Giant Fleas now Freed

Fleas are a constant threat and irritation to our precious pets and science reveals they have been for more than 100 million years!

Nine fossilised fleas unearthed in China reveal much about the progress of these pests. They looked similar to the fleas we know today – except they were up to 10 times larger!

However, their biology was different probably because they crept through the fur of their gigantic prey. At that stage of evolution, their legs had not developed for jumping. So the 30cm high jumps we know they are currently capable of performing used to be an impossible flea feat. 

Instead, they had claws that helped them to latch on to the thick hides or feathers of the dinosaurs. These claws even had teeth, ensuring they could get a firm grip on their host. Long serrated tubes then enabled them to suck the blood of the prehistoric creatures.

Some of the female fleas were over 2cm long; that’s a tremendous difference when compared to the size of current fleas being about 2-3mm in length. Imagine how easy it would be to detect fleas and get rid of infestations in your pet’s fur if they were still that size today!

Five specimens were found in a lakebed, in Ningcheng County of Inner Mongolia. A palaeontologist at the National Museum of Natural History in France, Andre Nel believes this location is significant. The ancient lake setting indicates that animals, or dinosaurs, in the Jurassic period may have rinsed in the water to rid themselves of the irritating parasites. We wish that having a bath was enough to get rid of our pet’s fleas!

If your pet contracts fleas they will become very itchy and uncomfortable. They may also suffer from Flea allergy Dermatitis (FAD). FAD is an allergic reaction to a flea’s bite. Your pet’s skin will become red and inflamed and if your pet scratches for relief, pustules and crusts may develop. 

Luckily our society has since developed more effective ways of combating flea infestations. Products such as Advantage can be used on dogs, cats, rabbits and even ferrets just once a month, year round. It kills fleas 3-5 minutes after application so that fleas are 100% exterminated within the hour.

The presence of a single flea should raise the alarm as they alone could lay 400 eggs within a week, enabling the problem to quickly snowball into an infestation. Therefore, it’s important to keep fleas at bay by using comprehensive flea preventative treatments that kill fleas at all stages of their life cycle; otherwise your pet will be continually reinfested. Preventative options such as Frontline Plus for Cats or Frontline Plus for Dogs don’t just kill adult fleas, but their eggs and larvae too, eliminating all flea traces.

It’s true that fleas have forever been infesting animal fur but don’t let yourself falter at their appearance because without preventative treatment, fleas may cause your pet to flounder!

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