What Animals Eat Ticks? You May Be Surprised

by Derrick | Last Updated: July 18, 2023

Ticks. Those tiny, blood-sucking pests that can ruin a beautiful day outdoors. They latch onto us humans and our furry friends, spreading diseases like Lyme disease in the process. But did you know there are natural predators out there who actually enjoy feasting on these pesky parasites? Yes, you heard it right! Some animals eat ticks, helping to control their population and reduce the risk of tick-borne illnesses. From birds soaring through the sky to reptiles slithering on the ground, mammals roaming in forests to insects buzzing in gardens – nature has its own army of tick hunters. In this article, we’ll explore which animals have a taste for ticks and dive into the benefits of having these creatures as allies in our battle against these bothersome bugs. So let’s uncover who’s dining on ticks and how they can be your best defense against these minuscule menaces!

What Animals Eat Ticks?

Ticks have a few natural predators that help control their population in various ecosystems. Let’s take a look at some of the animals that eat ticks:

  1. Birds: Many bird species, including guinea fowl, chickens, turkeys, and ducks, are known for consuming ticks. These birds forage on the ground where ticks are commonly found and help reduce tick populations in their natural habitats.
  2. Reptiles: Some reptiles also feed on ticks. Species like lizards and certain types of snakes are effective tick eaters, particularly in grassy areas where ticks thrive.
  3. Mammals: Opossums and squirrels are among the mammals that consume ticks as part of their diet. While they may not be as efficient at controlling tick populations as birds or reptiles, they still play a role in reducing tick numbers.
  4. Insects: Certain insects such as spiders and ants also prey on ticks when given the opportunity. However, their impact on tick populations may be relatively limited compared to other animals.

It’s important to note that while these animals can help keep tick populations in check, they may not completely eliminate them from an area. Additionally, relying solely on natural predators is not always sufficient for tick control in areas with high-risk diseases.

If you’re dealing with a significant tick problem around your property or concerned about disease transmission, it’s essential to consider additional measures such as using insecticides or seeking professional pest control services.

In conclusion, while several animal species do eat ticks naturally and contribute to controlling their populations to some extent, it’s crucial to adopt comprehensive strategies for effective tick management and disease prevention.


Birds are one of the most effective natural predators of ticks. Many bird species, including opossums, chickens, guinea fowl, turkeys, and ducks, consume ticks as part of their diet. These birds play an important role in controlling tick populations in their natural habitats.

Ticks can often be found in grassy areas or wooded regions where birds tend to forage for food. Birds help reduce the tick population by eating both adult ticks and their larvae. They effectively control tick populations in small areas such as backyard properties.

Research has shown that certain bird species can significantly reduce tick numbers. For example, guinea fowl have been studied for their ticketing abilities and be highly effective at consuming large numbers of ticks. Chickens also play a role in the biological control of ticks by feeding on them when they come across them while pecking around on the ground.

It’s important to note that not all bird species eat ticks. While some birds actively seek out and consume ticks as part of their natural diet, others may not show the same level of interest or effectiveness in controlling tick populations.

In addition to birds, other animals such as reptiles (including lizards), mammals (such as opossums and squirrels), insects (like spiders), frogs, and even domestic animals like cats and dogs may also eat ticks to some extent. However, research suggests that birds are among the most effective predators when it comes to reducing tick numbers naturally.

By promoting a healthy ecosystem with a diverse range of wildlife species, you can encourage natural control measures against ticks. Providing suitable habitat for birds and avoiding practices that harm or disrupt their populations can help create an environment where these natural predators thrive and keep tick populations in check.


Reptiles are another group of animals that play a role in controlling tick populations. Certain species of reptiles, such as lizards and toads, have been known to consume ticks. These small creatures can be found in grassy areas and gardens where ticks often thrive.

Research has shown that reptiles can be effective biological control agents for tick-eating. For example, studies have found that certain species of lizards can significantly reduce tick populations in specific areas.

While reptiles may not be the first animals that come to mind when thinking about tick control, their natural inclination to feed on insects makes them valuable allies in reducing the number of ticks present in an ecosystem.

In addition to birds and mammals, including reptiles as part of the natural predators for ticks helps maintain a balanced ecosystem and provides a more sustainable approach to tick control. So if you spot lizards or other reptiles around your property, consider welcoming them as they contribute to keeping those pesky ticks at bay.


Mammals play a significant role in controlling tick populations. There are several mammal species that actively consume ticks, helping to keep their numbers in check.

Squirrels, for example, have been observed picking off ticks from their fur and consuming them. These small rodents are often found in wooded areas where ticks are prevalent, making them an effective biological control method.

Other mammals known to eat ticks include opossums and chipmunks. Opossums are particularly effective tick predators as they groom themselves regularly, removing any parasites that may be present on their fur. Chipmunks also contribute to tick control by consuming the pests when they come across them.

Deer can also play a role in reducing tick populations through grooming behavior. While deer do not directly consume ticks like other mammals, they can help by removing them from their fur during grooming sessions.

It’s important to note that while mammals can help reduce tick numbers, they should not be relied upon as the sole method of tick control. Incorporating other strategies such as landscaping modifications and chemical treatments can provide a more comprehensive approach to managing these pests.


Insects also play a role in controlling tick populations. Certain species of insects, such as spiders and ants, are known to feed on ticks. These tiny predators can be found in grassy areas and gardens where ticks are commonly found. By consuming ticks, insects help to naturally reduce their population.

One insect that is particularly effective at eating ticks is the guinea fowl. Guinea fowl are known for their tick-eating abilities and are often used for biological tick control on properties with high tick populations. These birds roam around the property, eating ticks and other pests like grasshoppers and spiders.

In addition to guinea fowl, other birds, such as chickens and turkeys, have also been observed consuming ticks. While they may not be as effective as guinea fowl, they can still contribute to reducing the tick population.

It’s important to note that while animals like birds and insects can help control tick populations, they may not eliminate them. Therefore, it’s essential to implement a comprehensive approach that includes proper landscaping practices and regular checks for ticks on both humans and pets.

By understanding which animals eat ticks and encouraging their presence in our environment, we can take advantage of natural tick control methods while minimizing the use of pesticides or chemicals.

Do Domestic Animals Eat Ticks?

Domestic animals can play a role in controlling tick populations, but their effectiveness in consuming ticks varies. While some domestic animals may eat ticks, others are not as likely to do so.

Cats, for example, are known for their hunting abilities and may consume ticks when they come across them. However, cats primarily focus on smaller prey such as rodents and birds, so they may not be the most effective tick predators.

Dogs also have the potential to eat ticks while grooming themselves or through interactions with infested environments. However, it’s important to note that dogs can also become hosts for ticks and carry them into your home.

Horses are less likely to consume ticks directly since they primarily graze on tall grasses where adult ticks tend to be found. However, horses can indirectly help control tick populations by attracting natural predators like birds and reptiles that feed on insects including ticks.

It’s worth mentioning that even if domestic animals do consume some ticks, it is unlikely that they will completely eliminate tick populations on your property. Tick control requires a multi-faceted approach that includes other preventive measures such as habitat modification and regular use of tick repellents.

In the next section, we’ll explore the benefits of having animals eat ticks and how you can incorporate this natural method into your overall tick management strategy.


Cats are known for their hunting skills and can be effective tick predators. They are natural hunters and have the ability to catch small creatures like ticks. While cats may not specifically target ticks, they can help in controlling the tick population around your property.

Ticks are often found in grassy areas or on the ground, and cats that spend time outdoors may come into contact with them. When a cat encounters a tick, it may try to catch and eat it. This behavior is instinctual for many cats as they are programmed to hunt small prey.

However, it’s important to note that relying solely on cats to control tick populations may not be enough. Cats can only consume a limited number of ticks, especially if there is a significant infestation. Therefore, it’s still important to take other preventative measures such as regular grooming of your cat and environmental control methods.

In addition to cats, there are other animals that also eat ticks and play a role in keeping their populations in check. Birds such as guinea fowl, chickens, turkeys, and ducks are known to consume ticks. Reptiles like lizards also feed on ticks when given the opportunity. These natural predators contribute positively towards reducing the overall tick population.

While having animals that eat ticks can be beneficial in controlling their numbers naturally, it’s essential to remember that relying solely on these animals may not provide complete protection against tick-borne diseases. It is still crucial to implement comprehensive prevention strategies for yourself and your pets.

Next up: Dogs


Dogs are known to be effective tick predators and can play a valuable role in controlling tick populations. They have a keen sense of smell and are capable of sniffing out ticks, even in grassy areas where ticks often hide. Dogs can also consume ticks when they groom themselves or when they find them on their body.

Certain dog breeds, such as the guinea fowl and chickens, are particularly effective at eating ticks. These birds actively forage for insects, including ticks, on the ground. They can help reduce tick populations in areas where they roam freely.

In addition to birds, other animals like opossums, turkeys, frogs, spiders, and certain species of lizards also feed on ticks. These natural predators contribute to maintaining a balance in tick populations by keeping their numbers under control.

While dogs may eat ticks found on their bodies or during grooming sessions, it’s important to note that they should not be solely relied upon as the sole method of tick control. Tick prevention measures such as using topical treatments or oral medications recommended by veterinarians should still be implemented to ensure comprehensive protection against tick-borne diseases.

Overall, having animals like dogs that naturally consume ticks can provide some level of biological control for these pests. However, it’s important to remember that relying solely on animals is not sufficient for effective tick control and prevention strategies. Combining multiple methods tailored to your specific situation will yield the best results in managing tick populations and reducing the risk of tick-borne diseases.


Horses are another animal that can help control tick populations. These larger mammals are known for grazing in grassy areas, where ticks often reside. As horses move through these environments, they can inadvertently consume ticks while grazing on the grass.

While horses may not actively seek out ticks as a food source like birds or reptiles do, their presence and movement can still help reduce tick populations naturally. By creating disturbance in tick-infested areas, horses can disrupt the habitat and make it less favorable for ticks to thrive.

It’s important to note that relying solely on horses to control tick populations may not be as effective as using other tick predators, such as guinea fowl or chickens. Horses primarily eat grass and hay, so their impact on reducing tick numbers is more indirect compared to animals with a more specialized diet.

In addition to consuming ticks while grazing, horses also have dense coats which provide some physical barrier against tick attachment. However, horse owners should still take precautions to protect their equine companions from ticks by implementing regular grooming practices and using appropriate parasite prevention products recommended by veterinarians.

Overall, while horses may not be the most effective tick predators compared to other species like opossums or guinea fowl, their presence and natural behaviors can still contribute to controlling tick populations in certain areas. It’s always beneficial to have diverse wildlife habitats with a variety of predator species working together for biological pest control.

What Are The Benefits Of Having Animals Eat Ticks?

Having animals that eat ticks can provide several benefits, both for the animals themselves and for us humans. Here are some of the advantages of encouraging tick-eating animals in our surroundings:

  1. Natural Tick Control: Animals that consume ticks help to naturally control their population. By feeding on ticks, these creatures act as natural predators, reducing the number of ticks in an area. This can be especially beneficial in areas where tick-borne diseases are prevalent.
  2. Reduced Disease Risk: Ticks are known carriers of various diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. When animals eat ticks, they help to lower the risk of these diseases by decreasing the overall tick population.
  3. Biological Pest Control: Encouraging tick-eating animals creates a biological approach to pest control rather than relying solely on chemicals or pesticides. This can be particularly appealing for those who prefer more eco-friendly methods and want to minimize their use of harsh chemicals.
  4. Maintaining Ecosystem Balance: Ticks have their place in nature, but when their population becomes unbalanced, it can disrupt ecosystems. Animals that eat ticks contribute to maintaining this balance by keeping tick populations under control.
  5. Less Reliance on Pesticides: With animals consuming ticks naturally, there is less need for chemical interventions like pesticides or insecticides to manage tick populations. This reduces our reliance on harmful substances and promotes a healthier environment overall.

By allowing birds, reptiles, mammals, insects like guinea fowl and chickens – along with other tick-eating species – into our outdoor spaces or promoting habitats suitable for them nearby our properties, we create conditions where they can thrive and contribute to controlling the tick population effectively.

While having these critters around is undoubtedly beneficial when it comes to managing ticks naturally; however please note that they may not completely eliminate all ticks from areas entirely on their own since some species might not actively consume them as their primary diet. Nevertheless, their presence can still make a noticeable difference in tick populations and reduce the risk of tick-related diseases.

In the next section, we will explore some specific animals that are known for consuming ticks and how they contribute to tick control.


In conclusion, there are several animals that eat ticks and can help control their population. Birds such as guinea fowl, chickens, turkeys, and ducks are known to consume ticks and can be effective tick predators. Reptiles like lizards and toads also play a role in tick control by eating them.

Mammals such as opossums, squirrels, and certain species of mice are natural predators of ticks as well. Insects like spiders also contribute to reducing tick populations in outdoor areas.

Having these animals around can provide a natural way of controlling tick populations on your property. By creating habitats that attract these tick-eating animals, you can create an environment where ticks are less likely to thrive.

However, it’s important to note that relying solely on these animals for tick control may not be enough in certain situations or regions where tick-borne diseases are prevalent. It is still advisable to take additional measures such as using repellents and conducting regular checks for ticks on yourself and your pets.

Doing further research about the specific types of ticks found in your area and the local wildlife that eat them will help you develop an effective strategy for managing ticks on your property while minimizing the risk of tick-borne diseases.