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Ouroboros Leech

Limitless applications!
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(+8, -2)
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I have heard it reported that if you cut the "tail" of a still sucking leech, it will continue to suck endlessly, as it will not become engorged. If this is the case, then it might be possible to take a number of so-cut leeches and stitch them together, human centipede-wise, but going beyond that and creating a sort of perpetually sucking Ouroboros, full to firmness of bulging pulsing blood circulating through leech mouth and "anus" and mouth and "anus" and so on and so forth for, anecdotal evidence suggests, at least six months.
calum, Dec 14 2011

I've got this terrible feeling of déjà vu Retirement_20home_20for_20leeches
[calum, Dec 14 2011]

On a "beasts connected" tip, here's Elephants-on-a-rope Elephants-on-a-rope
do as thumbwax says [calum, Dec 14 2011]

worm_20train [hippo, Dec 19 2011]

Apologies for self-churn, but this is where I heard about the endless sucking of snipped leeches. self_20milking_20cow
thanks to mouseposture! [calum, Apr 10 2012]


       Would make a nice bracelet. +
xenzag, Dec 14 2011

       Anecdotal you say? Good enough for me.
AusCan531, Dec 14 2011

       Yay! Definitely! In fact, dead leeches could maybe be re-animated for this purpose too. The next question is, how fast is leech peristalsis? Probably depends on the ambient temperature.
nineteenthly, Dec 14 2011

       This might be useful as a training exercise for microsurgeons -- but the idea is more beautiful without any justification at all.
mouseposture, Dec 14 2011

       I see a cheap way to build an oil pipeline...
RayfordSteele, Dec 14 2011

       One would think that leech on leech predation would already happen if it worked.
bungston, Dec 14 2011

       It does. I've had leeches on me that had other, smaller leeches sucking them dry.
Alterother, Dec 14 2011

       Bonus points for inserting other blood-eaters (e.g. a Vampire Bat) into the chain.
hippo, Dec 15 2011

       Charm bracelet.
nineteenthly, Dec 15 2011

       //Charm bracelet.//   

       Nay, the .5b Christmas garland. Happy holidays, everyone!
swimswim, Dec 15 2011

       Now and then adding a jolly Newt would spice up the strand.
RayfordSteele, Dec 15 2011

       It'd make a good Hallowe'en wreath.
nineteenthly, Dec 15 2011

       I wonder whether similar plumbing techniques be used to modify a fountain pen, replacing the cartidge, sack, or piston with one of these creatures, providing a reliable and constant source of 'ink' - direct from the writer so to speak - for those longer (and more specialist) documents that require to be so written in an autosanguineous manner.   

       Which leads me to an idea...
zen_tom, Dec 15 2011

       Do it, do it, do it.
theleopard, Dec 15 2011

       Until now, I've never encountered a totally satisfactory fountain-pen-filling mechanism.
mouseposture, Dec 16 2011

       Ingeniously macabre. [+]   

       The concept of blood-pumping organic leech tubing is intriguing and pretty horrifying, but a leech ouroboros just takes the cake.   

       Also, possibly useful for blood-drawing. According to my quick internet research, leech bites aren't very painful, so if there was some way to make the inside of a leech sterile of harmful bacteria then leech-tubing could prove a genuinely viable alternative to those who like the idea of donating but hate needles. (I'm sure there's someone else who is more scared of needles than of being sucked on by a Frankensteined leech chain, right? Right?)   

       The question with these is how to keep them alive over a prolonged period. I doubt the six- months figure, so one could perhaps keep the back end of a leech chain unsnipped and engorge the whole chain with some large amount of acceptable blood substitute (Nutrient-enriched saline?) When it comes time to use, snip open the back of the leech chain and drain the fluid.
Hive_Mind, Dec 18 2011

       The flow of the vertebrate blood is into the leech. I'm not sure how much "blowback" there is, but it's not enough to cause a problem for bloodletting in hygienic conditions, so really, i can't see a problem here except that it might take a while to dry. It would have to do so by oxidation and evaporation rather than clotting.
nineteenthly, Dec 18 2011

       nineteenthly, as you are our resident leech expert, I have for you a question: when a leech sucks, does it gulp, or sip, and if it gulps would the gulps themselves (or perhaps any peristalsis) result in the leech (or ouborous leech) bulging or pulsing? Because if it would, then that bulge could be harnessed to create traction, giving rise to the possibility of a leechring driven mass transit system.
calum, Dec 19 2011

       <cough!> - (see link)
hippo, Dec 19 2011

       I'll get round to it [calum]. Just need to fish about in the front room to answer your question.   

       [Hippo], now i can't get the song "Love Train" out of my head.   

       Right, [calum] i can tell you one thing straight off: it's unlikely that any animal with a body cavity is going to do much pulsing on the outside as a result of peristalsis because the existence of the coelom results in more efficient movement of gut contents. Therefore, i imagine pulsations of the body wall would be inefficient. When i say "unlikely", i mean that i have a low degree of belief that that's true which i see as rational.
nineteenthly, Dec 19 2011

       Thank you, nineteenthly. Hm. I shall have to go back to that particular drawingboard.
calum, Dec 19 2011

       Well, you could skin the leeches and leave their support systems intact, but i think you'd have insufficient traction or you'd destroy the leech. Maybe replace their skin with velcro or something sticky? They might turn out to be quite sticky already once you've skinned them.
nineteenthly, Dec 19 2011

       Or just turn the leech inside-out - like a sock.
hippo, Dec 19 2011

       Yes, perfect!
calum, Dec 19 2011

       This idea sponsored by Dr Hoffmann. Owner of the biggest leech farm in Europe.
DrBob, Dec 19 2011

       //"biggest leech"// - big enough to be used as socks?
hippo, Dec 19 2011

       You only think you're kidding. I've seen some huge leeches right here in Maine, like 8-9" long and thicker than my thumb. I'm sure even bigger ones exist somewhere else.
Alterother, Dec 20 2011

       [Hippo], whereas i think that would very probably work it would probably involve temporarily paralysing the leech and it would be a very slippery process.   

       [Alterother], the horse leeches i used to keep were pretty massive but because i was a child, the scale seemed bigger. Those are three hundred millimetres long when extended and mainly terrestrial. Haementeria ghillania is almost half a metre in length, but that's not actually that much bigger than a horse leech, so i'm not very impressed by that fact really.
nineteenthly, Dec 20 2011

       // I'm sure even bigger ones exist somewhere //   

       They do. Go look though the window of the Accounts Department when they think no humans are around, and take their costumes off for a bit.
8th of 7, Dec 20 2011

       Actually, half a meter is considerably larger than 300mm, at least to my mind. 50cm is almost 20"; that's one fuckin' huge leech. Definitely big enough to use as a sock or a festive holiday decoration.
Alterother, Dec 20 2011

       // a festive holiday decoration //   

       Strange festivals you must have… presumaby a Wicker Man and blood sacrifices are included?
8th of 7, Dec 20 2011

       Less than twice as long. Presumably the minimum leech sock size is a smidge longer than the minimum human foot size.
nineteenthly, Dec 20 2011

       // Strange festivals you must have… presumaby a Wicker Man and blood sacrifices are included? //   

       Not anymore. Anyway, I didn't say it was _my_ holiday, did I?
Alterother, Dec 20 2011

       Instead of merely insideouting the leech for use as a sock, you could stitch two together, such that they form a leech doughnut, which could suck its way up your foot and well-turned ankle, thus releiving you of the tedium of being actively involved in the donning of your socks.
calum, Dec 20 2011

       While conveniently exsanguinating your lower leg at the same time. Practical _and_ fun!
Alterother, Dec 20 2011

       How about leeches which wrap themselves around one's limbs and torso Boa constrictor style, thus removing the need to be involved in getting dressed at all?
nineteenthly, Dec 20 2011

       As long as nobody even thinks of using one of these as a contraceptive sleeve device...
JeanLuc159, Apr 02 2012


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