Ticks are small arachnids and they are living on the blood of mammals, birds and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. Ticks are vectors of a number of diseases that affect both humans and other animals. They are obligate hematophages, needing blood to survive and move from one stage of life to another. Ticks unable to find a host to feed on will die. Ticks extract the blood by cutting a hole in the host’s epidermis, into which they insert their hypostome and keep the blood from clotting.
Ticks find their hosts by detecting animals breath and body odors or by sensing body heat, moisture and vibrations. They are incapable of flying or jumping, but many tick species wait in a position known as “questing”. While questing, ticks hold on to leaves and grass by their third and fourth pair of legs. When a host brushes the spot where a tick is waiting, it quickly climbs onto the host. Depending on the species and the life stage, preparing to feed can take from ten minutes to two hours.