There are little red itchy bumps all over your legs. Both you and your dogs are itching like crazy! It’s not hard to discover the culprit. After a quick check through your lovable animal’s fur, you see the telltale jumpers that are the source of all this miserableness.
So why exactly do fleas bite any why does it hurt so much? Well to answer that you need to look at the morphology of the insect, or in other words, look at its structure. The flea has a large round abdomen that is capable of expanding and contracting depending on the amount of blood the flea contains. Also, attached at the bottom its legs are claws that are used to latch onto the host even when the host tries to brush or scratch it off. Now, look at the mouth, it is built specifically for sucking blood from the host and the maxillary palps on the outside help protect the vital organs.
Fleas are built for blood sucking. That is their life substance and how they survive and procreate. They have a saliva that they secret so that when it bites down into the flesh of its host it cannot feel it and it can feast without disturbance. Unfortunately some hosts, especially humans, are allergic to this saliva. As a result of that allergy, which can vary in severity from host to host, the fleas leave a small raised bump that can become infuriatingly itchy. These parasites must have a host to survive and unfortunately any warm blooded mammal or even bird can fall prey to its ferocious feeding habits.
Most people, when they think of fleas, are used to dealing with them on their cat or dog because that is the most common issue we have with fleas. In truth, fleas are a nuisance to a wide variety of animals and it is because of that fact that they are prevalent in the spread of viruses and diseases. Just a short list of the animals that are affected: cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, deer, gerbils, hamsters, humans, rats, mice, horses, raccoons, hamsters. Basically anything with warm blood is at risk and the flea will try to feed off of it if it gets the chance.
Unfortunately for us fleas are experts at what they do. They are hard to kill, procreate fast, are extremely mobile, and can survive a long time without the precious blood that they seek. Their prey consists of a large variety of animals and birds and every precaution should be taken when you are bringing a new pet into your house. Also make sure if you rescue a wild animal to keep it outdoors, the fleas that it probably has on it may be carrying a disease and could create serious issues for you and whatever else is living in your house.