WARNING: SEVERE GROSS FACTOR ALERT!
Meet the New Zealand cattle tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis.
I discovered guest number one on the (same coloured) carpet this morning; would probably not have seen it had Hugo not sniffed at it. I freaked out at first because I know small dogs are easily killed by some tick varieties (eg paralysis tick). My subsequent research says that the cattle tick is the only one in NZ - phew. These guys match the pic on the internet.
Hugo had been itching over the last couple of days - I had already gotten the flea treatment out for dosing today (Thankfully it also does ticks). So I bathed him, 'felt him up' and brushed him and found nothing. Also gave the other 2 a going over; not that I'll ever see anything on Reilly.
The second one I discovered when vacuuming. I looked at Hugo again and can see he has been chewing on his back leg... How I missed a second one that size and colour on a little white leg is beyond me. However, I think I would have been more grossed out if I had found it still attached...
I do remember extracting them from my horse when I was growing up, but don't recall them being this engorged or feeling as sorry for the 'host' as I do as a small dog owner.
I have no idea where they may have been picked up - we have certainly not been around any cows lately.
So why photograph them? (I wish I had a macro lens...) Because I am morbidly fascinated by them. That said, I will NOT be popping them.