Ticks are external parasites that live on the blood of mammals, birds and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Ticks can transmit a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, Q fever, Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, among others. Tick species tend to flourish more in countries with warm, humid climates, because they require a certain amount of moisture in the air to undergo metamorphosis, and because low temperatures inhibit their development from egg to larva.
• Ticks find their hosts by detecting animals' breath and body odors, or by sensing body heat, moisture and vibrations.
• Ticks are incapable of flying or jumping, but many tick species wait in a position known as “questing,” where they hold onto leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs and hold the first pair of legs outstretched, waiting to climb on to the host.
• Depending on the species of tick and the life stage, preparing to feed can take from ten minutes to two hours.