There are many animals and birds that eat ticks. Animals such as frogs, lizards, opossums, etc., can eat ticks. Tick-eaters include birds such as Guinea fowls, chickens, and woodpeckers.
But some studies state that the conventional anti-tick heroes are tick disseminators.
Let us look at some of the animals that eat ticks.
Do Animals Eat Ticks?
Several animals prey on ticks as part of their diet. Some of them are considered “heroes” against the disease-causing ticks. The animals which may feed on ticks as part of their diet are frogs, lizards, ants, and other critters. Some of them are listed below
- Opossums are non-aggressive animals.
- They belong to the marsupial species.
- They eat ticks and many other carriers.
- As they consume ticks in large amounts (almost 90%), they are also called “vacuum cleaners.” They are vital in the war against Lyme disease.
- Although studies have proved that opossums are major tick predators, many recent studies have stated otherwise. A study by Eureka College that examined opossums taken from tick-infested regions concluded the absence of ticks in the animal’s stomach. This study proves that opossums cannot be relied only upon to kill ticks. Such studies can not completely disprove the already established notion. That means the theory about the opossum’s role in reducing the population of ticks cannot be falsified completely.
Lizards’ Role in Tick Reduction:
Lizards are not the only allies against Lyme disease as they prey on ticks. But, if a black-legged tick feeds on the blood of the western fence lizard, it could neutralize the Boreilla bacteria in it. Recent studies have proven that there are similar effects in blue-bellied lizards.
But ticks cause weight loss in other types of lizards. There are adverse effects on the reproduction of certain kinds of lizards. Lizards that consume ticks could also be vectors of the disease. So all kinds of lizards do not help in Tick reduction.
Frogs As Tick Destroyers
Frogs eat all kinds of small insects that venture near the water. As ticks wait inland for their prey, This makes the chances of frogs eating them rare. On the other hand, as they sometimes move to land, Toads could consume more ticks.
Do Chickens Eat Ticks?
Chickens do not only eat ticks. They prefer them only when other foods are not available. According to scientists, the average number of ticks per hen stands at 80 per hour. Chickens act as a ‘self-trap’ for their consumption as ticks feed on chickens’ blood.
According to a report published by the CDC (Centre for Disease and Control) in 2018, people who contact chickens that feed on ticks are more susceptible to infection.
They had a higher risk of contracting “salmonella.”So, chickens that feed on ticks may seem healthy. But they may become a vector for spreading bacteria to humans.
Are Guinea Fowls Anti-Tick Heroes?
Birds that prey on ticks are the Brown Leghorn, Andalusian, Brown Leghorn, etc.
Guinea fowl, despite their loudness, are known for hunting down ticks. Scientists believe they can consume about 1000 ticks per day.
The Void In Research About Some Tick-Eating Birds
The Scientists from the U.S government in 2011 were planning to breed more guinea fowls as part of the tick reduction program. They are researching ticks that affect humans and try to reduce them using predators like guinea fowls. They will probably come up with positive results.
According to these researchers, some birds are tick disseminators. These birds included guinea fowl. These Scientists believed that guinea fowl helped spread the Crimean Congo hemorrhagic virus through ticks.
It is essential to be cautious about using animals and birds to reduce ticks despite some studies claiming that many of the above-stated animals and birds are safe.
Are Tick-Eating Animals And Birds Safe?
Despite conventional beliefs regarding certain birds and animals as being tick heroes, it is significant for the establishment of further studies on this subject. Most of the above-stated animals also act as tick disseminators, preventing harmful diseases through ticks. So while choosing animals for reducing Ticks, it is significant to be cautious.