If Ticks could Talk Part Eight (my name is Luna)
Written by Jenny O’Dea, Ireland © Jun 2012
My name is Luna & this is part eight of my story. My warm shaggy host is perfect for me. Those long ears allow me to stay well hidden; I haven’t been spotted at all & able to get a good meal. Over several days I seem to be stretching bigger & bigger, gorging myself on the warm tasty blood. Yum, this is exactly what I need to help me nourish myself & soon I will get to be an adult.
‘This is my destiny, I can drop off now & go & hide & when I emerge I shall be an adult’, I thought to myself. ‘What an amazing feeling that will be.’ I remembered back at my adventure so far, the scary ride on top of a mouse, in hot pursuit a hungry fox; my fall into the water & my lucky find, a swimming dog who managed to save me, & here he is giving me my feed, what luck had befallen me. I remember my friend Dips telling me that not many ticks survive, 2000 eggs may hatch but not many will reach adulthood, so I’m really feeling content with myself.
With that thought I wriggled myself loose from the shaggy dog’s ear & dropped to the ground. It was strange the ground, not grassy or woody, no flowers or twigs or water, just some shaggy *fur, a bit like my host. I remembered that my host brought me into a big box where the 2 legged people live, ‘they line their boxes with fur?’ I thought. ‘How peculiar!’
I began to feel very sleepy, I knew that I can only reach adulthood after a moult & to moult I MUST find a safe place to hide. It was very scary being in this fur lined world I was not used to, I wasn’t really sure which way to turn.
Just then I heard a shrill scream, ear piercing it was (& I don’t have ears!). A 2 legged human, quite short with freckly skin ran over to me & pointed, she was screaming & crying ‘mummy, mummy.’ I really couldn’t run I was so bloated from my ex-host’s blood. ‘Oh what to do’, I thought to myself. I felt powerless, unable to move, unable to think. I found myself rising high into the air, something or someone got a hold of me & placed me into a clear case & sealed the opening. ‘OK, this isn’t right’, I thought to myself, ‘how can I get to my next host in here? Where did all the grass & trees go?’ I could hear muffled voices but had no clue what was being said. It was then I felt sad, I realized that my journey had ended, without a new host I was never going to reach adulthood. I thought back to my friends Fantaz & Dips & how they helped me on my journey, on my quest. I wondered what they were doing now. Maybe they were lucky & reach adulthood, I do hope so. The End!
The girl who spotted Luna lying on the rug (*Luna thought this was fur!) called her mum in quick. Her mum immediately put the engorged tick safely into a clear plastic bag & sent Luna off for testing to see what infections she maybe carrying. Thankfully she was disease free & the dog suffered no ills from the bite, maybe a little bit of soreness. If Luna’s first host, the mouse, was infected with Lyme disease or any other tick-borne disease she would have been able to pass this onto the dog during her feed. NB: it’s possible for ticks to pass along infections without deer being present. Mice, birds, hedgehogs & squirrels can all carry Lyme disease as well as the large hosts such as cattle, sheep, horses & deer. Humans & pets are incidental hosts, the ticks savour warm blood & aren’t too fussy!
A final word from the author – ticks cannot write, see, speak or hear – this whole story was a figment of Jenny O’Dea’s imagination & at no point was any animal harmed in the making of this story 😉
Jenny O’Dea, Ireland © Jun 2012 – if any of this text is used please give credit to the author & blog site!