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 Tick Identification

Three ticks, two adult ticks are light brown and dark brown with 8 legs each. A third immature tick is much smaller (only the size of the head of an adult tick) and light brown/yellow colored.

If you have found a tick on yourself or your pet and want to have it identified, please take the following steps to preserve your specimen for identification:

  • Do not kill the tick
  • Put the live tick in a plastic bag or container with a piece of moist paper towel to provide humidity
  • Write down the location (street address, park name, or trail name) where you think you got the tick
  • If the tick was attached to your skin, note approximately how long it was attached

For ticks found on pets, you can submit a service request or stop by our office (M-F, 8-4:30) to arrange for the tick identification.

For ticks found biting people, if you would like to have a tick tested for diseases, keep the tick alive by placing it in a bag or other container with a slightly moist piece of paper towel. Ticks may be submitted to the County Health Laboratory, located at 225 West 37th Ave, Room 113, San Mateo for testing. For more information, call  (650) 573-2500 or visit their webpage.


Photo courtesy of the California Department of Public Health.


Page last reviewed: October 21, 2021

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