What are ticks and how do they behave?

Ticks are crawling creatures that sit on the ends of grasses, branches and leaves, waiting to latch onto whatever warm body travels by. They do not jump, fly, or drop out of trees. Because ticks thrive in wooded and grassy areas, they can easily attach to anyone exploring the outdoors or even playing fetch in the yard with the family dog. Learning to protect yourself and your family is crucial to avoid the diseases ticks may be carrying.

Ticks are arachnids (like spiders) with eight legs. They are considered external parasites because they attach to the skins of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians to feed on blood. In general, ticks are very small, and some – such as those that are barely the size of a pen point – can be difficult to see with the naked eye. Ticks that have recently fed on blood might appear larger. They are usually dark brown to black in color but can also be light brown to yellow or tan. After they have fed and are fully engorged on the host’s blood, many ticks become bluish gray.

If you live in a tick-prone area, make sure you perform frequent tick checks at home.