Giant, Flesh-Eating Leech Filmed Swallowing Earthworm In Nightmarish Footage

Larger than most leeches, the giant red leech has grown beyond simply drawing blood, and instead swallows its prey whole.

A giant leech, unclassified by science, was recently filmed attacking and eating an earthworm, sucking down the unfortunate creature like a piece of spaghetti.

As The Telegraph notes, the leech is so new to science that it hasn’t yet been assigned a taxonomic classification. The tribes of Mount Kinabalu in the jungles of Borneo refer to it as the “Giant Red Leech,” and as one of the biggest in the world, the creature has grown so large it no longer simply drains blood from its prey. Rather, the leech, which experts believe can grow larger than the 30cm specimen that was caught on camera, ingests the worm whole.

The Giant Red Leech was filmed for the first time by a BBC crew, recording footage for their new series Wonders of the Monsoon. As io9 notes, the leech filmed was only half the size of the earthworm it consumed, which was 78 cm in length. Following the worm’s scent like a sniffer dog, the leech moved its lips over its prey’s body, searching for an end.

“It was either searching for an end to grab, or was working out whether it was too big to eat,” Director Paul Williams said. “When it found an end it started to suck. It was incredible.”

Despite the worm’s efforts to escape, its fate was sealed, as the leech began to swallow it. The worm attempted to pull away, yet eventually its full length disappeared into the leech.

In order to track down and film the elusive species atop Borneo’s tallest mountain, the film crew worked with ecologist Alim Bium, following the worms in order to locate their predator. After several weeks of filming, an exceptionally large rainstorm brought the worms to the Earth’s surface, and the red leeches weren’t far behind them.

“Very little is known about them,” Bium noted, adding, “we don’t know how they hunt, or even how big they grow, because no one has researched them.”

While the Giant Red Leech exhibits an unusual method of predation, it is hardly the first to be recently caught on film. As The Inquisitr previously noted, a pod of Killer Whales off Costa Rica were caught on video cornering, toying with, and eventually devouring, a tiger shark.

When Wonders of the Monsoon airs on October 5, viewers will be able to witness the many ways animals adapt to survive the storms, in addition to the worm’s losing battle with the Giant Red Leech.

[Image via The Telegraph]