How Ticks Dig In With a Mouth Full of Hooks | Deep Look

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    Why can't you just flick a tick? Because it attaches to you with a mouth covered in hooks, while it fattens up on your blood. For days. But don't worry - there *is* a way to pull it out.
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    DEEP LOOK: a new ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. See the unseen at the very edge of our visible world. Explore big scientific mysteries by going incredibly small.
    Spring is here. Unfortunately for hikers and picnickers out enjoying the weather, the new season is prime time for ticks, which can transmit bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
    How they latch on - and stay on - is a feat of engineering that scientists have been piecing together. Once you know how a tick’s mouth works, you understand why it’s impossible to simply flick a tick.
    The key to their success is a menacing mouth covered in hooks that they use to get under the surface of our skin and attach themselves for several days while they fatten up on our blood.
    “Ticks have a lovely, evolved mouth part for doing exactly what they need to do, which is extended feeding,” said Kerry Padgett, supervising public health biologist at the California Department of Public Health in Richmond. “They're not like a mosquito that can just put their mouth parts in and out nicely, like a hypodermic needle.”
    Instead, a tick digs in using two sets of hooks. Each set looks like a hand with three hooked fingers. The hooks dig in and wriggle into the skin. Then these “hands” bend in unison to perform approximately half-a-dozen breaststrokes that pull skin out of the way so the tick can push in a long stubby part called the hypostome.
    “It’s almost like swimming into the skin,” said Dania Richter, a biologist at the Technische Universität Braunschweig in Germany, who has studied the mechanism closely. “By bending the hooks it’s engaging the skin. It’s pulling the skin when it retracts.”
    The bottom of their long hypostome is also covered in rows of hooks that give it the look of a chainsaw. Those hooks act like mini-harpoons, anchoring the tick to us for the long haul.
    “They’re teeth that are backwards facing, similar to one of those gates you would drive over but you're not allowed to back up or else you'd puncture your tires,” said Padgett.
    --- How to remove a tick.
    Kerry Padgett, at the California Department of Public Health, recommends grabbing the tick close to the skin using a pair of fine tweezers and simply pulling straight up.
    “No twisting or jerking,” she said. “Use a smooth motion pulling up.”
    Padgett warned against using other strategies.
    “Don't use Vaseline or try to burn the tick or use a cotton swab soaked in soft soap or any of these other techniques that might take a little longer or might not work at all,” she said. “You really want to remove the tick as soon as possible.”
    --- What happens if the mouth of a tick breaks off in your skin?
    Don’t worry if the tick’s mouth parts stay behind when you pull.
    “The mouth parts are not going to transmit disease to people,” said Padgett.
    If the mouth stayed behind in your skin, it will eventually work its way out, sort of like a splinter does, she said. Clean the bite area with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment.
    ---+ Read the entire article on KQED Science:
    ---+ For more information:
    Centers for Disease Control information on Lyme disease:
    Mosquito & Vector Control District for San Mateo County, California:

    ---+ More Great Deep Look episodes:
    How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood
    So … Sometimes Fireflies Eat Other Fireflies
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    Funding for Deep Look is provided in part by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look is a project of KQED Science, which is supported by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Fuhs Family Foundation Fund and the members of KQED.
    #deeplook #ticks #tickbite

Comments • 80

  • Gabriela Quiros
    Gabriela Quiros 2 years ago +2373

    Hello Deep Look fans. Thank you very much for watching! I produced this episode of Deep Look and wrote an article to accompany the video. I know many of you are curious about how to best remove a tick. Kerry Padgett, supervising biologist and tick expert at the California Department of Public Health, recommends grabbing the tick close to the skin using a pair of fine tweezers and simply pulling straight up.
    Padgett warned against using other strategies.
    “Don’t use Vaseline or try to burn the tick or use a cotton swab soaked in soft soap or any of these other techniques that might take a little longer or might not work at all,” she said. “You really want to remove the tick as soon as possible.”
    Time is of the essence. If an infected tick bites humans, it actually takes at least 24 hours before Lyme bacteria start swimming out in the saliva the tick drips into its host.
    So don’t worry if the tick’s mouth parts - the ones covered in those tenacious hooks - stay behind when you pull.
    “The mouth parts are not going to transmit disease to people,” said Padgett.
    Once the tick’s body is no longer attached, it can’t transmit bacteria. And if the mouth stays behind in your skin, it will eventually work its way out, sort of like a splinter does, she said.
    You can read my complete article here:
    Thank you for watching! --Gabriela

      IKETOONS 5 months ago


    • Anthony R.
      Anthony R. 6 months ago

      Gabriela Quiros hi. Thanks for the episode.
      I have had many ticks bite me in the forest, and I always twisted them out. It takes a minute and doesn't leave anything in the skin.
      I was told that if mouthparts are left in the skin it could swell.
      I will try just pulling ticks out next time, but thinking about it now I have one concern. Is it possible that if you squeeze the tick with tweezers too hard its contents with Lime bacteria will be injected in the body?
      Thank you.

    • Valentin Ramirez
      Valentin Ramirez 10 months ago

      What if I was to use an cotton swab with rubbing alcohol? Is this better in any way or worse?

    • Marla Dickens
      Marla Dickens 10 months ago

      That's a lot of typing.

    • Shalom Ayoola
      Shalom Ayoola Year ago

      who let them selves be bitten by all kinds of living things
      P.S(please answer) :)

  • The Tick Terminator
    The Tick Terminator 18 hours ago

    great videos, just need to talk about prevention with permethrin!!!

  • humptyS
    humptyS 2 days ago

    Me watching horror movies: Haha..what a joke
    Me watching this video: Man the background music is scary

  • I am a POTATO
    I am a POTATO 3 days ago

    i wonder what the guy thought when he agreed to this torture

  • Grace Rowan
    Grace Rowan 10 days ago

    I’m laying in my bed rn and I’m scared

  • Aidan Lounsberry
    Aidan Lounsberry 10 days ago

    I am now very itchy

  • Fernando Silva
    Fernando Silva 12 days ago

    Lol who else got scared when watching this video?

  • lukes father
    lukes father 13 days ago

    Nuke them

  • Keaton
    Keaton 15 days ago

    Why is every thing out for my blood

  • Nova Xenomorph
    Nova Xenomorph 16 days ago

    The weirdest thing is that we don't feel it

  • John Doe
    John Doe 16 days ago

    Three years?

    MASTER OF GAMING 18 days ago

    Now im covering my body with pest powder!!!

  • Gisley Alves
    Gisley Alves 20 days ago +1

    I just LOVE this channel. All the information here is something quite new. The narrator"s voice ( this woman in specific) is something pleasurable to hear. ( please, keep her.) Greetings from BRAZIL 🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷

  • Hema s patil Patil
    Hema s patil Patil 20 days ago

    What do we do if we have so many eggs on our head ..

  • Kissinger Kiss
    Kissinger Kiss 21 day ago

    The only ticks I know are found on cows.

  • maha Medhat
    maha Medhat 22 days ago

    why did i watch this why did i watch this why did i watch this why did i watch this

  • aniya simon
    aniya simon 23 days ago

    Am i the only one that says what do they help with if they dont hlep anything important in the earth then MAKE THEM GO EXSTENT THEY CAN KILL YOU

  • Creature Domes
    Creature Domes 25 days ago

    🐜🐝🐛🦋🕷🦀ticks are cool

  • Creature Domes
    Creature Domes 25 days ago +1

    Very cool high quality videos

  • Puggy Pugster
    Puggy Pugster 28 days ago

    I saw a tick crawling on me today and I squashed it.

  • Pinnacle
    Pinnacle 29 days ago

    everyday we shower after that we wipe ourselves with towels so the must be on ur towel

  • youR aRse
    youR aRse 29 days ago

    Imagine getting slam when you full

  • S Saeed
    S Saeed Month ago

    Now a new excuse not to go out into a forest =)

  • Izak 2.0
    Izak 2.0 Month ago

    And tics that dude is superman

  • No Name No Name
    No Name No Name Month ago

    Be sure to mow the lawn regularly, ware long legged pants and high socks, check yourself thoroughly after going outside for long periods of time, and be kind to ladybugs.

  • RepThe616
    RepThe616 Month ago

    And this is why I don't go outside

  • Yan Zhao
    Yan Zhao Month ago

    It takes 24 hours for the bacteria to get into your body

  • Kaylee Ruth
    Kaylee Ruth Month ago

    this made me look for tics after every outside session on my kids and on me

  • Gamer Supreme
    Gamer Supreme Month ago

    *sees tick laying eggs*


  • Flashy97
    Flashy97 Month ago

    Must make sure you remove the head as it can bury in the skin

  • dan
    dan Month ago

    Are ticks in London

  • Ginny Aragon
    Ginny Aragon Month ago

    Just need to eat Tick tack After watching this History.

  • Savannah Brooke
    Savannah Brooke Month ago

    So basically don’t breathe and we are fine

  • DiamondCraftSprite Crafter

    Cameramen, YOU OKAY?!

  • Amelia Sauter
    Amelia Sauter Month ago

    I had a tick behind my neck before and I didn’t notice it

  • akrinah
    akrinah Month ago

    Two questions.
    1. How the hack did that creature evolve in the first place with such a conplex swiss knife (same goes for mosquitos)?
    2. Why did Mose collect two of those? Could have forgotten them for God's sake.

  • Jįßæñ
    Jįßæñ Month ago

    Girl: Ewww I don’t want these thing to be with me!
    Me: *Hold your breath*

  • bryana Valcarcel
    bryana Valcarcel Month ago

    Did they acctually let the tick suck someone's blood just for the video

  • Lanny Buntaran
    Lanny Buntaran Month ago +1

    I remember watch a vid about ticks to but had tips of how to avoid them, they live in the forest grass and you sould tuck your clothes in high rubber bouts so it will be harder for them to grab on... And and every 5 minute you should check all over you and if you have a partner you can check each other also i remember a scientist that studys ticks and I forgot her name... Also just to let you know
    Edit: 3:43 I think it's her, she showed a technique to catch ticks

  • UnEmployed
    UnEmployed Month ago

    3:18 I would definitely burn him after I pull him out

  • Justus Whittington
    Justus Whittington Month ago

    genie: what are your three wishes
    me: *which three abominations that I've learned about from Deep Look should be extinct.."

  • Paul marsh
    Paul marsh Month ago

    Notice how the narrator always says she. Like all blood-sucking parasites, it's usually a female

  • Connor Volk
    Connor Volk Month ago

    ive seen a nypth and ran to a parrent and they drowned it >:D
    Edit: luckly it did not find a spot to bite me and just whent in my room

  • Spinosaurus Rex
    Spinosaurus Rex Month ago

    *heavy flamethrower*

  • TrapThoseEars
    TrapThoseEars Month ago

    I feel bad for the skin

  • Alexis Jankowski
    Alexis Jankowski Month ago

    2:28 There’s a tongue in there. 🤢

  • Tram Ed Noel
    Tram Ed Noel Month ago

    My dog almost had erlichia because of ticks. 😤

  • The Incursio
    The Incursio Month ago

    If they live on blood then how do they survive while they are on those grasses.. What do the feed on until the find their hosts ??

  • Denkis Parks
    Denkis Parks Month ago

    Once again, whos body did you sacrifice?

  • Jenny Jen
    Jenny Jen Month ago

    Opposums each eat about 2,000 ticks a year!!

  • -Mr Trolololz- /brawl stars\

    When u watch this and 2 min later u FRICKING FIND ONE ON UR FAV HOODIE

  • Lovida Smith
    Lovida Smith Month ago

    If we are animals too then therefore we are cannibals because we eat other animals...

  • Ari Yuhh
    Ari Yuhh Month ago

    Avril Lavigne, Justin Bieber 💔

  • Boris G
    Boris G Month ago

    I like this channel a lot, it’s very informative and the information is presented in an interesting way.Great job to the creators.

  • The Terminator
    The Terminator Month ago

    Maybe it fell into Laura's bed. Maybe it will clamp onto a moist area of her groin area when she sleeps tonight.

  • Revenge Squad
    Revenge Squad Month ago

    Did you know that if you burn a full tick. It will pop like a popcorn..

    JIMMALI Month ago

    I one time had a tick in My belly button

  • Bassdoc Bundy from the Streets

    This is 4mins. of my life I'll never get back

  • Aaliylah Isaac
    Aaliylah Isaac Month ago

    Covering up time 👍🏾

  • Mike Maby
    Mike Maby 2 months ago

    Another interesting vid "ticked" off the list.

  • BlazingFiregamer 9
    BlazingFiregamer 9 2 months ago

    I can’t decide what is worse ticks or tape worms.
    They both still need to die in a fire.

  • Jeremiah Tisdale
    Jeremiah Tisdale 2 months ago

    why do you not feel a tick biting you?

  • Jen Al
    Jen Al 2 months ago +2

    Her: The hills are alive

  • Soren Southard
    Soren Southard 2 months ago

    I won't forgive you just because your so cute.

  • Brothers Of Inspirations

    I wanna scratch somewhere on my body while watching this

  • SL Gamer
    SL Gamer 2 months ago

    Put some salt water on it and it will go

  • Helder Almeida
    Helder Almeida 2 months ago

    I only came here because of the lion whisper add maintain cleaning the lions of ticks I didn't know what it was so I search for it on RU-clip to see what was ticks

  • Paulina.C Arias
    Paulina.C Arias 2 months ago

    I hate them, every time I find one on my dog I grab it with tweezers and burn it 🔥

  • Marcus Philius
    Marcus Philius 2 months ago

    Tiny piece of s****t

  • ivone _wolfygamez
    ivone _wolfygamez 2 months ago

    Let me tell you something that you won't believe I have dogs and they stay outside and went to the forest and got alot of thicks and horrible things happen it went to my HOUSE 😫 it was so tiny and my family use tape to tape them and burn them and my father baught some viniger it kills the ticks and every thick came out of my house and I taught that was the end but it didn't end there there where one big thick that has blood in it sticking on my house wall I told my father but he didn't believe it he say is just a moth or something it fricking look like thick so like one month later I see something moving in my house floor and I was baby thicks EVERWHERE!!!!!!!

  • John Dordevic
    John Dordevic 2 months ago

    And after you pull it out, throw it on the ground and step on it , squash it then pick it up with tweezers and burn it , then throw it in the bin. 😀

  • SupremeDuck 21
    SupremeDuck 21 2 months ago

    They killed my dog

    VIICE 2 months ago

    1:12 "Yes, come here" "Just a *little* closer"

  • Cozy Mozy
    Cozy Mozy 2 months ago

    Thx I needed to know how to get them off

  • Kitten lover25 Love cats

    I actually have lime disease for my whole makes everything horrible

  • Zacki TheSpino
    Zacki TheSpino 3 months ago +2


  • Willow uwu
    Willow uwu 3 months ago +2

    "It may be in ur bed."
    *_sleeps on the ground_*

  • My little poneh Rawr
    My little poneh Rawr 3 months ago

    Hehe, ..... don’t let the bed bugs bite 😈😈

  • Kai Anthony
    Kai Anthony 3 months ago

    One of them got me before I was awake, luckily, I killed it when it was just leaving.
    The tick was 5 cm tall and 4 cm wide

  • Hello OwO
    Hello OwO 3 months ago

    Guys applaud the person who got bit just to do this shot and was in pain