Ticks are bloodsuckers, just like mosquitoes. But they aren’t insects. They’re arachnids. And these pesky, little critters can’t jump or fly. Instead, they quest. They park on blades of grass and wait for you to walk by. When the opportunity strikes, they latch on and crawl around your skin, looking for a perfect spot to extract blood.
Once their grappling hook claws and harpoon-like mouth are in you, it’s dinnertime. And this is where ticks get dangerous. Ticks carry more diseases than any other type of arthropod. If they’ve had a meal from an infected animal, they could become vectors for diseases such as Lyme disease, Powassan virus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
So if a tick was as big as you, could it become the most dangerous predator?
Ticks are tricky to watch out for because of their size. The average dog tick is only about 4.75 mm (0.19 in) with an empty stomach. If we scaled these critters up to human size, they’d be 144 times bigger.
They’d hide in tall grass and leaves, waiting for you. And hopefully, you find them before they find you. But they wouldn’t be able to see you. Ticks don’t have eyes. Instead, they’d use their Haller’s organs. These are sensors on their front legs that allow them to detect heat radiating off warm-blooded animals.
If you got close enough, they’d run at you with their massive claws. And if they latched onto you, it wouldn’t be the same experience as usual. It would be like being stabbed with giant hooks made of serrated knives. These would cause devastating injuries. If you tried to remove them, you’d start to bleed out.
But with all the fresh blood pouring out of your wounds, they’d sit down for dinner right away. They’d stick their hypostome right into your bloody wound. That’s the barbed, harpoon-shaped part of their body near their head. And this is what they use to anchor themselves to you. Trying to remove an average-sized tick is tough enough. But if you try to relax and let the creature get its meal. Surprisingly, this could be your best shot at survival. Though these beasts are ravenous for your blood, they wouldn’t drink all that much.
If you managed to roll the heavy tick off your body, now would be the time for some serious first aid. Or better yet, a trip to a hospital. There would be over 3,500 different proteins from their saliva in your body that were designed to give them the best feeding experience. These anticoagulants make sure your blood flows nicely. One such protein creates a lake of blood for the tick to feed off.
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