About Me

My photo
Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Too yucky for pictures

Nature can inspire and Nature can gross you out.

When the redhead summoned me this morning she was holding something in a tissue.

It looked like a shiny gray grape.

Except the grape had legs, and they were waving feebly.

It was a bloated tick -- perhaps the American dog tick, but given the course of events I will never know for sure.

"I found it on the carpet!" said my wife.

Now I want to make one thing perfectly clear.

I'm an attentive dog owner. I check the dog for ticks every day, and observe his scratching and grooming patterns.

When I pluck a tick from Fred's hide he can't wait to sniff it.

In his dog-mind the smell of the tick is proof that the discomfort of its removal wasn't just another human trick. (Well, that's my reading of it.)

I was wondering how Fred could have nourished this bloated thing for at least a week without my notice, when the redhead asked, "How can I kill it?"

A vial of alcohol seemed advisable, but before I could articulate my thought I witnessed a surreal moment of life in slow motion.

She gave the tick the big squeeze, and I could hear my voice echoing,

"D O N ' T  D O  T H A T. . . ."

It was too late.

The tick exploded, the redhead yelped, and a black glob of semi-digested dog blood spattered her throat.

It was like a scene from The Godfather.

The tick was no longer a suitable specimen, and I called out to her as she hurried to the sink:

"Couldn't you wait till I got a picture of it?"


Seagull Steve said...

Oh man, that is pretty gross. Here in North Dakota Im getting bitten by more ticks than I have in my life, and am getting used to it (gross). Thankfully, I catch them before they get too bloated...blech.

Trailblazer said...


Yeah, Codge...no judgement here! Anyone with dogs knows how hard it is to keep them tick-free, no matter how dilligent you are.

In fact, I picked up Lyme Disease last year...during field work I wear permethrin spray on my clothes...so I don't get them on my skin from after field work that often (although i pick them off my field clothes before removing them outside and going inside for a full tick-check). I honestly think one grabbed the dog one day...noticed the Frontline he was wearing and crawled off in the house. Found the next best thing, which was me!

The worse is that down here it's not just Lyme. We also have Erlichia, STARI and Rocky-Mountain Spotted Fever to enjoy!

owlman said...

That's grossly funny!
The look on the Redheads face was?

Bay Laurel said...

Thank you thank you for not including a photo!

Joe said...

I have to agree...a picture would have been in order ;).

BLD in MT said...

Wow...that is horrifying. Not the huge tick, that is just an unpleasant fact of nature. But, an exploded tick with blood on my neck....horrifying.

Anonymous said...

I found an enormous, bloated tick crawling out of my dog's ear, which is a great hiding place.... Do you check inside Fred's ear canal?


Camera Trap Codger said...

Yes, he gets a daily ear checkup. The ticks usually settle on the outside or edges of his ears.