Do Ducks Eat Ticks? (And Is It Safe For Them?)
Ticks are considered one of the worst insects, they are dangerous to animals, humans as well, they carry various viruses, germs, and bacteria and their bite can transmit diseases like Lyme disease, Tularemia, Babesiosis, and many others.
But if you are raising ducks, or thinking about it, you are in luck because ducks do eat ticks, in large numbers, daily.
Ducks are very inquisitive animals, and when they see a small insect like a tick, they will investigate it and if they are close enough to do so, they will swallow the small insect.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are small, legless insects that belong to the arachnid order called ticks. They are parasites, which means their entire life cycle revolves around feeding on animals, usually mammals.
Ticks are most active during the early hours of the morning and night and they will feed on any animal they can find. Their diet consists mainly of birds, rodents, and reptiles but they also feed on other animals like bats, raccoons, dogs, and a few other members of the family Felidae. They have very similar characteristics as mites do with a few differences that make them different from mites.
Tick species vary in size from 1-10mm while mites have a body length of 5-20mm.
Ticks have six legs but unlike mites and other arachnids, they do not have an obvious body segment for the “head” of the tick.
They have a unique sucking mouthpart that is used to suck their blood meals from their host. This feeding style is different from other arachnids like spiders because a tick needs to use its legs to hold onto the prey as it sucks out blood.
Ticks are voracious bloodsuckers, just like fleas, ticks can draw you into a cycle of infection that can lead to Lyme Disease or Ehrlichiosis.
Where Do Ticks Live?
Ticks live all over the world in areas with high humidity and heat. They tend to be more common in the summer months but they can pop up year round, especially in warm and humid areas. Their preferred habitat is a land area with tall grasses, weeds, and leaf litter.
Ticks live about 2-4 weeks at most depending on environmental conditions like humidity, weather conditions, temperature, etc.
The reason ticks inhabit wooded areas is because this is where there is plenty of vegetation for them to hide amongst which keeps them out of sight from predators.
Are Ticks Dangerous To Ducks?
Ticks are generally not dangerous to ducks, they do not get parasites, viruses, and bacteria from them, so that makes them, together with chickens and geese, the perfect predator of ticks.
Why Ducks Are The Best Natural Pest Control
Ducks are considered one of the most powerful pest control, they consume insects, worms, spiders, slugs and snails in the hundreds, daily!
Their appetite is virtually endless for them and they don’t quit until the job is complete.
What Insects Do Ducks Eat?
Ducks will eat basically everything that will come in their way, some of the insects that are part of their everyday diet are,
- Mosquitoes: mosquitoes are one of the most common insects found around humans and where ducks are often found. They feed primarily on mosquitoes, which is why they are very common at bird feeders.
- Bees: When a duck finds a bee, it will chase it. This may seem like a strange behavior on their part (as if ducks would actually want to eat bees!) but they do! Bees make an excellent source of protein and calcium so they will often take them by the wing and drop them in their bill.
- Flies: Flies are also very popular with ducks as they make excellent food sources for ducks.
- Grasshoppers: insects that live in moist environments. They make their home under bushes and in fields, lawns, and gardens. The dry grasshoppers may be eaten by predators or stored for later use as cricket jerky. Grasshopper populations have been shown to be high in protein but low on fat content.
- Dragonflies: Dragonflies tend to be an underrated insect for ducks to eat. Most of the time, dragonflies are only food for larger birds like crows and hawks which is why it is rarely seen on ducks in our backyards. However, there are still some dragonfly species that are large enough to provide decent meal size in foods like hermit thrush and other similar sized birds as well!
- Beetles: Beetles are another great source of protein for the average backyard duck, with many species being quite large and easy to catch. The larvae of beetles are also an excellent source of food for ducks.
- Crickets are another popular snack for ducks, who need a lot of protein in their diet. They can’t be seen because they blend into the surroundings, but you can feel them moving if you put your hand over the cricket’s hiding place.
Ducks can and will eat ticks in large quantities, they will gladly get rid of the problem for you, like for any kind of pest infestation that you may have in your garden, lawn or pond.
It can be considered wise to have ducks in an environment with other animals that can be targeted by the annoying insect to prevent this problem.
Picture By Nennieinszweidrei on pixabay.com