Believe it or not, there are "bugs" that freak me out. Specifically, the Ixodida or "ticks." I find
them as cool-looking and fascinating as any other arthropod, parasite or parasitic arthropod
(which you should know I am naturally fond of) and I have never feared such bloodsuckers
as mosquitoes or fleas, but something about ticks - possibly the way they embed in your
flesh and swell like a balloon for days - makes me mortally terrified of ever getting one on my
Nevertheless, the fascination and fondness usually gets the better of me; especially when it
comes to tick paraphernalia, which is rare, but perhaps not quite as rare as you would
expect. I'm fortunate to have come into possession of not only several realistic rubber
ticks, but several adorable stuffed ticks:
The first plush tick I ever received was sent to me by my mother while she attended school in
Texas. Apparently, it came from a souvenir shop. When squeezed, it plays a sound clip of a
woman screaming in horror, which is fairly cute, and hasn't ran out of battery power in almost a
decade. The colors VERY accurately portray a deer tick swollen with its host's blood, the legs
are segmented just right and the mouthparts are spot-on as well. The only discrepancy is that
ticks don't have eyes, but they do make this little guy look sweet and innocent.
This squeaky dog toy is a more abstracted, cartoonish tick, but still recognizably ticky, thanks
primarily to the mouth, and the back markings are reminiscent of some actual ticks as well. I
love the swirly eyes, and the stumpy little legs. Though ticks are arachnids, they only have six
legs when hatch. After their first blood meal, they molt and gain a fourth pair along with male or
female reproductive organs.
Just as lifelike as my first example, but with the flattened body of a tick on an empty stomach. I
love the red teeth under his beaklike face, and the "pinch me" is an odd but fairly appropriate
choice of words. I also appreciate the positioning of that loop, so he looks like he's really
clinging to the wall where I've hung him up.
It's worth noting that this last tick has a flea counterpart, but without the word "FLEA" on its
stomach you might never guess what it was. It could just as easily pass for a louse or a termite.
Still adorable, though; and this one says "bite me" on the back.