January 31, 2020

Family Experiences at the Royal Ontario Museum

Every weekend from Saturday, February 1st to Sunday, March 22nd (including February 17th Family day) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Royal Ontario Museum will be hosting the new Bloodsuckers Family Experiences that includes...
  • A curated exhibition experience
  • Interactions with real scientific specimens facilitated by ROM experts
  • A Bloodsuckers photo booth
  • Storytime with ROM teachers
  • Arts and crafts
  • Themed movies playing at the in-exhibition Vampire Family Cinema
This family experience is free with admission to the Bloodsuckers exhibition. Use the promocode CREATEWITHMOM valid for 15% off admission including #ROMBloodsuckers. This offer is valid only for online purchases and expires March 22, 2020.
Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches draws from multiple perspectives of bloodsuckers and bloodsucking creatures: the science and biology of the natural world, their use in medicine, as well as the art and culture they've inspired. Integrating knowledge from across disciplines and continents, the exhibition pulls from a legacy of research at the ROM, and give us the opportunity to foster conversation and understand biodiversity.
Here are some interesting facts!
Red blood cells are the main source of nutrition in blood, these are what bloodfeeders need to survive. However, the essential nutrient B vitamins are not in the blood. Since all animals require B vitamins to help convert food into energy, most blood feeding animals get these nutrients from bacteria that live inside their bodies. Without these microscopic bacteria, the animals wouldn’t be able to survive on blood alone.
Only females black flies feed on blood because they need the protein in the blood to produce their eggs. Biting flies prefer and target prey with Type O blood. Scientists aren’t sure why, but people with Type O blood are bitten by mosquitoes more than those with Type A or B.
Leeches are hermaphrodites because they have both male and female reproductive organs. When they mate, both individuals are impregnated. Leeches feed as little as once a year, so they only bite when hungry.
Lampreys are often referred to as living fossils. These animals have remained relatively unchanged for 360 million years.
The mosquitoes featured in the ROM's exhibition were bred to be disease free and are safely contained. Mosquitoes are the only biting flies in Canada that can transmit disease to humans. If you haven't read Timothy Winegard's The Mosquito book take a look at it.
Facts about Bloodletting
The high demand for leeches led to their over harvesting in Europe and some of the earliest conservation efforts. Even today, harvesting of the European medicinal leech is strictly controlled. From the late 1700 s to 1800s, during the peak of leech bloodletting, leeches could be purchased at the pharmacy by both medical professionals and the public for home treatment. A jar with air holes held a day’s supply of leeches and was placed in the window to advertise the pharmacy's stock. Bloodletting with leeches was widespread but was most popular in England and France. French physician Francois Joseph Victor Broussais (1772 - 1838) is said to have used millions of leeches per year in his practice.
In Medieval London, barber - surgeons placed blood filled bowls in their shop windows to advertise their services. This was prohibited in 1307 and by the 1600s, the barber's pole became the designated marker of bloodletting services . Iconic striped barber poles look the way they do because of their connection to bloodletting. The shape at the top represents a globular leech jar. The red and white stripes signify bloody and clean bandages. And the pole shape is taken from a rod that patients grasped to help locate a vein.

If you want to win 4 passes to the Royal Ontario Museum enter the giveaway using the giveaway tool before February 9th. This giveaway is open to anyone that can visit the museum in Toronto before March 22nd. Please leave comments and follow my social media networks to be eligible to win.
Update: The winner is Amanda

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with ROM Toronto. All images are courtesy of ROM Toronto. Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. All rights reserved on the opinion of the written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2020. Please Ask First