Leeches – On any rainforest walk, the subject of leeches invariably comes up. Actually, you may not encounter any of these slimy little vampires while walking through the Malaysian jungle, but if the trail is leafy and it’s been raining, chances are you’ll be preyed upon.
The local leeches are maddeningly tiny – so small in fact, they can squeeze through tight-knit socks. They don’t stay tiny for long, however, since once leech has attached to your skin, it won’t let go until it has sucked as much as blood as it can hold.
Only then will will the bloated, sated little parasite release itself and make its way back to the forest floor. Your souvenir of the experience will be bloody, but consider it a flesh wound.Two species are common in Taman Negara; the brown leeches and tiger leech. The tiger leech is recognizable by its cream and black stripe, but you’ll probably feel before you see it. Unlike the brown leech, whose suction is painless, tiger leeches sting a bit. Brown leeches hang around on, or near, the forest floor, waiting to grab onto passing boots or pants. Tiger leeches lurk on the leaves of small trees and tend to attack between the waist and neck, and that can mean any orifice there and around. Keep your shirt tucked in.Leeches are harmless, but bites can become infected. Prevention is better than the cure and opinion varies on what work best.
Insect repellent on feet, shoes and socks work temporarily; loose tobacco in your shoes and socks are also helps. Better yet, invest in some leech-proof socks, which are kind tropical gaiter that covers the foot and boot heel and fastens below knees.Safe and effective ways to dislodge leeches include flicking them of sideways (pulling a leech off by the tail might make it dig in harder), burning them with a cigarette (though you may burn yourself as well), or sprinkling salt on them. Tiger balm, iodine or medicated menthol oil (a common brand is the Axe Brand Universal oil- “minyak Cap Kapak”) will also get leeches off. High-pitched screaming!!! doesn’t seems to affect them much. Succumb to your fate as a reluctant blood donor and they will eventually drop off.