For Floridians, learning tick facts is an annoying, but necessary part of life.
As autumn gets underway, people are taking their last opportunities to get outside before winter hits. This means fall camping trips and cookouts, hiking in the cooler weather, and generally enjoying family time outdoors. But this also means greater chance of exposure to ticks, which love to hide in tall grass or wooded areas. If you are going to be outdoors, be sure to check yourself, your family members, and your pets when you come back inside, to make sure that anyone who may have been bitten gets prompt care. Remember that, though they are small in size and seem unintimidating, ticks can be carriers of both Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Read on for more interesting tick facts.
Ticks are not insects
While we think of any creepy-crawly bug as an insect, this is not always the case. In fact, ticks are classified as arachnids, making them more closely related to spiders and scorpions than they are to beetles. In fact, if you look closely, they do somewhat resemble spiders, even possessing eight legs!
Ticks would be good friends with Dracula
In order for ticks to survive, they must feed on blood. Sound familiar? Everyone’s favorite Transylvanian Count would be proud of these little vampires. Some species are more particular than others as to whose blood they will consume. For instance, one species of tick primarily feeds on white-tailed deer. Though if their preferred meal is not available, they will take advantage of any opportunity to feed, including mice, rodents, birds, humans, and our pets.
They do not fly.
Did you know that ticks do not fly? Neither do they jump. Instead, they climb onto tall blades of grass or brush they hold on with their back feet while reaching out with their front feet. They will then use their front feet to grab at whatever creature happens to pass by close enough to them.
They love your dog as much as you do
Like we said before, there are some species of ticks that prefer a specific animal to feed on. Well, unfortunately, there are a few species that love dogs the most. The American Dog Tick and the Brown Dog Tick in particular are most often on the hunt for dogs. This is why it is important to treat your dog with a tick repellant and also to check your dog for ticks anytime you have spent time outdoors with your dog. This goes for any indoor/outdoor cats as well.
Ticks are like long-haul truckers
Unlike mosquitoes that bite and then quickly move on, ticks have evolved to bite and then cling on to continue feeding for days. They bury their teeth into their host and can remain attached for long periods of time to keep feeding. One thing to note is that ticks do not immediately spread Lyme Disease to their hosts. In fact, it takes anywhere from 24-48 hours for the disease to be transmitted to the host, which is why it is so crucial that you check yourself promptly after coming in from the outside. The sooner you can remove the tick from your skin, the better your chances of not contracting Lyme Disease.