When given the chance to volunteer with snakes, 99 percent of the time I give a Whitney Houston “hell-to-the no” response. The other 1 percent, however, comes at the expense of volunteerism. If I can make the public aware of how many snakes are out there, apparently I’m in – as so happened last week when I volunteered at Manny’s work for a herpetological survey.
In a slew of reptile-identifying biologists and their almost equally knowledgeable children, I acted as note taker. They pointed out skinks – both sans and avec tail, various snakes, and even a rogue turtle. Meanwhile I was left asking if Eastern racer snakes were in some type of illegal speedster league (they aren’t), while tallying each species. I did make one contribution, however: a Gulf Coast tick, which is apparently quite rare. After feeling it crawling through my hair, I dug the patterned male out and within 10 seconds a lady biologist had identified it, told me it traveled via cattle, and had impressively made it through the previous winter. It’s now slowly drowning in a vat of formaldehyde (a substance they can live on for days, apparently) to warn future forest dwellers of its rare, albeit dangerous, identity.
It wasn’t this event that made me dislike ticks, though it did reignite my hatred for these blood-lusting creatures, and here’s why:
10. The Creep Factor Lingers
Ticks cause a psychological fear. You see one and then your entire body itches for days. Flies suddenly resemble ticks, ants are smashed after making sudden movements, and one’s skin tingles uncontrollably with the thought of a pin-sized tick. Those baby versions could be hiding anywhere; only, days later and full of blood would they be easy to spot.
I’m still panicking.
9. They’re Professional Vamps
Unlike caterpillars or inchworms, who love a nice greened leaf, these buttholes prefer sucking veins.
8. They Look Like Reincarnated Puke
7. They Carry Every Disease Ever
Known as “vectors,” ticks host a crap-ton of diseases, many of which are life threatening. Despite being comically small and hard to capture, they can bring lives to a screeching halt with one, juicy bite. Even if we do manage to track their symptoms, diseases can still test negative. Likely put into the universe by the same logic that fuels bad guys’ lack of consequence (like Michael Myers, who never dies and walks as quickly as his victims run), against this skewed advantage, humans stand no chance.
6. Obesity is their Goal
When engorged, a tick grows to roughly a million times its original size.
More like 10-15 – a stat that is no less disgusting. When was the last time a human ate too many hamburgers for lunch and gained 1,800 pounds?
Smush them, crush them, starve them – these guys are almost impossible to kill. Successful means of destroying the pest seem to be decapitation, pencil stabbing, or draining their fluids via pliers. Though I’m not usually violent, crushing ticks into a juicing pulp is the only way to stop their intravenous garbage.
4. Did I mention Ticks Live Off Blood?
I’m willing to bet ticks host tiny little fangs so they can better puncture necks.
3. There are a Catrillion of Them
When bugs won’t die, they have nothing to do but reproduce.
2. Ticks are Sleuth Masters
When is the last time you chilled on a branch for hours – maybe days – until a blood-pumping mammal walked by? Never? Me either.
Remember G-Cloo’s character in Up in the Air? Where he had so many free miles that he donated a half-million miles to his sister? (What a wedding gift.) Ticks, if Mother Nature handed out freebies for making lives miserable, would have more miles than him. These creepizoids live in all corners of the world, gaining free passage on livestock or human transportation. Their reach is endless.
Can someone just invent an anti-tick shot already? Where I could be injected with a syringe of vinegar to make my blood taste unbearably bitter? Then, even if a tick did bite, it’d instantly retract and puke its guts up from the taste (incidentally ending in tick death). That’d be one drug I’d be happy to shell out ridiculous funds for; not experiencing the heebie jeebies (or disease for that matter) would absolutely be worth the cash.