|Lovely complexity of nature.|
Oh sure. We had to hang around for an hour at the public library, which was torture, until she and a state wildlife biologist pulled up in her shiny black Colorado Parks and Wildlife truck.
When they handed over the crated fawn, they mentioned that it had a lot of ticks in its ear. And when we unloaded it, we saw them, like a bunch of grapes.
C., the rehabber, said she would enjoy popping them and killing them. She has a macabre sense of humor sometimes.
It can be worse. This page, from an organization devoted to creating perfect private habitat for whitetail deer, has some gruesome pictures under the heading "Can Ticks Kill Fawns?"
Writing about ticks always makes me think of outdoor entrepreneur and author George Leonard Herter. (Before there was Cabela's, there was Herter's.) Steve Bodio and I form a sort of two-person George Leonard Herter appreciation society.
Herter wrote with no regard for the norms and niceties of "sporting literature," just saying whatever was on his mind. Dare I say it, he was the Donald Trump of hunting writers.
He frequently mentions ticks, as in the number of them found on African game animals. In The Truth about Hunting in Today's Africa: And How to Go on Safari for $690.00 (1963), a book that now feels as distant as anything by Hemingway or Robert Ruark, he notes,
A really large rhino with a trophy size front horn of 30 inches of more [sic] is now [c.1960] impossible to get. Tick birds feed off of ticks that inhabit rhinos and also off from the blood that continually uses out of the scars on their skins. By watching for tick birds you can often locate a rhino. The tick birds, however, warn the rhino of your approach.And also this exchange:
Jacques walked to the rear of the rhino and lifted its tail. Its anus was ringed with huge ticks a half inch in diameter.Show me another safari/hunting writer who discusses rhino ticks. Not "unhinged" as the New York Times described him, but just untroubled by the niceties of sporting lit.
"Every time I shoot one of these pigs I can't help feeling sorry for it. How would like to go around all your life with ticks like that around your anus?"
UPDATE: The fawn died four days later. Tick-infested fawns are often "compromised," the rehabbers said, which fits with the article that I linked to.