Host hair loss over the winter: patchy mooses may be ticky mooses

A reminder to keep an eye out this winter for moose and other host animals (caribou, deer, elk) with patchy hair.

Winter ticks often cause very distinctive hair loss patterns on their hosts - broken hair or bald patches of skin may be visible on the rump, shoulders and neck of infested animals.

Moose with a high number of winter ticks may rub and break their hair resulting in a white-ish appearance (often known as "ghost moose"). Understanding how many animals are affected one year, and how badly, may be a good predictor of the likely tick-burdens for moose the next.

Upload your photos of moose and other hosts to iNaturalist, and join our project here, to help us keep a track of likely winter tick infestations over the winter season.

image credit: TJ Gooliaff
A moose with winter tick related hair loss, British Columbia. Image credit: TJ Gooliaff.

Posted by emilychenery emilychenery, January 16, 2019 14:57

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