Sep 7, 2008

Tick Tock

Some time ago, when I had to scrounge for photos and beg permission to use them, I was rebuffed by some wildlife photographers who said that there are no ugly animals. That all of nature was beautiful, and therefore I could not post their photos on a site called Ugly Overload. I would respond by saying that my site isn't a freak show; it is but one humble attempt to restore balance to the blogosphere. After one such rebuke, when a photographer wouldn't let me post on his hamadryas baboon, I posted on a tapeworm to prove that nature could be ugly.

The tick is still more proof. So I revel in posting on it.

There are many varieties of ticks. All of them suck blood from their hosts. They can't fly or jump. They only scamper and drop--and they do so for blood. How do they know where to find their prey? They seek out heat and/or carbon dioxide.

I actually have a fond memory of ticks. When I was a lad I had captured a skink and placed it in a spare terrarium. For about a week I mistook the black orbs nestled against the skink's ears as some sort of skink ear decoration. But then I realized that those orbs were ticks. With one hand I held the skink secure, and with the other I pressed a just-blown-out match tip to the ticks. One by one, they released their grip and fell to the countertop and began scampering away. But they met a swift end beneath my thumb (a bloody end, as it turned out). I then released the skink in the same place I had found him. For once, a reptile left a boy's care better for the experience. See? How's that for improving reptile-human relations?

Thanks for the photo, Booge (I'm still scratching myself).

20 comments:

niner said...

Why do people have to get all upset and soapbox-like about what "ugly" means? Animals can do ugly things, have ugly pictures, be more scary than ugly, be a spider, etc. etc. All of nature is not considered beautiful by some. Those guys obviously never pooped out an 11 foot long tapeworm from undercooked food.

As for the tick, it is indeed gross (to me). Don't they make a crunchy sound when you squish them? Even more nasty!

Denita TwoDragons said...

I don't care if you dress it up in a gold-covered Armani suit and drape a nation's worth of pearls and diamonds over it, a parasite is still ugly. Ugh.

I just got out of the shower. I think I'm going to go back for another round. *scratches*

--TwoDragons

Danielle said...

I hate ticks. I'm 23 and just had one on me for the first time a couple weeks ago. I started freaking out and my husband had to come remove it while I teared up and he laughed.

Nasty little things...IT'S MY BLOOD!

dourocouli said...

There's just something offputting in about the way it's got its front end absolutely buried in flesh. NOM NOM NOM...

Anonymous said...

I would like to add that ticks aren't just ugly, but in many regions, infectious. Ticks carry parasites, and in much of the Northeastern United States, Lyme disease which can progress to the point of debilitating mind and body when left untreated. So ticks are dangerous and mildly evil in my book, just so you know.

Wendy said...

I'm 38, and had my first intimate encounter this past spring. I STILL have heebies over it. And since I found it while showering, taking a shower doesn't wash those heebies away. *shudder* Uck...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous talked about Lyme disease, which is carried primarily by deer ticks. Dog ticks, on the other hand, can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotter Fever and some ticks can transmit typhus.

booge said...

Don't use matches, nail polish, or Vaseline to remove ticks; these methods can make them vomit the contents of their bellies into you, so you can still get ill. (Isn't that revolting? Tick puking into you? I might, too, if you held a blowtorch to my ass while I was at the trough.) It's best to pull them out with tweezers.

Here's an Army how-to on removing ticks.

http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/ento/facts/removal.html.

I once found a tick on me that hadn't bit yet--it was the size of a dime, and all zig-zagged with yellow and green stripes. Scary bug, that thing.

meg said...

Ugh, I worked in the fields this past summer and those deer ticks are nasty! All the wood ticks I got on me I could see before they bit me, but the deer ticks! Every day I'd have to go in and check for ticks, and I had too many embedded in me. I'm just glad I didn't get (at least I don't think i got?) Lyme disease. Yuckers.

meg said...

booge- are you sure that was a tick? even the largest wood ticks I came across were only the size of a pencil eraser and I've never heard of ticks colored like that.

http://www.idph.state.il.us/images/CDC_TickSizeComparison.jpg

Those are some more common ticks, but they're all built like that. Perhaps it was another icky flat bug?

Anonymous said...

Bedbugs basically fall somewhere between ticks and roaches; bloodsuckers that can run. The best of both worlds, huh?

Anonymous said...

That is a truly repulsive picture. As a biologist, I will happily admit there are PLENTY of ugly critters out there.

Tracy said...

Uhhh, wouldn't it be carbon DIOXIDE they seek out and not monoxide? Seeings we exhale carbon dioxide and not monoxide (like a car does).

And yeah, ticks are ugly as heck!

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks, Tracy. I can't believe I made that mistake. I've corrected it.

clockwork-fool said...

Thanks to one of those little jerks my once five-year-old self spent a week in the hospital with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever getting shots in my butt every day. Thanks, ticks. Thanks BUNCHES. >=/

booge said...

Meg, now that you mention it, it really doesn't make sense that it would be a tick. Not camouflaged at all in his crazy loud pajamas. Hmmm. Now I'm all questioning my reality. Well, was bound to happen before the day was through. If anyone else knows fucking scary dime-sized zig-zigged limon bugs that are seemingly uncrushable with the bare hands in the Southern Sierra Nevada range (near Mono Lake, I think), lemme know. Not by personal name, but genus and species, please.

LisaL said...

UGH I hate ticks.
I've had 3 on me (not all at once).
I found one in my armpit. No idea where it came from.
1 had just bitten my foot. I looked down to see a tiny tick biting me and freaked out.
And once, I was in school, bored out of my mind, so I started rubbing my head. Felt a lump, didn't know what the heck it was. Pulled it off and it was a HUGE FAT nasty gray colored tick. I freaked out & threw it across the room. No one saw, but BOY that was gross and totally had me traumatized.

ChicChickory said...

I HATE TICKS!!!!! My apologies for the outburst. ;)

Scythemantis said...

Nope...still not ugly. Not ticks, not tapeworms, nothing. Every single animal I have ever seen is beautiful to me, and I'm not talking some metaphysical "inner beauty" or "beauty of nature" thing...I'm talking shapes, patterns and textures. That tick is gorgeous. A sculpture of perfectly formed, interlocking armor plates.

Raging Wombat said...

I guess you can't please everyone... :)