Thursday, 24 March 2011

New Invaders

At first glance this looks like a Buddha wearing a strange necklace. At second glance you might take it for another of H.R. Giger's aliens. Getting warmer. The latest illegal immigrant to hitch a ride into the UK is the European meadow tick (Dermacentor reticulatus). The photo shows a male tick mating with a bloated female. The University of Bristol asked 173 veterinary practices to send any ticks they found to a lab to be identified. Collectively these vets checked more than 3,500 dogs, which is a good sample of the doggy population. Almost 15% of UK woofers had ticks during the summer. Of those found, five from south-east England and west Wales were identified as European meadow ticks. These pests not only suck a dog's blood, but also transmit a number of diseases, such as tick-borne encephalitis. They lurk in long grass, waiting for a woofer to pass. Dog-owners be warned.


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