Most guests visits wildlife areas to see all the large animals you may find and maybe some of the smaller creatures that are easily seen. One of the small ones most people miss however is the Ticks. Ticks belong to  the Arachnid family and there are millions of them all around most wildlife areas, but almost never seen because of their small size.

Some animals like Giraffe can host up to about 7000 ticks and others like Buffalo almost around 10000 and although they might be of little significance to these animals, only one tick on a human could cause severe illness by causing a disease called “tick bite fever” which could be extremely dangerous.  This just goes to show how incredible these animals’ immune systems must be .

Often on game drives we notice a small bird called an oxpecker on animals, they actually feed on all these ticks and even sometimes the terrapins would take of ticks from the host while it is wallowing or cooling down in a water hole.

Another bird that has a huge influence on tick numbers is the Helmeted Guineafowl found quite commonly around this area. As Guineafowl are mostly terrestrial they would pick of ticks from grass stems and of the ground while they lay in wait for the next animal to come past and become the new hosts.

Another reducing factor would be regular grass burning plans which would also then kill off big amounts of these small but potent critters.

Timothy Verryenne

Ranger – Southern Camp

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