Who knew? Opossums kill ticks that carry Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases

by Gramfan on August 28, 2015

in Gramfan (team member), microbes

Inquisitr: Opossums: The Unsung Heroes Against Lyme Disease And Other Tick-Borne Diseases

Several states in the U.S. are reporting record populations of ticks and increasing tick-borne disease transmission, like Lyme disease, but clearing your yard of these blood suckers might be only one opossum away. Yes, that giant rat-looking animal that plays dead when threatened and hisses like the devil’s spawn when scared is actually extremely beneficial to humans and other mammals. Opossums’ diets include snakes, snails, slugs, mice, rats, and carrion. Perhaps the most intriguing item on an opossum’s daily menu is an even more dreaded human foe: the tick. Opossums’ voracious appetite for ticks can nearly obliterate a tick population.
Scientist Rick Ostfeld points out that few ticks survive a run in with an opossum. These animals, often called filthy, are actually remarkable groomers and spend almost all of their free time grooming themselves. Ticks are attracted to these mammals, but most of them never survive on an opossum’s body long enough to taste a single drop of blood.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Uncle Vladdi August 29, 2015 at 6:52 pm


Now, someone needs to see if their bodies produce anti-Lyme-disease antibodies we can use!

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