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Number 7 Vampire Bat
In the animal kingdom, there are three bat species that only feed on blood and they’re commonly known as vampire bats. These are the hairy-legged, the white-winged and the common vampire bat, all of which are native to the Americas. Like the legendary creatures which inspired their names, vampire bats only hunt at night and own a set of razor-sharp teeth. Once they find a sleeping mammal, they’ll use infrared radiation to find a warm spot on the body to bite into. It’s worth mentioning that, aside from a few snake species, these creatures are among the only vertebrates capable of detecting infrared radiation.
Number 6 Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have been known human parasites since ancient times. These tiny insects feed on human blood but, unlike other creatures on our list, aren’t known to transmit any infectious diseases. They bite people at night, as they’re sleeping, usually targeting the face, neck and arms. The main reason their attracted to us is carbon dioxide, followed by warmth as well as certain chemicals. Their bites, which often occur as three in a row, may cause skin rashes and other allergic reactions.
Number 5 Tapeworm
There are seven types of tapeworms known for infecting humans and they’re usually identified by the animals they came from, such as Taenia solium from pork or Taenia saginata from beef. One of the most common ways to become infected with tapeworms is by eating raw or undercooked meat. Usually, the eggs or larvae of these worms become attached to the gastrointestinal tract of their host. Once the larvae hatch they deprive the hosts of nutrients and, in their adult form, may keep growing for years without detection.
Number 4 Leeches
Leeches are worms from the Annelida order. Much like the common earthworm, they also have soft, muscular bodies, which are segmented and may lengthen and contract. One feature that distinguishes leeches from earthworms is that they have suckers at both ends. From ancient times and up until the 19th century, leeches were used in medicine to draw blood from patients. Their bites are more alarming than they dangerous. Nevertheless, people can have severe allergic or anaphylactic reactions, which require immediate medical attention. The proper way to get a leech off the body is to detach its suckers with a flat blunt object and then to flick it off. Killing the leech by burning it was once thought most effective.
Number 3 Fleas
Fleas are small insects that survive by consuming the blood of birds and mammals, a practice known as hematophagy. They’re able to move through the fur or feathers of their hosts because of their narrow bodies. Despite being flightless insects, they do have several adaptations which make them highly-efficient external parasites. Fleas also have hind legs that are exceptionally well-adapted for jumping. In fact, they are among nature’s best jumpers, capable of leaping over a distance that’s 50 times greater than their body length.
Number 2 Mosquitoes
When wondering what the deadliest creature on our planet is, common answers usually involve bears, sharks, crocodiles or big cats. However, in reality, you needn’t look further than the common mosquito. The ‘bite’, as it’s commonly referred to, is actually the proboscis piercing through the skin of its host. The itchy rashes caused by a mosquito bite are actually a reaction to their saliva. The iron and protein from the extracted blood are essential for the female mosquito to produce eggs.
Number 1 Tick
Ticks are tiny eight-legged creatures which typically don’t grow more than a few millimeters in length. They’re part of the arachnid class, which also includes spiders and scorpions. There are two major tick families-Argasidae, or soft ticks, and Ixodiae, also known as hard ticks. The latter have hard shields on their bodies and their mouth parts are located at the front, in a beak-like structure. Soft ticks, on the other hand, have their mouth parts on the underside of the body and lack the hard shield.