Fun Flea Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Nov 03, 2022 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
Here are Flea facts for you to check out
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.2 Min

The order of Siphonaptera includes 2500 species of insects that feed on other animals. Fleas are one of the species from the same order that lives by sucking blood from the skin of animals. Adult fleas are wingless but their claws are strong, which help to stick onto the body of the host. Their mouthparts are adapted to pierce the skin and suck the blood. Hind legs of adult Fleas can jump up to 50 times the length of their body. Once the adult fleas come out, they must find a host t0 feed on within seven days, or they will die. They can stay in the Papua stage for almost as long as necessary. Until and unless the environmental factors such as heat and carbon dioxide indicate that there is a host around, they don't come out. Fleas are known as vectors for bubonic plague. In pets, the cat Flea (ctenocephalides felis) and dog Flea (ctenocephalides canis) serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms. They can also spread murine typhus, which is transmitted through infected rats to humans.

Fleas infestation and Flea bites can make animals very sick. The cat Flea (ctenocephalides felis) and dog Flea (ctenocephalides canis) can consume so much blood from the host animal that they can become very ill. As a matter of fact, Flea bites on humans are also very dangerous and proper treatment for relief from a Flea bite is required. Fleas are very efficient and effective parasites whose population faces no existence threats. After reading about the interesting Flea facts, you may also look at yellow jacket wasp facts and cicada killer wasp facts to know more about the different types of insects. 
 

Flea Interesting Facts

What type of animal are Fleas?

Fleas are a type of insect or parasite. They are known for jumping great distances in the absence of wings. They can only survive on a host body if the environment is conducive to their survival. Their body is covered in a hard plate known as sclerite, which helps them withstand great pressure. They are commonly found on the bodies of dogs and cats but the health issues caused by Flea bites are very serious and require proper treatment.

What class of animal do Fleas belong to?

Fleas belong to the class of Insecta. They have six legs and are dark reddish-brown colored. The cat Flea is widely known as domestic Flea, the other kind of Flea species are dog Flea, human Flea, and rat Flea. Along with dogs and cats, Fleas can also be found living on the body of other mammals as well.

How many Fleas are there in the world?

The exact number of Fleas in the world would be almost impossible to know due to their minuscule size and their need to have a host body to survive. The parasite is a blood-sucking creature that will not be able to live in a normal way other than living on the body of a pet animal or other mammals.

Where do Fleas live?

Fleas live on the body of an animal known as a host. They are found in the fur of dogs and cats or many other such animals. Native Fleas are found in polar, temperate, and tropical regions. They are widely distributed among the various animals, domestic and wild, and can infest anyone, even humans. In case of excessive Fleas on the body of pets, various diseases caused by Flea bites can be witnessed which require medical attention. Flea larvae population can also be found on carpet and bedding where they burrow deep and remain active for many years.

What is Fleas' habitat?

Fleas need a warm-blooded animal to latch on and a suitable environment to survive. They prefer humans, cats, dogs, opossums, rats, and other rodents. The eggs, larvae, pupae, and unfed adults may survive away from the host. But they will always be around the hot spots where a potential host animal will be. These are areas like warm, shady, humid places. They can remain dormant in cocoons for up to several months in suitable conditions.

Who Fleas live with?

Fleas are parasites that live on a host animal's body. They always live in a colony due to their minuscule size. Fleas will latch onto a host body as soon as they turn adult or may start their reproductive process on these animals themselves.

How long do Fleas live?

Fleas have a life span ranging between 3-12 months. If the adult Flea doesn’t find a host body, it may not survive for more than seven days.  Adult Fleas have a life of only 1-3 months only.

How do they reproduce?

Fleas go through four stages in their life, that include egg, larvae, pupa and adult. Male and female Fleas will only reach full sexual maturity after they feed on blood, from which they are able to reproduce.

The females produce hundred to a thousand eggs in one lifetime. The eggs can be deposited near the host's burrow or nest of the host or on the body of the host. The eggs generally take anything between two days to three weeks to hatch.

The eggs hatch and larvae emerge, which feed on dead insects, feces, other eggs or fruits.

With adequate food, the larva becomes a pupa, and weaves a silken cocoon. Within the cocoon, the larva undergoes metamorphosis and takes on the adult form. This normally takes four days, or in adverse condition, due to no-host body available, it may take longer.

Once it reaches the adult stage, the Flea searches for blood and then reproduces and is an adult.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is of the least concern. Though, they are not a species that is beneficial to other animals, they can still be found in most regions across the world.

Fleas Fun Facts

What do Fleas look like?

Fleas are small insects that cannot crawl or fly. They survive only when they latch to the host body to suck blood from the animal. They are hardly 3 mm in length and have reddish-brown color bodies.

A Flea is brown in color.

How cute are they?

Fleas can be considered cute creatures, as they are minuscule creatures who suck blood from our furry friends' skin, which creates many issues for our friends. They are not cute and should be avoided at all cost. Flea bites can lead to severe itching in the infected animals as well as humans. Hence, they should not be kept as a pet and should also be kept away from your pet animals.

How do they communicate?

Fleas are so tiny that hardly any communication would take place except when they want to mate. However, recent studies indicate that they may have sensillum near its rump, which contains sensory hairs, similar to radar antennas. They may be using these for high-frequency sounds through breathing opening on their abdomen to communicate.

How big is a Flea?

Fleas are tiny parasites, which are hardly 2 mm in length. They are as small as body hair or may be smaller than that too.

How fast can Fleas move?

The Flea is known to jump faster and higher than their body length. They have strong hind legs that help them jump up to 7 in vertically and 13 in horizontally.

How much do fleas weigh?

Fleas weigh less than a gram. Because of their size and structure, they can be considered weightless practically.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female Fleas, they are known as male Fleas and female Fleas respectively.

What would you call baby Fleas?

There isn’t any specific name assigned to a baby Flea, it can be known as a larvae or pupae, depending on the life cycle which the creature is going through.

What do they eat?

The larva that emerges from the eggs can eat any organic matter like dead insects, feces, conspecific eggs, and vegetable matter. At the pupa stage, it can wait until it finds a host body to latch on, without which an adult Flea may not survive for more than seven days. Once they find a host body, they latch on to it, and the adult Flea can suck on the blood from these bodies.

Are they harmful?

Fleas pose little or no threat to humans. Rather they are considered harmful for your pet animals or farms where you breed different animals that are likely to attract Fleas. Unfortunately, these Fleas can also cause harm to humans as well as pets. Flea bite can lead to severe itching which might require medical attention.

Would they make a good pet?

Absolutely not. Fleas are the last thing you would want to have as pets and also the last thing you would want to have near your pets. They are really very common and are one of the biggest threats to your pets. It is almost not advisable to let Fleas breed anywhere near your house. They use hosts as different warm-blooded creatures that suck the blood out of your favorite pets, including dogs, cats, rodents and other furry pets leading to severe itching which will then require proper medical treatment.

Did you know...

Fleas have appeared in poetry, literature, music, and art. Robert Hawkes' drawing of a Flea under a microscope, poems by Donne and Jonathan Swift, works of music by Giorgio Fedrico Ghedini and Modest Mussorgsky, a play by Georges Feydeau and a movie by Charlie Chaplin are some of the works that have used Fleas and become metaphorical references, using the Flea in them.

To avoid severe infestation of Fleas on our furry friends, it is advisable to keep their surroundings clean and hygienic. Checking their coats regularly and keeping them on a leash while taking them out is the best way to avoid an infestation.

Can fleas live in human hair?

Yes, Fleas can live as well as lay eggs in human hair or scalp.  There are over 2000 species of Fleas that are known over the world but only one species of Flea is believed to exist or live off human blood. This species of Flea that can live off human blood is known as Pulex Irritans that can live in the scalp of human hair. Other species of Fleas can also transfer to human hair and use them as host to reach other warm blooded creatures.

Even if you have got Fleas in your hair, make sure to wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo that is sure to drain the Fleas as well as their eggs down the drain. Fleas are also known to be able to survive in bedding and carpet in homes.

What do flea eggs look like?

Flea eggs are really tiny and are not bigger than 0.5 mm but are visible to the naked eye. They resemble tiny grains of rice that are oval-shaped and can be bright white, translucent, or off-white in color.

Flea eggs are as small as grains of sand or salt but can be easily confused with dandruff and Flea dirt. One of the important points to keep in mind while trying to find Flea eggs are, they are not irregularly shaped like dandruff and also black particles are Flea dirt which is a sign of danger. It may become difficult to find or identify Flea eggs if the fur of your pet is light-colored.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including giant African millipede, or atlas beetle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our flea coloring pages.

Flea Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Warm blooded body, especially furry animals

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivores

Average Litter Size?

20 - 50 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.002 lb

What habitat Do they Live In?

moist, humid and shady areas

Where Do They Live?

all over the world

How Long Were They?

1⁄16

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Insecta

Genus

-

Family

Pulicidae

Scientific Name

Siphonaptera

What Do They Look Like?

Small, wingless, flat brown bodies with six legs

Skin Type

Sclerite

What Are Their Main Threats?

flea repelling plants

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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