Ticks are ectoparasites that survive on a diet of blood, feeding on mammals and birds and sometimes amphibians and reptiles.
Ticks are found throughout the world, but they thrive in warm, humid climates.
Ticks are found wherever their host species are prevalent, and in locations where it’s humid enough to stay hydrated. They live in wooded areas and brushy fields, holding on to low-growing plants, grasses and shrubs by their lower legs, while holding their upper legs outstretched as they wait for the opportune moment to jump aboard a host animal or human body.
Ticks like areas where the humidity is at least 85%, and can only bite hosts at temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ticks can't fly or jump. Instead, they wait for a host to come by on a walk or hike. Once it climbs aboard a human or animal, the tick wanders around to find a suitable place to bite the host -- preferring warm, moist areas of the body.
Because of their habit of ingesting blood, ticks are vectors of at least twelve diseases that affect humans and other animals.
Once they pierce skin and suck blood, ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever through their saliva.