Ticks are blood-sucking, external parasites that are often found in freshly mown grass. They attach themselves to mammals, birds, and occasionally reptiles and amphibians when they pass by their resting place. Many people are under the impression that ticks can jump from plant to host, but the animal must come into contact with the tick in order for transmission to occur. Ticks will generally drop off the animal when they are full, but this may take several days.
Ticks have a hypostome, a harpoon-like structure in their mouth area, which allows them to anchor themselves firmly in place while feeding. The hypostome is so strong that removal of a lodged tick usually requires two actions:
Ticks are second only to mosquitos in the transmission of human disease, both infectious and toxic. Hard ticks can transmit human diseases such as relapsing fever, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, equine encephalitis, Colorado tick fever, and several forms of ehrlichiosis. They are also responsible for transmitting livestock and pet diseases such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis and cytauxzoonosis.
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