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When you think of ticks it probably brings to mind small, but plump grey bag-looking "insects". You may be horrified to find one on youself after a walk or brought in by a pet. But they vary quite a bit according to species, gender and life stage. 

Ticks seem to add to your concerns, maybe phobias, about being out and about in this great countryside. As if midges were not enough. The wildlife in Scotland can be dangerous.

Ixodes ricinus is also known as a deer tick, sheep tick or castor bean tick.

Ixodes hexagonus is also known as the hedgehog tick, as it seems to specialize in feeding from hedgehogs, but it can also be found on foxes, badgers, dogs, and cats. It has a large white bean-shaped body when fully engorged. 

It is not possible to fully describe ticks and their effects here, but the links below will take you to useful websites.

 ticks in Scotland are actually a far greater menace and a major concern for public health.

These tiny creatures are found globally and are particularly prevalent in areas with warm, humid climates. Their notoriety comes from their capacity as vectors, transmitting a range of diseases to both animals and humans. These diseases, often debilitating and sometimes even life-threatening, are a significant cause for concern.

Along with all the silly signs that we get at gift shops anouncing : DON' PANIC could be one that gives positive advice on how to deal with midges and ticks. While the previous paragraph points out threats, basic precautions and care if one has been bitten can take that away or at least ameiorate it.

Diseases from ticks include the following as described in the Live.Breathe.Scotland website: 

Lyme Disease

The most common tick-borne disease in Scotland, Lyme disease, is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Transmitted through the bite of infected Ixodes ricinus ticks, the symptoms include a red circular rash and flu-like symptoms, and if left untreated, more severe complications such as neurological and joint issues can arise.

Lyme disease can be complicated to treat once it has taken hold, so avoiding ticks and being aware of the early signs of Lyme disease are extremely important.


While less common than Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis is another significant disease transmitted by ticks. This bacterial illness can cause symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Animals, particularly dogs and horses, can also contract anaplasmosis.


This is a malaria-like illness caused by a parasite that infects red blood cells. Ticks transmit the disease when they bite a host to feed. While rare, it can be a severe disease in people with weakened immune systems, the elderly, and persons without a spleen.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE)

TBE is a viral infectious disease involving the central nervous system. The disease most often manifests as meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis. Long-lasting or permanent neuropsychiatric consequences are observed in 10 to 20% of infected patients. Although it's more common in mainland Europe, a few cases have been reported in the UK, highlighting the need for monitoring.

Prevention and Treatment : 

Spray insect repellent: Using an insect repellent that contains DEET can help deter ticks. There are many varieties available and if you are already using something on your arms and neck against midges, add some to your lower legs just in case against ticks.

Protective clothing: Wearing long trousers and long-sleeved tops, preferably wear light-coloured clothing, so ticks are easier to spot, can help prevent tick bites. Most people get ticks on exposed skin on their legs. Guys seem to get more ticks than girls; the little creatures have the added benefit of a ladder of hairs to clamber up or simply to grab as you pass by.

Avoidance of high-risk areas: Sticking to paths and avoiding long grass when walking in areas known for ticks can reduce the chance of encountering them.

Tick Checks and Proper Tick Removal

If you have spent some time in areas known for ticks, you should check themselves, your children and your pet for ticks. The fur of a dog or cat or indeed a horse can hide a small tick for ages before detection, so have a good look.  If a tick is found, it should be removed as soon as possible using fine-tipped tweezers or a specially designed tick removal tool. The one in the pictures below was removed using finger nails. It worked well this time, but there is the danger of leaving something of the tick behind. Removal was followed by disinfectant and antihistamines, just in case.

At first it may seem to be simply a very small scab such as when one gets pricked by a thorn, but look closer and you will notice legs. It begins to bite in and becomes at right angles to the skin.

Once removed, its form is all the more obvious. Eight legs. An arachnid. This one made its way into the house in early May, possibly hitching a ride on the family cat.

LIVE.BREATHE.SCOTLAND website : A comprehensive guide to Ticks in Scotland :  https://www.livebreathescotland.com/ticks-in-scotland-guide/#ixodes-ricinus

THE HUMANE SOCIETY : What to do if you find a tick on your doghttps://www.humanesociety.org/resources/what-do-if-you-find-tick-your-dog

LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACHS NATIONAL PARK : Useful information:  https://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/looking-after-the-park/be-a-responsible-visitor/ticks-lyme-disease/

NHS : re Lyme Disease : https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lyme-disease/

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