Where Do Ticks Come From?

Ticks can spread from one infested animal to another.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Ticks are dangerous parasites that transmit illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever while feeding on your pet's blood. Preventing infestations is the best strategy when it comes to ticks, which makes it helpful to know where ticks may be lurking so you can protect your pet.

Hitchhiking and Blood Sucking

Wildlife such as coyotes, skunks, raccoons, birds, mice, rats, deer and elk serve as natural transportation systems for ticks, moving them from one area to another. The ticks attach themselves to an animal, feed voraciously and then drop off in a new location when they are filled with blood. In this way ticks can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles, especially if they feed on migratory birds.

Lunching From Pet to Pet

Ticks are capable of infesting any pet in your household, including cats and birds. It only takes one pet bringing home a single reproducing female for ticks to spread to the rest of the animals in your home. A neighbor's or friend's pet that comes in contact with your pet also can spread ticks. As the ticks drop off of one pet, they find their next meal on another pet until every nearby animal is infested.

Ticks Lie in Wait

Ticks do not need to feed constantly and spend much of their life among plants, waiting for the next host. They spend this time in bushes, among leaf litter, at the base of trees, under tall grass and anywhere else outdoors that offers a small measure of protection. Although they can be found anywhere, including yards and parks in the middle of the city, they are most common in wooded areas.

Ticks Can Spend Months Lurking

Although they are typically found outdoors, ticks also can survive indoors for months on end between meals. This is often the case in kennels, doghouses and sheds, where they will hide in corners and on ceilings, but they will do the same inside your home. If your pet is infested with ticks, check his bedding as well as the corners and ceiling of rooms where he spends most of his time for ticks that have dropped off and are waiting for their next meal.