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The Giant Leech and Giant Worm in Kinabalu Park, Borneo, Malaysia



The Kinabalu Giant Earthworm is one of the awe-inspiring creatures. A full 70 cm long when stretched-out, the animal is not your average garden worm. It is grey-bluish and lives in burrows in the soft and thick soils that build lush forest around Paka Cave shelter, at some 3,000 m above sea level.



They only come to the surface during heavy pour rain. Some possible reasons might be they are flushed out of their burrows, and need to come to the surface to breathe; or the worms appear during rain to mate. It is still unclear why. Whatever the reason was, an encounter with a giant earthworm during the pouring rain is unforgotten. Its skin is surprisingly beautiful, with microscopic hairs producing a greenish iridescent gloss over the bluish-grey background.



Along the same forest paths where the earthworm sometimes gleaned, it is also the Kinabalu Giant Earthworm's worst nightmare - the rare Kinabalu Giant Red Leech. This Giant red leech is bright orange-red and can be up to 10 inches (~26cm) in length when it is fully stretched. Almost nothing is known about it and its habits, rest assures that it is not a blood sucker.





Somehow, they have nothing to be fear off. The Kinabalu Giant Red Leech will only attack and eat the Kinabalu Giant Earthworm. Apparently, it appears to feed on the giant grey-blue Kinabalu earth-worm and live in damp earth and leaves in crack between the rocks.


Similarly as the Giant Earth-Worm, the Kinabalu Giant Red Leech can be found at 2,500-3,000 meters altitude whereby the trail runs over a rocky outcrop near to the Mempening and Paka Cave shelter, and it is only during or after a heavy pouring rain.



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