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Tick on leaf waiting for lunch to pass by


Ticks come out in force in the spring (as many of you who spend time outdoors in the spring have long since discovered). Dog ticks (also called wood ticks) are North Dakota's most common ticks.

They wait, with their front legs stretched out, on the tips of leaves or stems for a food source to brush up against their perch. When this happens, they latch on. The first two photos in this series show this behavior. The third photo shows how flat these creatures are when not engorged with blood, and the fourth shows the general size of dog ticks (note that some ticks, like deer ticks, can be much, much smaller).

If you'd like to see one (or, more likely, many) of these creatures for yourself, simply find a deer trail through grass or brush in the spring or early summer, and you'll soon have these blood suckers tromping up your leg. Conversely, if you'd like to enjoy North Dakota's amazing outdoors without inviting these little creatures to lunch, consider some of the tips in this information sheet (pdf) from the CDC. The North Dakota Department of Health also has tick disease information online.

Don't let these little creatures deter you from enjoying the outdoors, but do take some of the precautions the CDC recommends when you go out.

Tick waving front legs looking for dinner
Tick on the end of a leaf
Ticks are flat when not engorged with blood
General size of North Dakota ticks