Beware of the lecherous leech….

I stepped onto the slippery smooth forest floor trying to avoid all the elephant poo. Our tour guide, Wasil, took us into the Sabah rain forest. It was unfortunately a steaming hot sweltering day and as a 10-year-old, I was not looking forward to hiking.

Before our little trek, Wasil told us to wear these special boots to protect us from mud and a mysterious creature called a leech. I had no clue what it was and Wasil carried a machete strapped to his left leg, which really started to worry me.
The forest was completely motionless and no breeze came through at all. I was sweating like a pig. It was no easy terrain and soon enough our boots were covered in mud and grit.

A short time later, I saw Wasil strangely scanning a small plant and I wondered what he was looking at. As I approached him, I saw a tiny worm like creature no more than the length of your pinkie. Wasil in a cautious voice said, “Be Careful. That’s a leech.”
I let out a laugh and started teasing Wasil, “What?! That’s a leech. HAHA we had to wear these big boots because you’re scared of that little thing!”

He started to scare me when he told me how they suck on people’s blood and can grow up to 10 times their normal size like a bloated ballon. We then saw another one that was a lot longer and fatter. Wasil said it was a tiger leech which had been feeding on someone/something’s blood. That started to really, really worry me.

We carried on trekking, trying to avoid the elephant poo and the scary leeches. The density of the forest became a lot thicker, so at one point, Wasil whipped out his machete to hack away the thorny creepers and the thick shrubs. However, the rest of the hike was uneventful. All I heard were peaceful sounds of birds whistling and crickets chirping….

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Pygmy Elephants in the Sandakan rain forest
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Elephant poo with mushrooms growing on it

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” I heard Wasil’s disturbing cry echoing through the forest. My parents and I quickly rushed to his aid. “I think a leech managed to make its way into my pants,” Wasil said nervously.
I started to mock him, “Really? Come on Wasil it’s just a little leech. Why are you such a scaredy cat!”
Mum scolded me and she instinctively said, “Wasil take off your pants…” My dad gave her a funny look and I was just giggling and grinning.

Wasil lifted up his leg and we saw a hole in his pants near his thigh. So that’s how the lecherous leech must have got in. He pulled down his pants and his face went bright red. What came next was even funnier. Wasil was wearing bright orange undies and it was just mega embarrassing for him and cringe-worthy for us. It would’ve turned out even worse as my mum was going to start looking for the leech in his undies. But all three of us yelled simultaneously at her, ‘NO!!!’

This was a day in the tropical rain forest that I will never ever forget.

 

 

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