Dartmoor is known for its beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities, but it’s also an area where ticks can be found. Ticks are small, blood-sucking parasites that can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, so it’s important to be aware of them and take precautions to avoid their bites. Here’s some information on ticks and how to prevent or remove them:
Tick habitats: Ticks thrive in areas with tall grass, shrubs, and woodland, so it’s important to be particularly cautious in these environments. Dartmoor has plenty of such areas, especially in its moorland and wooded regions.
Protective clothing: When visiting areas where ticks may be present, it’s advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants tucked into socks, and closed-toe shoes. This reduces the amount of exposed skin available for ticks to latch onto.
Insect repellent: Apply an effective insect repellent containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) on exposed skin to repel ticks. Follow the instructions on the product for application guidelines.
Stick to the centre: When walking on trails or through vegetation, try to stay in the centre to minimise contact with ticks on plants, ferns or grasses.
Check yourself: After spending time outdoors in tick-prone areas, thoroughly check your body for ticks. Pay close attention to warm and moist areas, such as the scalp, behind the ears, under the arms, inside the belly button, around the waist, and behind the knees.
Check your gear and clothing: Ticks can also hitch a ride on your clothing or gear, so carefully examine them before entering your home or vehicle. Tumble dry clothes on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any ticks that may be present.
Proper tick removal: If you find a tick attached to your skin, it’s important to remove it promptly and correctly. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Gently pull upward with steady pressure, being careful not to squeeze or twist the tick. Clean the bite area with antiseptic afterward.
Seek medical attention if necessary: If you experience symptoms like rash, fever, fatigue, or muscle aches after a tick bite, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional. They can assess the situation, conduct tests if needed, and provide appropriate treatment.
Ticks and dogs
These potentially harmful parasites are particularly likely to be encountered in spring and autumn, especially where sheep and deer live. Check your dog for ticks every day: they resemble a dark, smooth pea. Have them removed immediately, as they can spread harmful diseases. They must not be squeezed or pulled off, use a tick removal tool available from Vets and pet stores. Ask your vet how to do this safely.