25 Insane Facts about Fleas and Ticks [Flea Facts]
Fleas and ticks are dreadful creatures that feed on your pet’s
blood and can potentially spread life-threatening diseases to
both pets and humans. This article delves deep and reveals all
the dirty little secrets about these parasitic bloodsuckers.
These tick and flea facts are verified by experts and they will
not only help you garner a better understanding of these
creatures but also allow you to start interesting conversations
with other pet enthusiasts.
Without a doubt, fleas or ticks are your enemies, and knowing
the enemy is the first step towards defeating them. Below is
our list of some strange, informative, and disconcerting facts
about these little creeps.
Freaky Flea Facts
- Fleas are wingless insects that get onto hosts by
- Fleas have been on this planet for approximately 100
- There are over 2,000 species and subspecies of fleas (that
we know of).
- In almost all species of fleas, the females are larger than
- In the continental United States, the Cat flea
(Ctenocephalides felis) is responsible for nearly all of the
fleas found on both cats and dogs.
- If you find a flea on your cat or dog, there could be an
infestation on your pets and around your home. Adult fleas are
only a small percentage of the total population of a given
- A female flea can consume 15 times its body weight (in the
blood) on a daily basis.
- A female flea lays eggs within 35 to 48 hours of its first
- Flea eggs are usually laid directly on a host, often
falling off the host’s body and spreading the infestation to
the surrounding environment.
- A female flea can lay about 2,000 eggs over the course of
its life but is incapable of laying eggs until after its first
- Once adult fleas emerge from their puparium, they have
approximately 7 days to find a blood meal or they die.
- Your average flea will have a 2 to 3-month lifespan.
- If it doesn’t have to move around much, a flea can live
anywhere between 2 months and 100 days between meals.
- If they were human-sized athletes participating in the long
jump in the Olympics, certain fleas could break the current
world record by approximately 970 feet.
Know Your Ticks
- There are more than 800 species of ticks on this planet
(that we know of).
- Ticks belong to the Arachnida class—other friendly critters
in this class include, but are not limited to mites, spiders,
- There are 2 families of ticks: Ixodidae and Argasidae.
Ixodidae are commonly known as hard ticks (because of their
hard dorsal scutum, or shield), and Argasidae is usually
referred to as soft ticks (as they have a soft exoskeleton and
- If you’re bitten by a tick in the continental United
States, it is usually a hard tick.
- The majority of ticks use 3 hosts, feeding on a different
host for the larvae, nymph, and adult life stages,
- There are anti-inflammatory and anesthetic compounds in the
saliva of hard ticks that make it less likely for their host(s)
to notice that they’ve been bitten.
- The saliva of hard ticks contains proteins with changing
compositions, making it difficult for a host’s immune system to
detect a threat. This decreases the likelihood that the host’s
immune system will even recognize that it’s being
- While feeding on a host, certain ticks contain a neurotoxin
in their saliva that can induce “tick paralysis.” This
condition progresses gradually (usually starting 5 to 9 days
after attachment), however, the symptoms dissipate soon after
the tick is (properly) removed.
- Hard ticks have a very long single feeding session, whereas
soft ticks have several feeding sessions separated by a few
- After feeding, female hard ticks swell up much more than
female soft ticks.
- No time for cuddling—male ticks dies right after mating.
Don't live in fear, protect yourself from fleas and ticks. Read
our growing library of information on fleas and ticks including
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How Fleas Jump (and How High!)
Fleas are some of the most
exceptional jumpers on the planet. In relation to the size of
their bodies, they are virtually unrivaled in their ability to
propel themselves, leaving many to wonder exactly how fleas
Fleas' incredible jumping capability is how these wingless
insects are able to get onto your dogs. Fleas have been
observed jumping from approximately 38 to 100 times their body
length, and up to 2 feet high. While they have 6 legs, their
hindmost pair is the most important set of legs when it comes
to jumping. Fleas bend the closest segments of their longest
set of legs (their rear pair of legs) directly before jumping.
First, Some Flea Anatomy
Understanding the anatomical construction of their legs is
helpful in understanding how fleas jump. Their legs are
constructed of 4 segments. Extending from the body outward, are
the coxa, femur, tibia, and tarsus, respectively. The coxa is
the first segment of the leg. This joins fleas’ legs to their
bodies. The femur is the thick portion of fleas’ legs,
containing the most muscle and connecting the trochanter (a
joint that is roughly equivalent to a knee) to the tibia. The
tibia is segmented, connecting the femur to the tarsi. Finally,
the tarsi (roughly their equivalent of feet) are the portion of
fleas’ legs that are farthest from their body.
In studies, it was observed that fleas’ trochanters sometimes
appeared to make contact with the ground just before they
jumped. However, it is now believed that the tarsi are the most
integral segment in understanding how fleas jump.
Fleas create around 100 times more power than their leg muscles
alone could generate, and they always spring their legs at the
exact same time. They rely on energy stored in an elastomeric
protein—resilin, to perform their spectacular jumps. The
resilin in fleas’ legs is essentially a stretchy pad of protein
that extends and contracts, propelling them great distances. It
is elastic enough to withstand the force of the quick, snapping
movement that fleas enact while jumping, but is able to resume
its original shape after committing to a jump.
Stop Those Jumping Fleas
As intimidating as these miniatures, parasitic Olympians are,
neither you nor your dogs should yield to timidity. Rather, it
is fleas that should be wary of jumping onto your dogs in the
first place. There are plenty of products that protect your
dogs and your home from fleas. There are also products that
kill fleas if they already have access to your dogs. Check out
some options on the right.
Advantage II for Cats
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