The Tick that Chases You!

Most ticks wait on the limb of a bush and when a meal walks by, they drop onto the fur or feathers of the animal (or pant legs of a person) and then hang on with their claws. Hyalomma marginatum is different. This large (2/3 of an inch) tick hides on the ground and when it hears or sees a likely host, it will scurry after it. They can identify a host at up to 30 feet and pursue it on foot for as long as 10 minutes. Once on the host they find a likely spot on the skin and then drill their proboscis to extract blood and to deposit anti-coagulants and other bad things they have along board like viruses, bacteria, and rickettias—a kind of small bacteria. The diseases they carry include hemorrhagic and spotted fever. These pests have been spotted in Germany and in the Netherlands—far from their home in Africa.

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