The process of how ticks find their hosts is quite unique. Ticks can be found in wetter areas with longer grass, rushes, and reeds. However, pastureland and grass buffer strips are their favorite habitat as those are frequented by unsuspecting mammals.
When ready to find a host, they climb up grass stems and plants and position themselves as close to the edge as possible.
Ticks have four pairs of legs and make full use of them during this process. They hold onto the stem with the back legs and then wave their front legs out in front of them, this action is known as ‘questing’.
Their front legs are able to sense heat, moisture, and movement. They will reach out to grab any warm-blooded mammal that should brush past. The tick will catch on to the host and bury into the animal’s coat (or on human clothing) until it finds bare skin.
Considering how small these nasty little parasites are, they can cause significant health implications to both animals and humans.
If the host animal that the tick feeds on has a bloodborne infection, the tick will ingest the pathogens and become infected itself.
As ticks require multiple hosts in order to progress through the life cycle, they will feed on a number of different individuals and so spread the disease from animal to animal and across different species.