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Ticks and some insects are the biggest problems at beaches, in urban, woody, and grassy areas. Tick attacks are extremely harmful as they carry harmful germs that cause several diseases including Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. So, it’s fair to think what can help you in minimizing the attack.
Turkeys are the most suggested solution to tick attacks. But how true is that? Do Turkeys eat ticks away? It’s still a mystery to a lot of us. Ticks attack get worse sometimes even uncontrollable in March, April, and May, it then starts slowing down from June.
Though it’s a bit late but better late than never. As we are still reviving from this Ticks-active season, we have decided to reveal how true this widely believed statement(Turkeys eat ticks) is. But first, allow us to introduce Ticks;
Ticks are poppy or sesame-sized parasitic Arachnids that originated several hundred million years ago. The said arachnid survive mainly on birds, reptiles, and amphibians’ blood. Ticks have a flat oval-shaped body that is supported by eight legs.
The subject being discussed is wingless and can be found in many colors including black, brown, reddish-brown, yellow, or grayish-white color.
Ticks do bite humans to meet their nutritional needs, such bites can be identified by mild itching, a small red bump, and fever.
Now that the problem-causing creature is explained, let’s get back to today’s topic which is “Do Turkeys eat Ticks?”.
Do Turkeys eat ticks? Yes, Turkeys do eat ticks. Wild Turkeys are not picky eaters, they do not normally mind eating insects, not even the poppy or sesame seed-sized arachnids “ticks”.
Do Turkeys Like ticks?
Probably yes, why would they be eating otherwise? As mentioned above, Turkeys are not picky eaters, they eat whatever they can find. Starving to fill the stomach up with their favorite food is just not a wild Turkey thing.
Wild Turkeys eat ticks, The Wild Birds Unlimited has confirmed
Wild Birds Unlimited is a famous brand that has over 300 stores in Canada and United States. Though they do not sell or keep wild birds manufactured bird feeding supplies, bird-watching supplies, birdhouse feeders, and binoculars, etc.
Being in this industry for decades, researching and educating people about wild birds, the Wild Birds Unlimited hardly issues a doubtful statement. if Wild Birds Unlimited has confirmed that wild Turkeys eat ticks, it’s can not be just a myth.
Now that the mystery is resolved, turkeys do eat ticks. In fact, ticks are the reason why Wild Turkeys often visit Suburban areas the most. Even though the mystery is resolved but there is still a lot that you need to know.
Domestic Turkeys do not bother ticks enough
It’s wild turkeys that are considered one of the biggest threats to ticks population, the domestic Turkeys do not bother ticks much as they already have several options. It’s wild Turkeys who are their biggest predators.
Domestic Turkeys have other food preferences, ticks are not one of them
Just as the wild animals and their domestic fellas have a different lifestyle, different preferences, domestic Turkey prefers eating grass and kitchen scraps; tomatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, and lettuce, etc.
Domestic turkeys already have so much to eat that they are usually full for insects and arachnids like ticks.
It’s not that domestic Turkeys would never eat ticks at all, if they are starving they would not mind eating ticks at all. If the other options are available, they would go for the other ones, not ticks.
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Turkeys would never solely try to survive on ticks, they will always be in search of other food options as well
Turkeys often get 2nd or 3rd position on the list of birds that are known for eating Ticks. Even though Turkeys can easily eat and digest up to 200 ticks, they would still never try to solely survive on these arachnids. These not-so-picky eaters would look for other food options; Acorns, beechnuts, hickory nuts, seeds, grains, berries, grapes, crabapples, young snakes, and lizards, etc. Turkeys can smell ticks and other parasites.
Despite being the biggest threat to ticks, wild Turkeys can not effectively control the tick population
Ticks can be spotted almost anywhere but majorly on beaches in urban, woody, and grassy areas. Despite being the biggest threat to ticks, they still alone are not enough to control or prevent ticks attack. (source)
One wild Turkey can eat up to 200 ticks in a day
It’s hard to tell how much exactly one wild Turkey eats in a day, but as per the rough estimate, one wild Turkey can eat up to 200 ticks in a day. But only if there are enough ticks. (Source)
One or two wild Turkeys may not vanish ticks out but a flock can significantly reduce the attack of the ticks
Ticks are almost everywhere and wherever they are found, they would always be in abundance especially in warm and humid weather. So, one or two wild Turkeys may not influence the number but a flock of wild Turkeys would reduce the number in a matter of days.
Opossums are top ticks predators, Turkeys the second
Opossums, not possums, are considered the biggest tick predators. Opossums are omnivores, they eat fruits, nuts, snakes, snails, frogs, insects, and arachnids like ticks. A flock of Wild Turkeys may not influence the ticks population but opossums can.
Read: 191+ Pet Turkey Names
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Turkeys control ticks?
Yes, Wild Turkeys can control ticks to some extent. One or two wild Turkeys would not be sufficient, a flock of wild Turkeys is needed to influence the attack of the ticks. Domestic Turkey may not be effective in controlling the Tick population as they have other food preferences.
Do domestic Turkeys eat insects and ticks?
Yes, but not as much as wild ones. The domestic Turkeys mainly fill their stomach up with grasses and kitchen scraps; tomatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, and lettuce, etc.
Who are ticks biggest predators?
Ticks have a noticeable number of predators but opossums, wild Turkeys, ants, spiders, frogs, chickens, guineafowls, and squirrels, are their natural predators.
- Cooperative Extension: Tick Lab
- Wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) as a host of ixodid ticks, lice, and Lyme disease spirochetes