What Animals Eat Ticks? - 5 Natural Predators
Ticks may be extremely small but they are also dangerous. They feed on the blood of humans and animals and if there is long-term exposure they can prove to be dangerous. This is because they can transmit their diseases to animals and humans as well.
Of course, the food chain is a continuous cycle. While ticks feed themselves through the blood of humans and animals, other animals also eat ticks. If there is an infestation then these predators can help with tick control.
Animals That Eat Ticks
There is no single animal that prefers eating just ticks. Animals who usually feed on insects and critters, eat ticks too. Here are some of the animals that eat ticks:
Many people hate opossums because they are labeled as ugly animals. They are similar looking to rats and weasels. Opossums are nocturnal animals and so you will mostly see them during the night time.
They eat both plants and animals. Apart from that, they will eat whatever they can find or whatever is available to them at that time. However, they look for their food on the ground.
Whatever they find on the ground they eat, for example, mice and insects. Now while opossums are searching for their food, ticks can latch on to them as they do with other humans and animals that pass them.
However, contrary to what they look like opossums are clean animals. They constantly groom and clean themselves. When they are doing this they eat the ticks that have latched on to them. They can kill more than 90% of the ticks that latch on to them.
So, even if they may seem ugly and bizarre to you they are clean animals that can help with tick control.
#2. Toads And Frogs
These two animals can eat just about any insect. They are not picky about anything and they will eat any insect that comes their way. This is why they also end up consuming ticks and spiders. Sometimes ticks are even used as baits to capture toads.
Even though frogs are not picky about what they eat, they are still picky about one thing and that is where they will eat. Frogs are mostly in water and they prefer eating there. This is why they are much less likely to consume ticks.
On the other hand, toads mostly stay on land and they have a higher probability of running into ticks. So they are more likely to consume a higher rate of ticks than frogs.
#3. Guinea Fowl
This bird belongs to the same family as the peacock. They have been known to originate from Africa and this is why they can survive anywhere as they are extremely hardy. People don’t usually keep these birds as pets.
Guinea fowls are more likely to be spotted on farms. Their diet mostly consists of bugs and insects and this is why they end up eating ticks. They look for their food on the ground and find insects and bugs to eat.
During this process, if they happen to find ticks they will eat those too as they are not picky about the kind of insects and bugs they eat.
Chickens are now not just farm animals as many people keep them in their backyard as well. They are kept as pets and their eggs are used for breakfast every day. This is why people now love raising chickens.
They are easy to handle and even easier to raise. All you need is a proper coop for them where they can eat and lay their eggs. Chickens eat everything. They also look for their food on the ground and are always looking for bugs and insects to eat.
So, if they happen to encounter ticks they will end up eating them as well since they don’t have a preference for bugs. So, if you have chickens in your home they can keep ticks out of your backyard and stop them from spreading diseases.
Apart from getting delicious eggs for breakfast every day, your backyard will remain tick free too. You will be getting the best of both worlds.
Not every bird feeds on insects and bugs. Bigger birds such as eagles and hawks prefer to prey on animals as they like to eat proper meat. However, birds that are small hunt for their food on the ground and feed on bugs and insects.
So, any small bird can end up eating ticks from the ground. They get rid of these disease-carrying insects by consuming them. Do remember, that flying birds are least likely to consume ticks.
Ground birds such as chickens are more prone to consuming ticks.
Is Using Natural Predators To Keep Ticks Away A Good Idea?
Every species has a natural predator. This is the law of the food chain without which everything would spiral out of control. Of course, ticks have natural predators too. However, releasing them to control the tick population is not a good idea.
This is because many predators would have to be released and this is dangerous. The consequences on the environment would be grave if this is done. This is not just speculation as it has happened before too. Biodiversity is needed to keep our planet going.
The cane toad was released in Australia to control ticks and this was unsuccessful. The ticks didn’t die and the toad population grew significantly. Now, scientists are working towards controlling the toad population instead.
So, it is not realistic to release natural predators for controlling a certain population. Instead, the animals listed above can help with tick control in your home.
No one likes blood-sucking insects around them. Tick control is important to have a home that is disease and bacteria-free. If you want to control ticks then think about keeping chickens or other animals from the list.
Releasing natural predators may make the problem worse for you. You can also call pest control to take care of a tick infestation.