1. ITV Report

Blood-sucking leeches abandoned on vet's doorstep find new home at London Zoo

London Zoo have welcomed three abandoned leeches found in a tank on a vet's doorstep in Whistable.

They were left with a note that read: "Sorry, can't look after them anymore", and have been looking for a new home since April, ZSL London Zoo said.

ZSL London Zoo Credit: PA

The surgery happened to be local to ZSL head bug keeper Dave Clarke, who heard of their plight and "invited them in" to live at the zoo.

They have since been named Buffy, Angel and Spike after characters from the 1990s TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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Mr Clarke said,

Their story has made them very popular with keepers at the Zoo. Leeches may not have the broad appeal of other more charismatic animals, but they're incredible ambassadors for the amazing, and more gruesome, abilities of the natural world. With their gruesome reputation and eating habits you might think feeding time would be a bloodbath for the slimy animals, but leeches are surprisingly efficient.

– Dave Clarke

Native medicinal leeches are a declining species in the UK and are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

The leeches will be kept in quarantined quarters for a month while their health is assessed before they join the Bugs exhibit.

Mr Clarke said the zoo was glad to be able to give the three leeches a home in time for Halloween.