Ghost Moose Won’t Scare Off Ticks first appeared on the Backyard Bug Patrol blog.
Imagine a creature, miserably covered in up to and sometimes over 75,000 ticks! It makes your skin physically crawl doesn’t it to imagine such a traumatic experience, but for the ghost moose it’s a reality.
It’s a telltale sign that the calf was becoming a “ghost moose”—an animal so irritated by ticks that it rubs off most of its dark brown hair, exposing its pale undercoat and bare skin. With their skinny necks, emaciated bodies, and big, hairless splotches, these moose look like the walking dead as they stumble through the forest.
It’s a sad fact that due to climate change, these disease spreading pests are ever increasing in population. They jump aboard their host during the winter months and feed off of them until the early spring, by which point the moose clearly has been physically drained. It’s left weak and on many occasions hasn’t enough strength to see through the rest of it’s life.
Mice are the main carriers of Lyme disease-causing bacteria. In the eastern and central United States, Lyme disease is contracted via blacklegged ticks that feed on infected mice, then transmit the bacteria when the ticks bite people. As a result, says biologist Felicia Keesing of Bard College in Annandale, New York, Lyme disease is concentrated in areas where people live near forests with blacklegged ticks.
If you live in an area close to forest land then you certainly need to take note. However, it’s not just in those areas because ticks can be lurking in your very own back yard! So take stock of your tick control, protect your families and let’s hope that the poor ghost moose will be protected too.