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Ticks are represented worldwide with about 900 species. There are red ticks, brownish-black ticks and also white ones. However, they have one thing in common, they suck blood from their victims. Here you will find interesting facts about red tick species.

In a nutshell

  • red ticks usually only appear reddish
  • e.g. by the reddish border of the dorsal shield as in the alluvial forest tick
  • all ticks dangerous, regardless of color
  • can transmit, among other things, Lyme disease and TBE
  • remove as soon as possible (professionally!).

Dangerous parasites

Normally, the mere bite of a tick species would not be particularly dangerous if it did not result in the transmission of liquids containing a wide variety of pathogens. Among other things, diseases such as

  • Lyme disease
  • Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or
  • canine malaria

be transferred with a single stitch. Around 19 species of ticks are native to Germany. They are found everywhere and are active from warm spring to late autumn. Ticks all have one thing in common, they suck the blood of mammals, birds, reptiles, pets and of course humans. It does not matter whether the tick is white, brown or black in color or whether it is a red tick, although the red color can be quite different and is not always clearly recognizable. Below are some examples.

Notice: TBE viruses can be transmitted directly after a sting. Borreliosis pathogens only become active after 12 to 24 hours.

Common Woodbuck (Ixodes ricinus)

The abdomen of the wooden tick is reddish in colour, these are unmistakably red ticks. This species belongs to the tick family. Males have a distinctive black shield on their backs. They are most common in Germany and mainly affect people. Its Latin name is due to its resemblance to castor beans.

The common wood tick (Ixodes ricinus) is the most common tick species in Germany.
  • Occurrence: Gardens, forests, parks
  • Active by: females, males and nymphs from March to October/November, larvae from April/May to October
  • Size: females 3 to 4.5mm, males 2.5 to 3.5mm, nymphs 1.5mm, larvae 1mm
  • Carrier of: Lyme disease, TBE viruses to animals and humans
  • Hosts: small mammals, hedgehogs, birds, foxes, roe deer, red and fallow deer, rabbits, cats, dogs, humans
  • Special feature: adult animals and nymphs begin their activity as soon as temperatures of 7 °C prevail for several consecutive days, even in winter.

Notice: Ticks lie in wait for their victims on tall blades of grass, in bushes and in the undergrowth up to a height of 1.50 m and can simply be brushed off when passing by. They perceive potential victims through vibrations, body heat, breathing air and the smell of sweat.

Riparian tick (Dermacentor reticulatus)

This tick species belongs to the genus of colored ticks. Their body is not completely red like red ticks, but the whitish marbled back plate is bordered with red. It covers the whole body in males and the front third in females. This tick has spread extensively in Germany since 1990. The special thing about these animals is that they actively hunt their hosts.

The alluvial forest tick (Dermacentor reticulatus) is sometimes also referred to as the winter tick.
  • Occurrence: Meadows, forests, fallow land, moors, flood plains
  • Active from: February/March to May and August to November
  • Size: females and males 3 to 5 mm, nymphs 0.9 to 1.2 mm, larvae 0.5 mm
  • Carriers of: canine malaria, Babesia pathogens
  • Hosts: mainly dogs and horses, also cattle, sheep, wild boar, red, fallow and roe deer, rarely people

Sheep tick (Dermacentor marginatus)

Other red ticks are also known under the name sheep or spring forest ticks. They belong to the tick family. They are often found in areas with sheep grazing. In males, the entire body is covered with a dark gray to reddish shimmering shield, in females only the front part of the body. In addition, the ticks have a pair of eyes on the side of the shield.

Sheep ticks (Dermacentor marginatus) mating (female in the foreground)
Source: Andreas Eichler, 2014.03.08.-8-Kaefertaler Wald-Mannheim-Schafzecke female, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Occurrence: Sunny meadow areas, dry grassland, sparse forests, forest edges
  • Active from: February/March to April/May and August/September to the beginning of winter
  • Size: males and females 4 to 6 mm, nymphs 1.6 mm, larvae 0.75 mm
  • Carriers of: Q fever, Siberian tick-bite fever, canine babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, bovine anaplasmosis, tularemia
  • Hosts: Sheep, goats, cattle, dogs, horses, small mammals, wild boar, red deer, rarely people

Notice: Ticks smell their victims with a special organ on the front leg, the "Haller's organ". To do this, they stretch their legs up and can “sniff out” different scents from the area.

Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

Another red tick is the brown dog tick. This tick species originally comes from Africa. Today they can be found all over southern Europe, but were also brought to Germany from summer vacations. The ticks are reddish-brown in color. Females have a dark dorsal shield on the front body.

The female (left) of the brown dog tick is easier to spot because of the darker dorsal shield.
Source: Daktaridudu, Rhipicephalus-sanguineus-female-male, Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Occurrence: warm regions, in Germany mainly in heated facilities
  • Active from: in warm temperatures all year round in apartments and animal shelters, dog kennels, otherwise in the summer months
  • Size: males and females 3 mm, nymphs 1 mm, larvae 0.5 mm
  • Carrier of: Canine Babesiosis, Canine Ehrlichiosis (Tick Fever), Canine Cyclic Thrombocytopenia (Blood Disease) Hepatozoonosis
  • Hosts: mainly dogs, rarely humans

Notice: After a blood meal, female ticks can increase their body weight by a factor of 100 to 200.

frequently asked Questions

How should a tick be removed after the bite?

The animal is grasped directly over the puncture site with the help of fingers or normal tweezers. Be careful not to crush it. The animal can then be slowly pulled out upwards with slight twisting or shaking movements. If the head is still in the skin, a doctor should remove it. There is no risk of infection from him.

Are there really red ticks in Germany?

In addition to white, brown or black ticks, red ticks are also native to this country. The red tones can be quite different, sometimes they change into other shades.

In which habitat do red ticks thrive?

These ticks are mainly found in gardens, parks, at the edges of forests, in the undergrowth, in clearings, meadows and pastures in the tall grass. There they lurk at a height of up to 1.50 m for their next "blood meal".

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