Mention the word "tick" and most people shudder. These eight-legged parasites can spread diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Babesia to not only our furry companions, but to humans as well.
The life cycle of a tick is complex, taking up to two years to complete. Most tick species require three hosts, potentially transmitting disease from each one to subsequent hosts. They primarily live in dense vegetation - uncut grasses, wooded areas, brush and undergrowth are all favorite haunts.
Unlike fleas, ticks cannot jump. Like the tick you see in the above picture, they will grasp onto the tips of vegetation with their hind legs while stretching out their front legs in search of a passing host. Once on a host, they will attach themselves and begin feeding. The bite itself is usually not painful - in fact, most ticks go virtually unnoticed.
An adult female will feed for 8-12 days, engorging herself with blood and increasing her weight by more than 100 times. Mating occurs while still attached, then the female detaches and falls into the environment to lay her eggs. Some species of ticks lay up to 6,000 eggs at a time!
Dr. Gerard Clarke
Small Animal Medicine & Surgery
6999 Nashville Street
Ringgold, GA 30736
Ph: (706) 937-7387