to increase blood flow, so they can drink and drink again, until they quench their thirst for blood.
How many leeches would it take to kill you? How long would it take them? And how could they sneak into your intestines?
Step 1: Freeze
The average pool holds about 28,000 liters (6,400 gal) of water. But this time, the pool is filled with 9 million thirsty leeches. So, don’t make any sudden moves. Leeches use the disturbances in the water to find their victims. Juveniles generally attach to fish and amphibians. But adult leeches, like these ones, prefer luscious, juicy mammals, like you. So, hold your breath and don’t move.
Step 2: Cover your cavities.
Leeches eat slowly, so it can take them up to 45 minutes to quench their thirst. And they carefully choose where they will bite you. They typically target the groin, between the toes, armpits, and hard-to-notice crevices. And remember, their numbing saliva will prevent you from feeling the bite and realizing that leeches are draining your blood. They can even get stuck inside your mouth and nostrils and kill you by suffocation. So, cover your crevices and don’t open your mouth.
Step 3: Do the math
A human adults has about 5 liters (1.3 gal) of blood in their body. An adult leech drinks 5 to 15 ml (0.84-2.5 tsp) of blood per meal. It would take over 300 of these little bloodsuckers to suck you dry, but humans can’t survive after losing 40% of their blood. So it would only take about 120 leeches to kill you.
In 2008, a 65-year-old man in Turkey rushed to an emergency room due to unstoppable bleeding. Doctors found 130 leech bites all over his body. Fortunately, the man survived after receiving eight units of frozen plasma. Would you mind counting how many leeches have already attached to your body?
Step 4: Don’t Rip Them Off
Don’t panic and try to rip them off your body as they hook into your skin, which would seriously hurt you. Common remedies include putting salt, lemon, or fire on them to force them off, but that would make them vomit on you, and possibly infect you with bacteria.
Instead, find the leech’s mouth. It’s on the thinnest part of its body. Use your fingernail, credit card, or a sharp object and gently push the mouth out of your body. Do the same with the sucker on the leech’s other end. Then wash the wound and apply alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to prevent an infection.
Step 5: Don’t take a sip.
If you’re swimming, and water splashes into your mouth or nose, leeches can enter your body and feed on your blood. In Africa, people have died from anemia caused by drinking leech-infested water.
In 2004, a 15-year-old girl in Tanzania had severe anemia and cardiorespiratory distress. After three days in the hospital, she vomited, and a small water leech came out. Doctors concluded that she drank it from a leech-infested water source without even realizing it. After barfing out the leech, she began to recover. So, don’t take a single sip of questionable water.
On the waters of the Amazon, an ancient world flows below your feet. But make a wrong move, and part of this world may end up inside you. Better get out of the water.
These parasitic catfish, and their scavenger cousins, lurk in the basin of the Amazon River The Candiru, the smallest fish of this family at 2.5 cm (1 in), feast on the blood of larger fish by attaching to their gills.
And if you believe the local legends, they could attach themselves to a surprising part of your body. So if you’re surrounded by a school of candiru, is your urethra at risk? How long will this creature live on you? And could a candiru drain your blood?
Almost 7,000 km (4,350 miles) long, the Amazon River is the largest freshwater system on Earth. Two-thirds of the world’s species of animals and plants depend on this waterway to survive. But your survival depends on following these steps.
Step 1: Wear a Swimsuit
It’s been said that the candiru hunt by smell. And the smell that attracts them the most? Urine. Local residents, and even some websites, spread the belief that after this fish smells urine in the water, it swims toward and then up the urethra.
Then, the parasite supposedly lives inside the urinary tract of this unwilling host.
This claim has long been contested by researchers, due to a lack of evidence.
But that doesn’t mean this little creature can’t hurt you in other ways. This transparent fish erects short spines to lodge itself onto hosts. And after attaching to your skin, it begins feeding on your blood.
While the inside of your orifices might be safe from this attack, your exposed skin could invite danger. So make sure to wear swimwear that fully protects you, if you want to keep your body off the menu.
Step 2: Swim to Shore
These fish may not prey on victims through scent, but they can detect movement.
If you’re in a large pool of candiru, stay still, and you may stay off their radar.
Try tossing a nearby object away from you to disrupt the water. But if this fish does attach itself to you, try moving to the shore.
Since it can’t live very long out of the water, this parasite will die if it remains on your skin.
Step 3: Wait it Out
People say that “good things come to those who wait. If you have the stomach for it, and don’t want to remove a candiru, you might want to let this parasite feed.
A candiru will feast for about 30 to 145 seconds. When it’s had its fill, this little fish will turn red from eating your blood, and swim away.
Step 4: Pull it Off
If you’re not the patient type though, roll up your sleeves. You have some work to do. If the fish has made it into your mouth, nose, or ears, rinse the area with alcohol.
If it’s in a more, uh, visible place, brace yourself for a bit of pain. These little spines will tear at your skin when you remove them. Aim for the head, and pull hard.
If you’re feeling more rugged, grab an object with a flat, sharp edge, like a small knife or a credit card. Try sliding the object under the head to cut off the spines. And if you’re not up for that idea, don’t underestimate the effect of a good slap.
Step 5: Seek Medical Attention
So let’s go over this again. The urethra isn’t large enough to let the fish get inside you. A candiru doesn’t inject a host body with any anticoagulants, so you won’t bleed after it lets go.But whether you successfully removed the parasite or not, your wound could become infected.
Treat the wounded area with alcohol, and seek medical attention immediately. No one can deny the allure of this mysterious corner of our planet.But don’t take the beauty of this area for granted.
Hire local guides as escorts through the river and the jungle. And make sure to cover-up properly while you’re swimming, and prevent any unwanted visitors from hitching a ride on your body. But, maybe because candiru are so small, you’re having a hard time taking them seriously as a threat.
So what if we upped the threat level to something with more of a bite to it? You might have been brave a moment ago, but how are you going to survive piranhas?
Don’t swim away.
When you hear this music, you know the first thing that comes to mind, right? But, did you know that there’s an even deadlier creature lurking in the depths? Something that can kill you in a matter of minutes., with excruciating pain.?
They’re difficult to see, and their 10-foot long barbed tentacles contain venom that’s so lethal it’s considered to be one of the deadliest creatures on Earth.
What is a box jellyfish? What part of the world can you find them? If someone gets stung, should you pee on them? If you want to survive this lethal attack, follow these steps.
Step 1: Run
OK, swim. You’ll want to get away as fast as you can. Box jellyfish are intentional swimmers, meaning they can propel themselves in your direction, unlike other kinds of jellyfish that simply float along with the current. Scientists have identified more than 2,000 types of jellyfish, 50 kinds of box jellyfish. And being stung by one can kill you. A study of stinging incidents on a Thai beach found that six out of 15 were deadly.
If you do get stung, at first it will first feel like you’ve been bitten, but there will be not be any evidence of an attacker. The sting will have come from the jellyfish’s tentacles, which make jellyfish Mother Nature’s stinging machines. Each tentacle contains thousands of stinging cells. Go deeper, and you’ll find nematocysts.
Inside each nematocyst is a stinging thread, coiled and ready to be launched. They can fire a microscopic harpoon at 60 km/h (37 mph). Inside that harpoon is a spiny, hollow tube that injects the venom into its victim.
Now, you’ll need to get medical attention right away. In only three minutes, a box jellyfish sting can be fatal. Your heart is about to start racing as your body freaks out and shuts down. Muscle spasms, extreme fatigue, and confusion will set in quickly, and you’ll have difficulty breathing.
Scientist Angel Yanagihara suffered this horrific sting in 1997, in Hawaii, while studying for her Ph.D. Only 500 m (1,640 feet) offshore, she swam into a swarm of box jellyfish. It was early, before dawn, and she didn’t see a thing. But she felt the stinging in her neck and arms, and her lungs felt like they were on fire and starting to collapse.
Miraculously, she made her way back to shore. And three days later, after recovering enough to get out of bed, she decided to dedicate her life to studying these jellyfish and help save people from their fatal venom.
Step 2: Remove the Stingers
You’ll need to work quickly to find and remove the stingers. If you’re the person doing the removing, use tweezers, a credit card, or some other tool. You don’t want to come in contact with the venom. Removing the stingers will also prevent more poison from entering the person’s bloodstream. Don’t use fresh water on the wounds because that will make the pain even worse.
Treat the wounded areas with vinegar. This won’t be difficult as the stinging tentacles will leave thick, rope-like marks on the victim’s body. The vinegar will help stop the venom from spreading and provide some pain relief. And, I don’t care what you’ve read or seen on the internet, DO NOT PEE ON THE VICTIM!.
This is an urban myth, it does NOT work., and it’s gross. The victim has enough problems right now. The ammonia and urea, in pee, can help some stings if they’re applied separately to the wounds. But our pee contains so much water that it would likely inflict more pain.
A 10-year-old Australian boy was stung by a box jellyfish, but under very fortunate circumstances. He was in the middle of a swimming lesson and surrounded by lifeguards. He was about 50 m (164 feet) offshore when he was stung. Immediately, he was brought back to the beach and given oxygen as other lifeguards poured vinegar on his wounds.
He was taken to a nearby hospital with an elevated heart rate but stabilized shortly after that. After an ECG and some ibuprofen, he had a hot shower and was released within a few hours.
Step 3: Avoid them in the first place
Knowing the dangers of these creatures, where they live, and how they behave will go a long way in preventing this from happening. Box jellyfish can be found a few hundred meters (or feet) offshore. They live in all oceans, some freshwater lakes, and ponds. The most lethal species are found in northern Australia. Scientists consider them to be the most venomous marine animal.
They have an incredible range in size, from the size of a thimble to a diameter of 2.4 m(8 ft). Their tentacles can stretch for more than 60 m (200 ft) in length.
Box jellyfish are known to kill, on average, one person each year in Australia, and up to six in the Philippines.
But, if you stay away from warmer water, where these killers hang out, they’re not something you’d necessarily have to worry about. So, do you still think that sharks are the deadliest predator? These jellyfish are nearly invisible in the water, don’t leave blood behind when they attack, and they can kill you much faster than Jaws ever could.