Are Tortoises Affected by Mosquitoes, Ticks, etc.?

Oxalis

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I recently moved out to the countryside, where our yard has many more mosquitoes and probably ticks (we've only found one so far) than we had ever encountered in the suburbs. I was just curious for our outdoor tortoise enclosure: are tortoises ever bitten by these bugs? I wouldn't think so since their skin is so much thicker than a human's; but would it ever be necessary to conduct tick checks on him? Does the tortoise system release histamines from mosquito bites just like in people? Any other bugs I should be concerned about? Seems silly to ask, but I am no expert in reptile biology. Thanks in advance.
 
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hellomaloy

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Not sure about mosquitos but ticks for sure. Shadows reptiles has a video on YouTube of him checking his herd for ticks because one of his torts had a massive one latched onto his vent. I’m not sure how often you’d want to check for them but tortoises definitely are affected by them and they are detrimental if gone unseen.
 

Oxalis

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Not sure about mosquitos but ticks for sure. Shadows reptiles has a video on YouTube of him checking his herd for ticks because one of his torts had a massive one latched onto his vent. I’m not sure how often you’d want to check for them but tortoises definitely are affected by them and they are detrimental if gone unseen.
That is very good to know! Thank you. I will also mention this to the new exotics vet out here whenever I'm able to make an introductory appointment.
 

Tom

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Tortoises can get ticks. They get them in the wild regularly, but these are tortoise ticks. Most ticks are very host specific. A deer tick won't infect your tortoise, for example. Captive tortoises almost never get ticks, even when people live out in the country or areas with lots of mammal ticks. Likewise, mammalian fleas won't bother a reptile.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Tortoises can get ticks. They get them in the wild regularly, but these are tortoise ticks. Most ticks are very host specific. A deer tick won't infect your tortoise, for example. Captive tortoises almost never get ticks, even when people live out in the country or areas with lots of mammal ticks. Likewise, mammalian fleas won't bother a reptile.
I didn't know that ticks were species specific
 

MichaelL

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Many gopher tortoises I see have these huge ticks on them. I try to pluck them off, but wow they can be lodged pretty tight. I don't think mosquitoes really affect tortoises though.
 

nicoleann2214

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Not sure about mosquitos but ticks for sure. Shadows reptiles has a video on YouTube of him checking his herd for ticks because one of his torts had a massive one latched onto his vent. I’m not sure how often you’d want to check for them but tortoises definitely are affected by them and they are detrimental if gone unseen.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who watches his videos 😂
 

Oxalis

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Thanks for all the helpful info, everyone! :tort:
 

Pastel Tortie

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Tortoises can get ticks. They get them in the wild regularly, but these are tortoise ticks. Most ticks are very host specific. A deer tick won't infect your tortoise, for example. Captive tortoises almost never get ticks, even when people live out in the country or areas with lots of mammal ticks. Likewise, mammalian fleas won't bother a reptile.
Some ticks (I'm specifically thinking exotic species from Africa) prefer different host animals at different times in their life cycle. Circa 2000, Florida's cattle industry was upset about exotic ticks coming in on imported reptiles from that part of the world because those ticks would feed on mammals (ruminants) at one part of their life cycle and reptiles (tortoises, possibly snakes) at a later point in the tick's life cycle.

The disease able to be transmitted by those exotic ticks is commonly called heartwater disease. If that disease got loose here, it would devastate both cattle and deer populations.

Fortunately, that dreaded disaster never came to pass. Why not? The reptile industry in Florida (and nationally) stepped up, implemented well-designed, reasonable protocols to prevent introduction of exotic ticks, and (rather long story short) earned a seat at the same table with the cattlemen and other traditional animal industries in Florida.

And in case anyone is wondering, if your fully engorged tick in question is the size of an American dime or nickel, it's time to bag it (don't smash it) and contact a specialist who can identify an exotic tick. Our natives don't get that big.
 
L

LasTortugasNinja

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Hmmm... wonder if there are any good “TikTok”s on the topic. :D
 

Oxalis

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Some ticks (I'm specifically thinking exotic species from Africa) prefer different host animals at different times in their life cycle. Circa 2000, Florida's cattle industry was upset about exotic ticks coming in on imported reptiles from that part of the world because those ticks would feed on mammals (ruminants) at one part of their life cycle and reptiles (tortoises, possibly snakes) at a later point in the tick's life cycle.

The disease able to be transmitted by those exotic ticks is commonly called heartwater disease. If that disease got loose here, it would devastate both cattle and deer populations.

Fortunately, that dreaded disaster never came to pass. Why not? The reptile industry in Florida (and nationally) stepped up, implemented well-designed, reasonable protocols to prevent introduction of exotic ticks, and (rather long story short) earned a seat at the same table with the cattlemen and other traditional animal industries in Florida.

And in case anyone is wondering, if your fully engorged tick in question is the size of an American dime or nickel, it's time to bag it (don't smash it) and contact a specialist who can identify an exotic tick. Our natives don't get that big.
Interesting. Thanks for posting!
 

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