Tick-a-lish (not for the squeamish)

posted in: Life in South Africa | 3

I’d had a small scab on my hip for about a week, but had assumed that I had scratched myself, or even (rather more worrying) that it was a rogue mole, especially as it wobbled a bit. It was only when Val took a closer look, that she told me I ought to see the doctor, as she thought it might be a tick, picked up on safari.

The school arranged for me to be driven to the school’s doctor, Dr Leong, who operated out of a delightfully old-fashioned surgery. No appointment necessary, I signed in and was seen immediately. “Let’s have a look,” she said, and then “Ughh! It’s still there!” She told me she had never seen such a healthy, living specimen, so she took a photo of it, before attempting its removal. “It’s giving me the heeby-jeebies,” she said with a shiver. “He’s a stubborn little bugger!” but then, out he came. It was something of a surprise when she popped him into a specimen jar for me to take home, but it means you can see him too – he’s about a quarter the size of your fingernail.

Val was less surprised, as she told me she had seen him wiggling his legs that morning, but had kept the full truth from me to prevent me throwing a wobbly. Or fainting.

South African bont tick Amblyomma hebraeum (adult male)
Apparently, this one is most commonly found living on a buffalo’s hide!

3 Responses

  1. Chris

    Not sure I’m qualified to comment upon the nervous situation of any tick, let alone this specific one. I wasn’t really nervous at all, Dr Leong being so matter-of-fact but funny. In terms of a life-changing event, it definitely was far worse for the now deceased Terry (such being his name) than for me.

  2. Dayle Whitaker

    just for future reference
    when removing a tic don’t pull it out or try and dislodge it,use a live cigarret and bring it close to the back of the tic it will then retract it’s claws and release its self.
    if the head breaks off then you can get extremely sick.
    did this many times in the army

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