Ticks are external parasites that feed off of blood as their main food source. Although many believe that ticks are insects they are actually arachnids, like spiders. There are many different species of ticks that are divided into two main categories: hard ticks, such as the common dog tick, and soft ticks. The physical appearance of ticks varies by geographical location but in general they have eight legs and range in size from 2-3.5 mm.
Ticks are parasitic insects that survive by taking blood from mammals, birds and reptiles. Ticks are pests that many pet owners are familiar with because they are the most common pests of domesticated dogs in the southern U.S. It is also common for ticks to attach and feed off of to humans. In addition to being uncomfortable and irritating, tick bites can carry a variety of diseases and must be treated correctly and monitored closely.
A hard tick has a tough shield like shell and they are usually shaped like a flat seed before feeding. Soft ticks do not have a hard shield and are shaped like a raisin. Both are usually reddish-brown in color.