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Ticks: Habitat & Diet

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

If you are curious about ticks, look no further. In this lesson, we cover where ticks live and what they eat. Follow along as we take a close look at this creepy crawler's interesting life.

Ticks

If you have ever been hiking or camping, you may remember doing a post-trip tick check. Finding a tick is usually followed by a swift removal of the blood-sucking parasite. While these creepy crawlers might seem disgusting, they can be quite fascinating. Let's take a close look at their habitat and diet.

This is a tick.
Tick

Habitat

Ticks are often found in woody or brush-filled areas. Since ticks drink blood, the woods are an excellent place to find delicious hosts. Mice, deer, foxes, birds and other warm-blooded animals are found in the same areas that ticks often inhabit. Ticks are found across the globe with some species being more widespread than others. In America, the brown dog tick is found on the entire the continent while other species are limited to specific regions.

Humidity

Ticks usually live in warm, humid climates. Like most arachnids (that means spiders), they thrive in these types of climates for two reasons. First of all, like most arachnids, they reproduce and develop faster in warm environments. Secondly, ticks absorb moisture from the air rather than drink it. Climates with high humidity provide ticks with enough liquid to survive.

The Sun

Another important aspect of a tick's habitat is that they usually live in bushy areas. Bushes and densely packed plants help provide ticks with protection from the sun. Since ticks rely so heavily on moisture and humidity, it makes sense that they avoid the drying heat of the sun whenever possible

Diet

Ticks are basically the vampire of the arachnid kingdom. They live off of the blood of other animals and can spend their entire lives on a single host. While this single host living is a possibility, many ticks will change hosts as they evolve through their life cycles. If a tick does not find a host, it will die.

Finding Food

Ticks detect the warm breath of mammals who walk by. When they zoom in on their meal ticket, a tick will drop off of branches, leaves, grass and onto their host. Once they land on their taxi/meal ticket, some ticks will just dig in on whatever body part they land on. Other ticks will seek out thin, soft skin like the neck, or near the armpits.

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