Man lets leeches suck up to a pint of his blood at a time after claiming it's making him live longer

Man lets leeches suck up to a pint of his blood at a time after claiming it's making him live longer

When it comes to the subject of pets, we humans can be pretty hypocritical. What one person finds cute and cuddly, another person will find strange and nauseating. For example, there are plenty of people out there who think that pugs are the most adorable breed of dog on the planet; whereas personally, I think that they look like ugly mutants and I'd hate to have one in my house.

Still, there are millions of people out there who love them, and they can't all be wrong. I suppose it's all just down to personal taste. But even then, I think that most people would baulk at the idea of having gigantic, bloodsucking leeches as pets, or at the idea of letting them feed on you.

Yet that's exactly the life that therapist Ariane Khomjani leads, and he regularly feeds his 15-inch-long buffalo leeches up to a pint of his own blood. What's more, the 22-year-old (who hails from Walnut Creek, California) thinks that his leeches are adorable, and claims that the feeding sessions reinvigorate him.

Ariane Khomjani with his smartphone and a pet leech. Credit: Press Association

Ariane also keeps a number of other weird and exotic pets, including four eight-foot anaconda snakes and a carnivorous Galapagos centipede. He kept various lizards, bugs and other creepy-crawlies throughout his youth. But when he moved out of his parent's house his obsession with out-there pets got more and more extreme. He was inspired to purchase his own leeches after watching a YouTube video of a giant buffalo leech sucking a man’s blood, and thus he purchased three larval leeches from a dealer in Holland for $60.

Commenting on his bizarre health practice in a recent interview, Ariane stated: "People are only scared of what they don’t understand. In fact, there are so many medicinal uses to leech feeding that we in the West are now only starting to realise. Having leeches suck your blood can help with circulation, arthritis, complexion and even extend your lifespan. I play a lot of tennis and if ever I have any soreness in my arms, I put a leech on and the pain goes away – it’s incredible."

"People often say to me that keeping these sorts of pets is dangerous, that I should watch out because one day the snakes might start sizing me up, or the leeches might bleed me dry. But, once they become comfortable with you, they’re not dangerous at all. I’ve raised them all since they were small enough to wrap around my little finger and they mean a lot to me, like they are my kids."

He added: "I’ve tried all sorts of places on my legs and arms. Now I usually just do my left arm, because they’ve got used to feeding there. The initial bite, when they are attaching themselves to you, can hurt. It feels a bit like thousands of tiny needles pricking your skin. But once they’re on, it feels fine and there’s a very relieving sensation to it."

"Having a snake or a leech is not like having a dog or a cat because they don’t actively seek your affection. But I’m at a stage with them now where they feel completely happy with me being around them and don’t feel threatened by me. That’s the highest form of respect you can have from them. “Some people might think it’s weird keeping these sorts of pets, because they think of them as scary or creepy. But I always say to them, ‘Before you get scared by animals, find out what they’re really about – and you never know, you might like them.'"

A leech sucking blood out of Ariane's forearm. Credit: Press Association

Personally, I think it's sweet that Ariane is trying to rehabilitate the image of some of these species, but I would definitely consult a doctor before applying any kind of parasite to my own body. Seriously guys, when it comes to leech therapy, don't try it at home.