Outdoors people worry about rabid bats, aggressive coyotes, bears in the woods, and venomous snakes. But there is a more serious threat waiting in the grasses. It’s very tiny, quick to crawl on your skin or clothing and is a lot more common than all the above animals. It’s the deer tick.
Deer ticks are located in all countries and you don’t have to come in contact with a deer to be exposed to the ticks. While tick exposure usually comes from forays into tall grasses or wooded areas, the ticks can also be brought into your home by pets. Consider these scenarios:
- A family camping in northern Wisconsin found a number of deer ticks on themselves and in the ears of their dog.
- A woman leaving her cat leashed on her back porch brought the cat inside only to find a tick had attached itself.
- A Minnesotan found a tick on his favorite chair. It was also the dog’s favorite chair.
- A child playing on a “slip and slide” in the backyard of his city home was found to have a tick embedded in his hair.
- A deer hunting group in New Jersey found over a hundred ticks in their clothing after a day in the forest.
Deer ticks crawl up to bite. They do not fly or jump on you so you have to be in contact with them to be bitten. Ticks hold on to leaves and grasses by their third and fourth pair of legs and wait with their front legs outstretched for an unsuspecting person. When the person walks or runs through the area, they quickly climb onboard.
Ticks like shady and moist areas at ground level. They like stone walls and piles of leaves. They can crawl up grasses and shrubs and have been found in grasses 2 feet off the ground.