What Animals Eat Ticks?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

Summer is one of the best seasons for outdoor activities and general fun in the sun.  Unfortunately, it is also the high season for ticks.  We are sure you must have thought of various ideas on how to get rid of ticks and how to prevent tick infestations.

With this article, you will learn which animals eat ticks and how to prevent infestations by keeping your home and your family tick-free.

What Are Ticks?

Ticks are small parasitic organisms that live in wooded areas and fields. These arachnids need blood from humans or animals to survive. Ticks tend to be carriers of various serious diseases, which they may transmit to the people they bite.

Tick-borne diseases can cause headaches, fatigue, and muscle aches. People with Lyme disease may also have joint pain. Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia can cause distinctive rashes.

Where Are Ticks Found?

Ticks are most commonly found in natural areas like tall grass, wooded areas, or fields where their host animals roam. They are also found within homes and offices, but this isn’t a natural habitat for them unless carried indoors by persons or pets.

Generally, ticks live in areas where deer, rabbits, birds, lizards, squirrels, mice, and other rodents feed and roam, but they can be found in urban areas and coastal beaches. 

Typical habitats for ticks include: 

  • Wood piles
  • Tall lawn areas
  • Wooded areas
  • Stone walls and other structures that can retain moisture 
  • Piles of leaves and garbage 
  • Fallen and hanging branches 
  • Overgrown shrubs

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What Animals Eat Ticks?

There are a variety of animals that are natural predators of ticks. Having these animals on your property can help naturally prevent tick infestations in your yard.

These animals include:

  • Chickens
  • Frogs
  • Squirrels
  • Opossums
  • Wild turkeys
  • Guinea fowl
  • Ants and fire ants

Birds as Natural Pest Control

Although birds like making a meal out of ticks, it is not enough to eliminate the tick population in your property effectively.

Chickens

Many people have started to own chickens on their property.  Chickens are not only pets but also provide them with breakfast in the form of eggs.  In addition, chickens are a form of natural tick control because of their eating habits.  They tend to eat what is in the grass, a natural habitat for ticks.

Chickens must not be locked in a coop but must be able to roam the grounds to be effective.  

Guinea Fowl

The guinea fowl is a species of bird in the same family as the peacock.  Guinea fowl have a natural pest and tick control ability because they feed on insects, including ticks.  They roam and eat together in grassy areas which work well for tick control.

Wild Turkeys

Wild turkeys are tick predators because they love eating small, crawling insects.  With their extensive pallet, they will eat almost anything, including ticks. 

Ticks and Amphibians

Toads and frogs are amphibians that eat almost any insect, including ticks.  

Unlike toads that spend more time on land and encounter ticks often, frogs spend more time in the water and consequently do not have ticks easily available. However, when frogs come in close contact with ticks, they greedily eat them.

Mammals as Tick Predators

Opossums

Opossums eat both plants and animals and, shockingly, are not selective about what to eat. They mainly look for food on the ground as they move around, consuming undesirable insects like ticks. 

Opossums constantly groom and clean themselves and, in the process, eat the ticks that have attached to their bodies. 

Squirrels And Chipmunks

Opossums aren’t the only animals that eat ticks from their bodies.  Squirrels and chipmunks also act as traps for ticks by eating most of the ticks that try to feed on them.

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Other Insects VS. Ticks

Insects, arachnids, and other arthropods are constantly hunting and killing each other, but they are just too small for us to really notice.  

The most common type of tick-predators are beetles (most often the family Carabidae, which is also one of the most common families), spiders (which tend to eat whatever falls into their web), and ants (family Formicidae).

Interestingly, ticks also sometimes eat each other, though this usually only happens when the ticks are especially hungry and there’s no other food around.

Preventing Tick Infestations

Thinking of keeping all the tick predators on your property to prevent tick infestations is a bit unrealistic.

Here are some alternative ways to keep ticks away from your property:

  • Keep your grass short
  • Clean up lawn clippings
  • Create a mulch barrier around your yard
  • Trim and weed any tall plants
  • Use professional outdoor pest control services

Avoiding Tick Bites

Anyone wandering or living in an area where there might be ticks is likely to try anything to avoid being bitten.

Ways to avoid tick bites include:

  • Wearing long pants and sleeves when walking in a grassy or wooded area.
  • Tucking your pants into your socks.
  • Washing clothes immediately when you get inside.
  • Inspecting kids and pets for ticks.
  • Using a bug spray.
  • Avoiding known tick-infested areas.

How To Remove Ticks From Your Skin

Removing ticks from your skin can be a bit challenging, but by following these steps you will be able to do it without any hiccups.

  • Clasp the tick with clean, fine-tipped tweezers.
  • Carefully pull up the tick with uniform pressure from your skin. 
  • Be careful with twisting or moving the ticks; a bad case can cause their mouth to remain embedded in your skin.
  • Clean the affected area with alcohol.
  • Alternatively, press a hot match on the affected area.

To Conclude

During the summer months, you may find that your yard is suddenly overrun with ticks. These parasitic pests are known for latching on tight to their hosts, where they feed on blood and can potentially transmit diseases (such as Lyme disease) to humans.

Reducing the number of ticks around your yard can be accomplished with the help of natural predators, which gobble down the pests at an impressive rate, as well as outdoor pest control services.

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