There are many animals and birds that eat ticks. Animals such as frogs, lizards, opossums, etc., are most common tick eaters. Birds such as Guinea fowls, chickens, and woodpeckers prey on ticks too. This blog will discuss about various birds and animals that eats ticks and how they are effective in keeping the tick population in check.
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. Some animals include opossums, goats, squirrels, ants, etc. They act as natural predators in our yard to control the tick population. Probably, It is better than using chemical tick control services. But still, people have specific doubts about certain animals and doubts and their tick eating capability. Here we have come up with some prominent and frequently asked questions with stunning answers.
Do Opossums Eat Ticks?
- Opossums are non-aggressive animals.
- They belong to the marsupial species.
- Opossums eat ticks and many other insects like mosquitoes, fleas, etc.
- As they consume ticks in large amounts (almost 90%), they are also called “vacuum cleaners.” They are vital in the war against Lyme disease as they consume deer ticks in general.
- 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 upon to kill ticks. But the studies could not completely disprove the established notion.
Do Cats Eat Ticks?
People say cats eat ticks when they groom themselves, but there is only less chance here. Generally, ticks attach to a cat’s face, ears, and other body parts that are difficult for cats to clean often. It creates some serious problems and causes harmful diseases in cats.
Generally, cats get bites from different types of ticks. But they do not experience Lyme disease as often as dogs and people. Even indoor cats get affected by ticks through your clothing, dogs, or other pets.
How do we avoid and find ticks on a cat?
To avoid more harmful effects on cats, check all the areas a cat cannot reach during grooming. Areas like the top of the head, ears, and under the collar are popular locations where ticks live. Thus, we can reduce various tick-borne diseases in cats.
How to remove the ticks from a cat’s body?
If you try to pick the tick out of your cat’s skin with your finger, you may leave the mouthpart of the ticks in the cat’s body. This activity may cause irritation and infection in cats. Use a tick twister or dull tweezers and grab the tick smoothly by a slow pulling and twisting technique. Following the proper procedures to remove ticks from a cat’s body is essential.
Do Goats Eat Ticks?
Goats can effectively reduce the tick population by a small percentage. They often eat grass along brush lines, the most popular home for ticks. By eating them, they reduce the tick population without their knowledge. But, sometimes, these ticks stay on the goat’s body and cause several health problems. It disrupts goat’s health and milk production, causing anemia and poor health. Goats get tick bite abscesses, tick paralysis, etc., through ticks. You can also confirm this if you notice weight loss in your goats. Goats may also carry the bacteria from the ticks to human beings.
Do Frog Eat Ticks?
Frogs are amphibians that eat almost all insects, including ticks. Thus, it helps reduce the tick population and avoid deadly diseases. Frogs may spend less time on the soil and more in the water. So the number of ticks that frogs eat is less. When a frog comes in contact with a tick, it will eat that tick without any doubt. Frogs only look for ticks when they do not have enough other food to survive. They grab the ticks with their long tongues as the insects stick so quickly and then swallow them.
Do Toads Eat Ticks?
Toads spend more on the land and kill ticks in more numbers. Sometimes, people use ticks as bait to catch female toads. Here, a toad is the same as a frog, with drier skin that spends less time in the water.
Do Raccoons Eat Ticks?
Yes! Of course, raccoons eat ticks. They pick up the ticks and eat them while walking through the grass. Raccoons like to clean themselves so often. So, they eat the ticks if they find them on their bodies too. The thing is, raccoons will not search for ticks in the wild but they do clean themselves and keep the ticks away that come in its ways.
Birds That Eat Ticks
Yes! Birds are also another friendly companion that eats ticks. They are great predators of ticks. Here we can see some birds that help in reducing the tick population.
Woodpeckers can reduce the tick populations considerably. They use their long, sticky tongue to pick the ticks on the trunks and bushes. They also pierce the bodies of ticks while eating them. So, it is sure that woodpeckers kills ticks either by piercing them or consumption as food.
These birds belong to the Buphagus family of songbirds. They are from sub-Saharan Africa and usually live in grassland habitats. Oxpeckers have a small role in reducing the tick population. They can also eat hidden lice and fleas in buried positions with their sharp beaks.
Quails are from the family of ground-feeding birds, Galliformes. We can see this bird all over the world. Nowadays, farmers raise quail to reduce insect populations in their fields. This bird secures one of the first few positions in the list of most prolific birds that eat ticks. They reduce the number of ticks in the yard or field by sticking their heads into grass or bushes.
What Type Of Diet Do Opossums And Woodpeckers Have?
We know that Opossums and woodpeckers are great tick-eaters. Do they consume only ticks? Here is the answer about the diet and the food that most opossums and woodpeckers would look for.
Their diet includes insects, dead animals, rodents, ticks, and birds. They also eat frogs, eggs, fruits, plants, and grain. Generally, opossums need a high amount of calcium for their well-being. So they have a habit of eating skeletal remains of rodents and other roadkill animals. Opossums eat all food sources they can find and gain access to in a particular place. Even though they have poor eyesight, they have a good sense of smell and hearing. These abilities help them actively search for food at night. They can dig the soil with their sharp claws and climb long trees to capture prey.
The diet of a woodpecker includes some insects and grubs. Ticks also come under this insect category. They also eat fruits, arthropods, seeds, flower nuts (particularly acorns), sap, nectar, bird eggs, berries, and lizards.
Do Ducks Eat Ticks?
Generally, ducks are present in the water areas. As an omnivore, ducks eat various plants, fish, and insects. They also eat mosquitos and flies. Ducks have a remarkable role in reducing the tick population as they consume large amounts of ticks from water bodies. And, also they pick up ticks in massive numbers when walking through the grass area and eat them. Usually, farmers keep ducks close to them to help reduce the risk of ticks and the diseases they carry.
Do Turkeys Eat Ticks?
An adult turkey is the most voracious tick predator that eats around 200 or more on a given day. When they gobble up these ticks, it helps keep the tick population in control. Thus, it is obvious that turkeys eat ticks and reduce the spread of tick-borne diseases and other harmful effects.
Controlling Ticks population with turkey:
Wild turkeys are more beneficial as they eat more ticks from the ground, the grass, and vegetation. They eat ticks even from their bodies during the cleaning process. Even though they are tick-tocked hosts, they also can eliminate more ticks than they spread. Turkeys are more helpful to humans, in many other ways, like eating bugs, mollusks, and tiny creatures. We know these ticks are harmful to gardens and develop irritating results on humans. Turkeys also eat tick-eaters like praying mantises (ticks’ natural predators). To be precise, turkeys play a more vital role in controlling ticks than any other animals.
Are you interested in growing wild turkeys to control ticks? Then, develop areas for their dust baths, scatter some food they like on the ground, and do not forget to create protected nesting sites.
Do Guinea Fowl Eat Ticks?
Guinea fowl help humans in pest control. They inspect the yard area and eat all the ticks they find. Thus, it helps us keep the backyard garden clean and tick-free. We can consider this as a tick-eating machine.
Guinea Hens For Tick Control:
Guinea fowl reduce the tick population by walking through the lawn and eating them. Raise some guinea fowl in your garden when you feel tired of these blood-sucking ticks. Guinea fowls are from West Africa, and they look similar to turkeys. Ticks have an essential role in a fully grown guinea’s diet chart. They also work as watch birds in fields and property. It makes sharp sounds when some unfamiliar person approaches your property.
Do Black Birds Eat Ticks?
Yes. Black birds have an omnivorous diet. The blackbird category includes around 10 species of North American birds. They belong to a subfamily called Icterinae. These birds have an omnivorous diet that covers weed seeds, grains, fruits, and insects. It also varies according to their species.
Do Crows Eat Ticks?
Crows are active species that help remove ticks and other ectoparasites from animals. Crows eat ticks from animals like sambar, rhino, deer, or cow. Crow acts as a mutualistic partner that removes parasites from the dead or diseased skin from another animal. In return, it receives a steady food supply.
Do Starlings Eat Ticks?
Starlings are medium-sized passerine birds that eat ticks. Also, these birds carry fleas and ticks without their knowledge. It leads to some deadly diseases to humans. So, despite their tick consumption, it is best to keep starlings away from your residing area.
Do Peacocks Eat Ticks?
Peacocks help humans keep down the population of rodents, snakes, and some other pests in the particular place they live. They play a vital role in reducing the risk of Lyme disease by eating ticks.
Do Chickens Eat Ticks?
You can control the tick population by allowing your chicken to roam more in your garden and home area. They roam around the surroundings and eat all the deadly disease-causing ticks. You can expect that all the breeds of chicken are interested in eating ticks. Only some of them show this interest. Read the following to find those types.
Best Chickens For Ticks
Some Types Of Chicken You Can Use For Tick Control:
The below-mentioned foragers spend most of the time in the yard and house surrounding and eat bugs, ticks, fleas, etc. They are
- Brown Leghorn
- Golden Comet
- Speckled Sussex
- Rhode Island Red
- Egyptian Fayoumi
- Old English Game
- Jersey Giants
We can see some breeds in detail now.
Ameraucana, an American breed of chicken, plays a vital role in tick population control. They are one of the most popular categories for foraging insects like ticks. Another advantage is they are resistant to many common chicken diseases. Thus, this character makes them the right choice for tick control.
- Brown Leghorn
Brown Leghorns, a breed of chicken originating in Tuscany, in central Italy, is good for controlling ticks in your surroundings. They will help you minimize the tick population in your area, spreading it to other living things and tick-borne diseases.
- Golden Comet
Golden comet, a breed hybrid, has other names like Golden Buff, Cinnamon Queen, Red Star, and Gold Sex-Link. This breed has a high egg-laying character and is good at controlling ticks in and around your house.
- The Speckled Sussex:
The Speckled Sussex is a beautiful hen to look at with her camouflage feathering. It is also an efficient forager who finds many snacks to supplement its diet. Are you a person who is facing issues with ticks in and around your house? Then the speckled Sussex will help you reduce this population.
- Rhode Island Red:
Rhode Island Red is an American chicken breed that lays brown eggs. This breed can help you kill and control pests like ticks, insects, spiders, mealworms, etc.
Hamburg, the oldest poultry breed, eats ticks and other insects whenever they have the chance and helps us control the tick population. If you have this breed in your house for tick control, the chance of getting a tick bite will get reduced.
- Egyptian Fayoumi:
Egyptian Fayoumi is the small and active Egyptian chicken breed. They have good resistance to various diseases and good egg-producing quality. Thus, you can enjoy these benefits by controlling the tick population in your yard.
Ancona is a breed of chicken that originated in Marches, Italy. This breed of chicken is an efficient forager of ticks that helps you in reducing the tick population.
Does chicken get sick by eating ticks?
Yes! It may happen in some cases. Chickens, the omnivores, eat foods of all sorts, including pests like ticks. Sometimes, they also become sick when they eat the carrier ticks. Also, sometimes these stay on chicken bodies and infest them. This activity will adversely impact egg production. It means the quality and number of eggs your chicken produces will get reduced. You can also notice some reduction in chicken weight or blood spots on their bodies.
Do Skinks Eat Ticks?
Generally, ticks feed on reptiles like skinks. The types of skinks they more often stay are the southeastern five-lined skink and the broad-headed skink. Skink lives in leaves and twigs fallen on the ground from the tree. And, also they are poor transmitters of Lyme-causing bacteria.
Some ticks like Western black-legged ticks, or Ixodes pacificus, are the primary vectors for Lyme disease bacteria in the western region of the U.S. Around 90 percent of these tick types feed on the blood of the Western fence lizards. A study proved that various areas in California witnessed a subsequent drop in ticks that transmit Lyme disease when the scientists removed western fence lizards from those areas.
What Bugs Eat Ticks?
Ladybugs eat around 60 ticks a day. We cannot tell that ticks are ladybugs’ favorite food. Ladybugs only eat ticks when they encounter them.
Wolf spiders love to hunt their prey. They are fast runners with keen eyesight. These wolf spiders eat small insects like grasshoppers, ticks, earwigs, ants, and flies.
Do Ants Eat Ticks?
Yes! Ants can kill ticks and control the population. Fire ants are more effective in reducing the ticks count. Many research studies proved that the presence of red wood ants affects the presence of ticks in a place. Thus, ants in an ecosystem reduce the number of Lyme disease-spreading ticks.
Also, some microorganisms like fungi and nematodes are capable of killing ticks.
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. According to these researchers, some birds are tick disseminators including woodpeckers, guinea fowls, chickens, peacocks, etc. Scientists believed that guinea fowl helped spread the Crimean Congo hemorrhagic virus through ticks. So it is not sure that we can pet some birds and animals just for the sake of preventing 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. Apart from choosing tick eliminators, it is significant to follow basic tick prevention measures that can possibly help you preventing tick bites.