View from Ella Rock

Leeches at Ella, Sri Lanka

It was quite nice weather one January morning when we decided to go for the trip to Ella Rock. A couple of hours later after walking on the rails, looking for the right path between tea plantations, moving upward(s) through the forest on a steep hill, we finally reached Ella Rock. We barely took a few pictures when it started to rain.

Railway from Ella

Some people were equipped with plastic raincoats (how smart!) unlike us. So we decided to hide under the tree for a while till the rain stops. It did not stop. Moreover, the light rain turned into raining cats and dogs. We were waiting under the tree more than twenty minutes without any change of the situation.

View from Ella Rock

From all the sudden I felt that something bit me into my ankle. Firstly I thought it must have been an ent however I took a note of two little dots which did not look like ants. I tried to shake them off but it was impossible. Since it held tight on my skin, the first thing that crossed my mind was that it could have been leeches. But then I thought to myself that leeches it could not since leeches are bigger and live in the water… Or maybe not? And how the hell they could get all the way up to my ankle?

Truth was that there was enough water at that moment. So I did some Google research — and yes. Leeches can be found in the woods and may attack you when raining. I also found out that the Ella rock area is full of them!

Ella Rock Woods

After a short while those two little black dots were double of their size so even without searching on Google, it was clear was going on. They were really leeches.

Well, what now. Trying to take leeches off wouldn’t be the best idea since its head could remain stuck on my leg which would cause even bigger trouble. There was no better solution than leaving back to civilisation in the case of all of my blood being sucked out by leeches. We have already soaked anyway.

Ella Rock Woods

It was still raining heavily on the way back. There was no need for hiding from the rain anymore since nothing stayed dried on us. Everything was soaked — including shoes and an underwear. The only one thing I was worried about was that we couldn’t hear anything in case of the train coming since even on the way back we walked on the rails for quite a long time.

Railway from Ella

After buying some bananas and rotti we arrived at the guesthouse absolutely exhausted. A few hours later, the rain finally stopped so we could head out for a dinner.

Approximately in the middle of the way I felt that familiar pain again. No, it can’t be a leech again, everything is almost dry! Well, yes, it was. And this one was 2 centimetres big! It bit me between my fingers on the foot. Yes, I had flip flops on since my second and final pair of shoes was still completely soaked from the trip.

Ella Rock Woods

Before we reached the restaurant, the second leech bit me in my thigh! I started to panic seeing it could get so high. Could it get into my panties? Or even behind the neck? I felt like leeches would follow me forever. Both parasites were already so big and still growing!

I felt very anxious in the restaurant. Was it even allowed to take there such huge animals? It looked truly disgusting.

The first one fell off after the dinner. The wound was bleeding heavily and for a long time. I used all my tissues making it stop.

My friend Lukáš forbid me to enter the room with any other leeches on me. Luckily I did not. The wound was still bleeding a bit, though. Next morning we found one of them approx. 10 cm long on the wall in a bathroom. I did not take my eyes off the leeches while having a shower, watching its every move. After the breakfast, we set on the way to Lipton’s Seat. Luckily it was our last night in that area.

View from Ella Rock

It was the first and the last time I met a leech on Srí Lanka. Actually the last time ever from then on.

A few things I learned about leeches:

  • Leeches can be small even big ones. Sooner or later after feeding themselves by your blood, they will leave.
  • Leeches hate soap. I got this advice from locals later. Unfortunately, I had no soap by me in the moment of need so the next time I definitely take a small bottle of liquid soap with me.
  • I felt every leech attack. It was not a strong pain but you definitely notice. For me, it was a relief to know that I could not have any leeches on me without noticing.
  • Leeches are very picky. Meanwhile, I had several of them on me, my friend Lukáš, with whom I went all way, had none.

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