Joy And Anguish In A Canadian Village: Ticks!

in Environment/Nature/Storytelling by

Like nasty, disease-carrying germs, many of the world’s most terrifying things are tiny.

What sounds strike fear into the human heart more than the buzz of an angry bee, or the whine of a mosquito ? What motion instills a human desire to leap into the air quicker than the scooting of a creepy-crawly?

Personally, I am not afraid of some of the things YOU might be. I may startle when I see a spider unexpectedly— but unless I’m certain it’s a Black Widow, I’m happy to catch it in a jar or on a twig and gently escort it outdoors.

If I see a slender garter snake, I am relieved it’s not making a rattling sound and I’m glad to see it race away.

However, there is ONE creepy, tiny thing that strikes shock and awe into my heart every SINGLE time I see it.

I’ve read about these tiny but vicious creatures. I’ve heard first-person tales of woe, AND I’ve seen television documentaries about these things. As well, I myself have been attacked. I –and others I love— have suffered visitations by these awful but minute enemies of all mammals.

The enemy is tiny, energetic and insidiously sneaky. The enemy is so small that at first, an unsuspecting human doesn’t even see it. A shaggy animal may thoughtfully take a scratch. Some humans don’t feel a thing— it’s their eyes that somehow notice.

And suddenly, there it is — a tiny, round bug, busily digging its teeth into your skin.

I once rode a sweet little horse in Mexico, and stopped to sit on a river bank in the sunshine. It was idyllic. It was later, beside the swimming pool, that friends noticed the black guzzler attached to the side of my chest—a TICK !

Last year, my hubby and I walked with my sister and her husband and our dogs along a logging road in the forest. When we got back home, there was a TICK nuzzled into my brother-in-law’s flesh, and we found SEVERAL on his dog.

Later, another tick appeared on the lovely pale face of our sled dog, just a few hairs away from one of his amber eyes. It was just GROSS.

After we got home, a couple of days later, we saw ANOTHER malevolent tick on our dog’s face. As I was recuperating from the appalling sight of a new assault on our dog, something caught my eye on the living room carpet.

A small object was ambulating across the soft patterned rug, headed toward the front door. It was about the size of a small bean, but it was purposefully ambling along at a good clip. I got down on my hands and knees to peer at this thing, and nearly had a fit.

On our carpet was a fully engorged and very smug TICK ! Clearly, for DAYS it had enjoyed a tasty meal tapped from the veins of someone in our household. Now the little brute was off to celebrate, and possibly go on to create MORE savage blood-drinkers !

I usually advocate kindness toward ALL living things… but I have to admit my compassion does NOT include mosquitoes or ticks. Both these tiny creatures can sicken and even kill entire populations. Ticks can inflict disease on humans and other animals, and can slowly drain the life from magnificent creatures such as deer and moose.

Not knowing what mayhem these little blood-suckers may have injected into our blood streams, my husband and I at least managed to exact revenge. We raced to the supply cupboard and got out the tiniest tool in our home— a green plastic Tick Twister.

These handy devices are the simplest and possibly cheapest tools a human can purchase. You slip its forked end underneath the busily feeding tick, and turn. The tick is forced to loosen its grip. Then you THROW IT IN THE FIRE, FLUSH IT DOWN THE TOILET, DROP IT INTO A CUP OF BLEACH —whatever you need to do to TERMINATE the little devil.

Ticks and mosquitoes are on the planet for a reason. I appreciate the fact chickens enjoy munching ticks, while bats savour mosquitoes– and I don’t want to deprive them.

When the battle lines move into my personal territory, however, even I feel forced to engage my Inner Warrior.

In the hope that your loved ones and mine can avoid further conflict, this is your Village correspondent, warning you that it’s Spring on the Sunshine Coast, and you need to keep your eyes peeled.

2 Comments

  1. We got our tick twister at a pet shop but I think drug stores and dollar stores have them too. Tiny pieces of plastic that work miracles .
    I use the same technique as you for spider catching — also have a bee catching system for when bees hit the glass ceiling in our yard. You must come over sometime to see if you can suggest improvements to the bee liberation system !
    Happy trails…

  2. Wow! Enough to put one off hiking in the woods! Where did you get your Tick Twister, Deborah?

    I share you respect for more benign living things and I will share my spider rescue method with you and other readers–put a jar upsidedown over the little arachnid then slide a piece of cardboard or stiff paper underneath–being careful not to catch the spider’s legs. Flip the jar right side up, carry it to the window or balcony, turn it upsidedown again and, if necessary, give it a shake, and the spider will be liberated to a much happier hunting ground.

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