Yorkshire’s giant leeches

Leech found by Graham Sheperd

Leech found by Graham Sheperd

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Graham Shepherd was in touch with a tale of giant leeches. ‘You may be interested in the attached pictures of what is clearly a leech, found in a Stocksbridge garden.

Leeches in my own pond do not come on land, are much smaller and semi-transparent. This one is capable of changing length between one and six inches as shown but bigger ones have been seen at the same place. They anchor down at the thick end and extend the pointed end out. The strange thing is that they are on land where there are no ponds in close proximity, just a small land drain nearby. Do we have any terrestrial leeches in our area? Are they harmless?’

This is undoubtedly the horse leech, haemopis sanguisuga, which, despite the name, does not attack horses.


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