Introducing… the Baby Ticks
From eavesdropping at baby showers and reading the status updates of pregnant Facebook friends, I’ve gathered the waiting at the end of the third trimester is suspenseful and both thrilling and excruciating. And now, I can relate a little better. Courtesy of a tick.
In March, Ryan Somma removed a tick from one of the dogs. There isn’t terribly unusual and we have a whole disposal routine involving the toilet. Only this time instead of getting flushed, Ryan put the tick in a specimen jar.
The last week of March, Ryan picked up the vial off his desk and I heard this:
“So this is what happens to a tick after you take it off a dog.”
Well I had to see for myself. I walked over and my first reaction mirrored Ryan’s.
Our tick had laid eggs. Hundreds and hundreds of eggs.
And like Ryan, my disgust was followed by fascination… or obsession. Both terms are equally fitting.
For that day on, I was waiting for the baby ticks. When I was home, I would wake up, feed the dogs, check on the baby ticks. Sometimes if I was having a slow afternoon, the baby ticks got checked multiple times throughout the day. When I was on business trips and called home, I would ask my usual question to Ryan, “Did I get any mail?”. And then I would ask, “How are the baby ticks?”
As with any upcoming arrival, you share your excitement with family. I told my mother about the tick eggs. I told Ryan’s mother about the tick eggs. (Neither seemed particularly impressed).
Alas, despite my enthusiasm, day after day, morning after morning, those eggs were the same disgusting blobs they were on March 29th. There were no baby ticks. With each visit to the bookshelf to look at the specimen jar, I became more and more frustrated.
Finally, convinced they were dead, I gave up. I didn’t check on the ticks at all last week…. until Friday, May 1st. When I approached the specimen jar, I could see a lot of dirt on the inside.
“Dirty” Vial (Photo by Ryan Somma)
At first, I was miffed, thinking one of the neighborhood kids had decided to shake it. And then I realized…. it was the baby ticks.
THEY WERE FINALLY HERE!
Baby Ticks Waiting for the Jar to be Opened (Photo by Ryan Somma)
Our new pets aren’t exactly pretty, but they are interesting. They like to be as high as they can get. No matter how the vial is positioned, they climb to the top. You rotate it, they climb to the new top. It’s like a reverse hour glass.
FrontLine’s website says, “Regardless of species, tick eggs hatch in about two weeks.” That wasn’t the case with our baby ticks. When it was all said and done, it took them 28 – 33 days to hatch. I anticipated waited agonized for the baby ticks for roughly one human menstrual cycle. I can only imagine the suspense that accompanies one human gestation period!
Now that the baby ticks have finally arrived, I embark on another act of waiting.
This time I’m waiting for them to die.