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American Dog Tick

Ctenocephalides canis


  • Actual Size: 3.6 mm to 5 mm

  • Characteristics: Oval; brown to reddish-brown with white-gray markings.

  • Legs: 8

  • Antennae: No


  • Usually in areas with high grass or shrubs and along trails.


  • Sometimes called Wood Ticks.
  • The highest risk of being bitten occurs during spring and summer.
  • Can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia

American Dog Ticks In Puerto Rico

The American dog tick is distributed in several areas throughout the nation and has been seen here in Puerto Rico. As its name suggests, the American dog tick is most commonly found on dogs, although, it will readily attack larger animals, such as mice, deer, cattle, horses, and even humans. Pets and humans may contract diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia from a single tick bite. American dog ticks can survive for up to 2 years at any given stage if no host is found.

American Dog Tick Habitat

American dog ticks are found predominantly in areas with little or no tree cover, such as grassy fields and scrubland, as well as along walkways and trails. Residential areas containing overgrown shrubs, weeds, tall grass, and clutter attract the rodents that are hosts for immature ticks.  Adult ticks climb onto a grass blade or other low vegetation, cling to it with their third pair of legs, and wave their legs as a potential host approaches. As the host brushes against  the vegetation, the tick will grab onto the passing animal or human.

American Dog Tick Behaviors, Threats Or Dangers

The highest risk of being bitten occurs during spring and summer, and adult females are most likely to bite humans. Nymphs and adults can transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia. To avoid being bitten, apply an insect repellent containing an EPA-registered ingredient, such as DEET. Also, consider wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, preferably light colored so ticks will be easy to detect, and tuck pants into socks.

If you are dealing with a tick problem, contact your local tick control experts for assistance.


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