Ticks found on beaches
When you're walking along the beach, you can expect to run into some birds, some crabs, or if you're at Assateague Island, maybe even some horses. But there's one creepy crawly resident here that you wouldn't expect, a tick.
Ginny Rosenkranz, an extension educator from the University of Maryland Extension office, said, "You know, it's amazing you can find ticks a lot of places, but yes, a beach."
Earlier in the week, one Ocean City visitor posted a disturbing photo on Facebook of a tick he found in his hair after a long walk on the beach.
Rachel Kelly, an Assateague National Seashore visitor said, "I'd never think to look for ticks on the beach that's really gross."
It made us wonder, how common are ticks on the beach and how do they get there in the first place?
Rosenkranz explained, "Think about it, right now there's a lot of seagulls and other birds flying and they can carry ticks. People who are walking their dogs they are still allowed to do that they can get a tick that falls off of a dog, it's pretty common in that sense."
When it comes to Assateague, ticks can actually fall off the ponies and latch on to you.
Kelly Taylor, an Assistant Public Information Officer at Assateague National Seashore said, "You know you come out, ticks can be on horses so you want to keep your distance from the horses. We always recommend school bus length is the safe length for you, the safe length for the horses."
Rachel Kelly said, "I guess, you know, maybe from the animals too it makes sense. I just never would have put those two together on my own."
Not only do ticks reside on wild animals, but they hang out in the dune grasses as well.
We're told this is the perfect habitat for ticks because if they have been on a mouse or other critter and they decide to get off of it, they will do something called questing.
Rosenkranz said, "They will climb up a blade of grass and they will hang with their back feet with their front legs going out like this and as soon as you walk by, they've got you and they're on you."
As for how common they are on beaches? According to Assateague officials, not very.
Taylor said, "They can be picked up in your backyard just as easily as they can be picked up here at the National Seashore."
So as a safety precaution, next time you go to the beach, make sure you check for any unwelcome hitchhikers, so you can avoid picking up nasty diseases like Lyme Disease.
EDIT: According to the CDC, in most cases a tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours before Lyme Disease can be transmitted, but there are still exceptions to that rule, so it is best to get a tick off of you as soon as possible.
The best way to remove a tick is with tweezers. Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible with the tweezers and pull upward with steady even pressure so the mouth does not break off and remain in your skin.
After the tick is removed, the CDC suggests thoroughly cleaning the bite area with rubbing alcohol and disposing of the tick either in rubbing alcohol, down the toilet, or in a sealed plastic bag.
If you develop a fever or rash several weeks after being bitten, you are encouraged to see your doctor.