[[quoteright:320:[[Film/TheAfricanQueen http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/african_queen_leeches.jpg]]]]

->'''Gwen:''' Where'd all this water come from?\\
'''Heather:''' How should I know? Why don't you ask the leeches?
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland,'' "Camp Castaways"

Subtrope of ClingyAquaticLife. Whenever a character accidentally falls into a body of water, especially a stagnant one such as a swamp or pond, expect them to come up and discover a leech - or more - attached to them somewhere. This is usually followed by an [[ScreamsLikeALittleGirl ear-splitting scream]]. Often PlayedForLaughs, but can be used to induce {{Squick}} in the viewer or show the harsh reality of the work's setting, particularly as a subversion of CoolClearWater or SkinnyDipping.

Incidentally, should you ever act out this trope and discover a leech attached to you, ''do not'' rip it off, squeeze it, salt it, burn it, or otherwise disrupt it like these characters may do -- it will [[{{Squick}} vomit harmful bacteria into your open wound]] if you do. [[http://www.goborneotravel.com/removing-leeches-properly/ Instead,]] gently but quickly peel it off with a sharp object or your fingernail directly where its sucker is attached to you (or just let it drink its fill and drop off harmlessly). [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle For future reference.]]


[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'', after Tiana and Naveen have both been transformed into frogs and landed in the Louisiana swamp, Naveen explains why he has no money, even though he is a prince.
-->'''Naveen:''' My family cut me off for being a ''(sees leech attached to his elbow)'' [[AstonishinglyAppropriateInterruption LEECH]]!
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheRoadToElDorado'', Tulio decides to save time by walking through a pond. Cut to Miguel pulling leeches off his back.


[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* In ''Film/StandByMe'', a brawl between two characters sends them both tumbling into a pond. Later in the same scene, the brawl comes to a screeching halt when the one character spots a leech on the neck of the other. Cue panicking, screaming, stripping off of clothes, ripping off of leeches... and Gordie finding a leech in [[GroinAttack the worst possible place]]. [[{{Fainting}} His reaction]] is understandable.
* In ''Film/TheAfricanQueen'', Charlie gets several leeches on him when he underwater repairing the ship. The movie subverts the typical trend of just tearing them off by having him be smart enough to force them to let go with salt.
** Note that salting a leech is a bad idea with [[{{Squick}} disgusting and harmful consequences.]] See above.
* In ''Film/TheAmazingPandaAdventure'', the male and female leads both end up covered in leeches after tumbling into water, leading them to start stripping off their clothes hastily. A moment passes, then they both realize the other one is getting naked too...
* Happens to Film/JamesBond in ''Film/{{Octopussy}}'', among several other animal encounters. He uses a cigarette lighter to make it let go.
* ''Film/{{Congo}}''. With the leech attached to his groin.
* ''Film/TheLifeAquaticWithSteveZissou''
-->'''Steve:''' Swamp leeches! Everybody, Check for Swamp leeches and pull them off! ''(Beat)'' Nobody else got hit, I'm the only one? What's the deal?
* ''Film/AfterEarth'': Kitai manages to be bitten by a mutant leech as he rushes across a ''river''. Said leech is also heavily poisonous.
* ''Film/AnacondasTheHuntForTheBloodOrchid'': While the crew are wading through the marshes of the Indonesian jungle, the captain notices a leech on the neck of the black comic relief character and uses a lighter to kill it. When they lift up his shirt they find that his entire back is covered with dozens of leeches, so they spent the next hour or so removing them one by one.

* ''On The Banks of Plum Creek,'' book three in the ''Literature/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'' books. The local river has leeches in its calmer, muddier areas that will start nomming on you if you stay in there too long. At a party she's hosting, Laura gets even with her CityMouse rival [[AlphaBitch Nellie]] by luring her and her friends into the river. The other girls are pleasantly grossed out by the leeches, but Nellie freaks out.
* There are leeches in the rivers that run through Nyissa, in David Eddings ''Literature/TheBelgariad''. Not only are they fast, but their bite is venomous -- once a person's been bitten, they're doomed even if they are pulled out of the water before the leeches have drained them.
* In the final novel of the Literature/AubreyMaturin series, ''Blue at the Mizzen'', Stephen Maturin and Christine Wood fall into brackish West African mud. Afterward, each is covered with "astonishingly numerous and avid leeches." They use salt (brought by Christine for this purpose) to remove the leeches (while again this is something ''you should not do'', their application of salt is {{justified|Trope}} on account of the state of medical knowledge in the early 19th century--they wouldn't have known any better).
* Much like in the below-mentioned film adaptation, this also happens in the Creator/StephenKing novella "[[Literature/DifferentSeasons The Body.]]" The only major difference here is that the boys willingly chose to swim in the dammed-up pond, so they stripped naked beforehand. This means that we get to find out exactly [[{{Squick}} where that last leech attached itself to Gordie, and how long it had been there]].
* ''Literature/JurassicPark'': Ed Regis ends up with leeches on him when he falls into the moat at the Tyrannosaur paddock. Before he tears them all off, the reader is treated to him remembering that the maintenance staff said that they liked damp, warm places and "liked to crawl right up your-", at which point Regis snaps out of his shock, rips the leeches off, and legs it.
* UpToEleven in ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'', where the leeches of Lake Lachrymose are carnivorous and will hunt down anyone [[ScareEmStraight who goes swimming less than an hour after eating]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In a short story in Dragon magazine #123 illustrating the magazine's topic of swamp environmental hazards, a man hires a guide through the swamp and notes oddities about the guide from eating raw onions and rubbing them on his arms to the series of triangular scars along his arms. When he attempts to kill the guide, he finds himself suddenly weak whereupon the guide explains the ecology of leeches and how to ward them off, such as by rubbing one's skin with onions.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'', pretty much any time you enter water, leeches attach themselves to you. The sound of them attaching themselves to you can be hard to hear, so you might not notice until they start quickly draining your stamina. Luckily, using Snake's cigar to burn them off is easy and effective.
* In the oceans of ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', alien piranha-leeches will jump at you in swarms if you go out too far. Be thankful; the original creature that had to job of stopping players from going out to sea was going to be an [[http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Ichthyosaur Ichthyosaur ...]]
* Present in ''VideoGame/UnEpic'' in underground reservoir levels, as a life-sucking items that stack up in your inventory until you kill them manually. The game doesn't mention them, apart from constantly visually decreasing HP, leading to some characters' deaths. Later replaced with [[YourVampiresSuck vampire bats]].
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/TheSimsMedieval''. The Physician is ''supposed'' to catch leeches to aid in healing, and sticks his hand into the water to do this. It's possible to fail to catch them. And if a Sim actually ''falls'' into water (the outcome of failing miserably at fishing) the leeches ''don't'' get them.

* ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'': When washing in a jury-rigged outdoor shower, Florence finds out [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff300/fv00204.htm she's missing a step in the process.]] "[[InThatOrder The correct order]] is 'lather, rinse, remove leeches, repeat.'"
* ''Webcomic/CarryOn'': In keeping with the arc's ''Film/TheAfricanQueen'' reference, [[http://www.hirezfox.com/km/co/d/20170310.html one page]] features sandy hopping out of the swamp / river, covered in the little bloodsuckers.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' episode "The Swamp," all the heroes fall into a swamp. As they get up, Katara comments to Sokka that he has "an elbow leech." Cue expression of disgust when Sokka discovers the enormous slimy parasite [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin on his elbow]].
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice'', Sam and Max are forced to wade through a stream in the middle of an overgrown Central Park. When Max exits, he's covered in leeches...which promptly scream in pain and jump right back off.
-->'''Sam''': I think it's time we changed your diet.
* ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' had this. They both fall into an African river and when they start talking, Pinky compliments Brain on his new hat...
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'', Bloo gets [[BeeAfraid stung by bees]] and [[KnowYourVines unwittingly rubs himself with poison ivy]]. He drowns out the itching by splashing water from a nearby lake on his face, but ends up with leeches on his face, which he doesn't notice.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/CampLazlo'' has Lazlo going for a swim and coming out with a leech/sea lamprey attached to his head. He decides to call it Lamar and keep it as a pet, even though it was slowly sucking his blood dry.