A symbiotic relationship, or special interaction between species that provides a balance that can only be attained by working together, is nicely illustrated by this trail camera image.
The Vermont Wildlife Coalition uploaded a picture of an opossum removing ticks from a deer’s face.
In the dry months, tick infestations can be deadly and have even claimed the lives of newborn deer.
Possums also enjoy eating ticks.
According to Felicia Keesing, a biologist at Bard College and an adjunct scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, “we found that the average opossum kills thousands of ticks every week wandering through the forest.”
Ticks infest the opossum as it roams through the forest, just like they might do to any mammal that does the same. However, as the ticks scurry about looking for a place to feed, the opossums groom them off and kill them.
The unsung heroes in the fight against Lyme disease are opossums.