The cat flea or the Ctenocephalides felis is the most common parasite of domestic animals including dogs and cats. However, most people know very little about fleas in general. This creates confusion and disappointment when they discover an infestation. Once people do find out that they could have prevented an infestation, they wish they had been informed about these things. Ooh and aah as you might about their ugliness; you will still need to come up with a diabolical plan to eliminate fleas.
In this guide, I am presenting several fascinating, surprising and fun facts about fleas, so prepare to be amazed.
Amazing flea facts that will blow your mind
1. Fleas have been mentioned in the Bible
Yes, fleas have actually found a place in the Bible. In Samuel 24:14, King Saul took 1000 men to see David who said: “After whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? Or a single flea?” Also, in Samuel 26:20, “Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from the presence of the LORD; for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, just as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
2. They have a ball of substance called Resilin above their hind legs
Resilin is the most elastic substance known to man. Drop a ball made from resilin from 100 feet and it will bounce back nearly 97 feet. That is what makes fleas such good jumpers.
3. Lapdog’s were actually bred for fleas
Another interesting fact about fleas is that in the past, people actually kept lapdogs for exactly one purpose which had nothing to do with their loyalty or unconditional love. They were kept to distract fleas so they would not bite the owners and would bite the dog instead. Harsh!
4. Can a human jump 1000 ft? No, but a flea could if it had your size
1000 feet is nearly 150 times the normal size of the average human. A flea can easily achieve this feat thanks to its resilin. In fact: fleas can jump 30,000 times without stopping!
5. Fleas are faster than a space shuttle!
When a flea jumps, it can accelerate 50 times faster than a space shuttle.
6. Their sense of hearing and sight are not well-developed
Fleas are virtually blind and they do not have ears, but they do sense changes in light.
7. Flea nuisance is a lot better now than in the past
This is true- our ancestors had much more moisture in their homes than modern humans do. Flea larvae need moisture to feed and grow. Hence our forbearers suffered a lot more than we do from fleas.
8. The Antarctic flea can survive under ice and snow
Evolution has led this species of fleas to be able to withstand extreme cold. It can wait for as long as 9 months under the ice and snow for its host to return to the nest.
9. Fleas have found a place in the London Museum of Natural History
Yes! The tiny 19th century Mexico flea souvenirs have been actually “dressed” as a woodcutter, a drummer boy and even a wedding couple! The dresses are made with paper and cloth, and the little figurines have tiny flea faces in place of human ones.
10. A flea infestation cannot be eliminated within a few days
It can take 3 to 8 weeks once you begin the right treatment for fleas to be eliminated completely. Remember: the fleas you see today on your dog have come from flea eggs that hatched 3-8 weeks ago!
11. They can pull a lot of weight
Literally! Fleas can pull 106,000 times their own weight and that is like pulling 2679 double decker buses, which is close to what Chuck Norris pulls.
Let me show you some common mistakes made by pet owners when it comes to flea infestations.
10 mistakes pet owners make when fighting flea infestations
- Waiting until they actually see a flea on their pet before beginning the treatment.
- Thinking they cannot have fleas since their dog or cat is always indoors.
- Treating only one dog or cat that has fleas and not treating all pets. You have to treat all the pets even if you do not see fleas on them.
- Not treating the pet’s environment.
- Believing that any flea collar or product brought from the store will keep fleas away; most over-the-counter so-called safe products are actually harmful for the pets and also ineffective.
- Blaming the pet’s fleas on stray dogs, or even the vet’s clinic. Most flea infestations start when the flea jumps on the pet from its nest area directly on the pet. Once it is on your pet, it stays on your pet. It also means that your pet has come in contact with an area where fleas were hatching. Your pet cannot and does not get fleas from the vet’s clinic or from the animal in its adjacent cage at the dog care centre.
- Believing that fleas are only common during summers. In many parts of the United States, fleas are rampant in autumn.
- Believing that one cannot have fleas just because there are no carpets in your home. Fleas tend to hide in cracks and crevices of furniture and floor boards too.
- Not using flea products at regular intervals. It is very important to make a note on your calendar to use the flea product at specified intervals.
- Incorrectly applying the products. Make sure you find out the proper ways of administering the products and ask your vet to show you again, in case of doubt.
It is easier to prevent fleas rather than deal with an infestation. I hope these flea facts help you take fleas more seriously and also help you avoid common mistakes that other pet owners have made in the past.