If you live in one of America’s wooded zip codes, you’ve probably reached down to pet your dog and noticed what feels like a small raisin attached to its skin. Nine times out of 10, that raisin turns out to be a dog tick, an arachnid evolved to favor feeding on canines that can transmit a host of diseases to humans which range from dangerous to deadly. The dog tick’s evolutionary journey isn’t over yet. A new study from the University of California-Davis shows that climate change may prompt these tiny-headed, eight-legged blood bags to start choosing people over dogs.
As far as bloodsuckers go, ticks rank right up there with mosquitos on the list of nature’s most insidious and bloodthirsty insects. There are a variety of different kinds of ticks crawling around the U.S. at any given moment (even, sadly, in the dead of winter). Rising temperatures are inspiring many of these ticks to shift their ranges and move into regions where people and medical professionals aren’t familiar with the diseases they carry.
When a diseased tick bites a human, successful treatment often depends on that person getting proper medical attention straight away. That urgency is what motiva... Read more