Dartmoor Tick Watch
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Reproduced with the kind permission of the Dartmoor National Park Authority.
While the DNPA have kindly given permission to reproduce their tick awareness factsheet here, it must be said that ticks are not confined to Dartmoor!
Ticks occur all over the UK in suitable habitats - such as moors, heaths, woods, forests, in leaf litter, long grass, bracken, shrubs and other undergrowth. They are particularly likely in areas where deer, sheep and cattle are found. Ticks are often found on pets and wild animals, particularly hedgehogs. They are found from the highlands of Scotland to city-centre parks and gardens and are recorded even in the centre of London - see here & here!
Similar factsheets or other information are produced by Exmoor National Park, New Forest District Council and ConFor - Confederation of Forest Industries. The BBC - Health area, The Ramblers, PetPlanet.co.uk and the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health also have information.
Tick awareness factsheet
Ticks are arachnids, more closely related to spiders than to insects - they have eight legs. A fully fed tick will be three to ten times larger than their unfed counterparts.
Ticks are blood-feeding, external parasites. They can carry disease, including, but not limited to, Lyme disease. Ticks become active with the warm days of spring. They generally have a multi-stage life cycle, progressing from egg to larva to nymph to adult. Most species have different hosts for each stage. Ticks inject saliva into their host as they feed, sometimes transmitting disease with the saliva.
Ticks are common in areas of long vegetation such as bracken, long grass or bilberry. Here they wait for passing animals (including humans) to attach themselves to, feeding on their blood before dropping off. It is more likely that your pet will pick up ticks than you will but it is important to remember that there is a small chance of picking up a tick and an even smaller chance of developing Lyme disease.
Simple preventative measures…
After visiting an area likely to contain ticks, do a full body inspection of yourself, your children and any pets that were with you. Common sites of attachment include the underarms, the groin, behind the knee and the nape of the neck. Examine children often, paying special attention to the head, neck and ears. Early discovery of ticks is critical to reducing the risk of infection by Lyme disease.
If a tick is found, removal should be done carefully to prevent its mouth parts from breaking off in the skin.
How to remove a tick promptly
Wash the area with a
For more information please visit http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk or type ‘Lyme Disease’ into a search engine.
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