|A cow moose in northern New Hampshire |
shows hair loss typical of tick-infested animals
(University of New Hampshire photo by Dan Bergeron)
"The ticks gather in the fall on forest plants, latch onto passing animals and stay there through the winter, swelling to the size of grapes as they feed off their hosts' blood," Rosen writes. "Tens of thousands of ticks can latch on to a single moose. They make the moose itchy, uncomfortable and prone to spending a lot of time and energy scratching, sometimes rubbing away fur, and too little time eating."
Peter Pekins of the University of New Hampshire, one of the lead scientists studying the disastrous impacts of winter ticks on New England moose, said "the average tick load on an infested moose is 40,000," Rosen writes. He said "a load of more than 40,000 ticks will use up a calf's entire blood supply in four weeks." Perkins said, "They get anemic, they have declining weight too, and that's just the end of them."