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Do Fleas Jump?

Flea isolated on a grey background

Yes, fleas do jump and their extraordinary jumping ability is the reason why they can survive. These tiny insects can leap 50-100 times their body length, equivalent to a person leaping hundreds of meters into the air. Their capacity to propel themselves across large distances makes finding a host much simpler. Keep reading to know more about how fleas jump and learn how you can avoid them.

Do Fleas Always Jump?

Fleas always remain in search of a perfect host. They keep traveling unless they don’t find one. Once they have found a host that is favorable for reproduction and residence like carpets or the skin of your furry friend, they reside there. They move or jump only in case of danger to their life. The following are some features that enable fleas to jump from one place to another.

When one dog has fleas, can it give them to another? Check out our post “Do fleas jump from dog to dog?” to learn more.

Rapid Reproduction

Bundle of dead fleas caught in pet hair

The ability of a flea to reproduce is unmatched. An adult flea lays 40 to 50 eggs every day on average. This procedure might take up to 100 days to complete. Eggs of fleas are too slippery and smooth to stay on your pet for long. The eggs will soon be falling across your home’s floors and furniture.

Protein Elastic Pad

A flea can push itself forward and jump around eight inches. Fleas are hypothesized to push themselves into the air using an elastic pad formed of a protein, called resilin. This protein acts as a spring and is the reason why a flea may attach itself to you or your pet.

Physical Features

Close up of a flea isolated on a white background

The bodily adaptations that help fleas to jump quickly and easily are as follows.

Flattened Body – Adult fleas have a flattened, laterally compressed body that seems to be crushed from side to side. Fleas may easily pass through the hair of their hosts due to their flattened bodies.

Thin Head – The heads of fleas are tall, thin, and pointed. A flea’s head separates the hairs of the host as it crawls ahead. Short antennas are sunk into deep grooves on either side of the cranium (antennal fossae). As a flea crawls through hair, the grooves protect the antennae.

Thick Combs – Fleas’ heads and prothorax feature thick combs. In addition, all body parts have many backwardly-pointing spines and bristles. The spines do not inhibit forward movement, but it does prevent backward motion and easy dislodgement. Fleas become trapped in the haircoat like cockleburs when the host tries to remove them.

Porous Body – There are several pores on the front of a flea’s body. These pores are epidermal glands that secrete an oily material onto the cuticle. Fleas may readily glide through host hair because of the oily-waxy surface. It also gives the fleas a lustrous sheen.

Do All Fleas Jump?

Dog with back turned to the camera scratching behind its ear

Not all Fleas jump. The ability of fleas to leap varies substantially between species. Each species evolved in tandem with its chosen host. As a result, they have structural characteristics that are tailored to the environment and actions of their hosts.

For example, a variety of bat flea species practically never leap. This is because they dwell in high aerial roosts and are blind and leaping is inconvenient and risky for them. Similarly, swallow and flying squirrel fleas rarely leap. On the other hand, dog and cat fleas are among the best jumpers and non-jumping insects found in houses are most likely not fleas. Let’s look at the best and the poorest jumpers among these parasites.

Best Jumpers

Large animals without a well-defined nest are parasitized by the best jumpers. The fleas live on the host’s body since there is no nest. However, the fleas must be able to make large jumps to capture a large and roaming host.

Poorest Jumpers

The poorest jumpers feed on flying and gliding hosts like bats, swallows, and squirrels who reside in high aerial nests. For these fleas, jumping would be inconvenient and risky.

Can You See Fleas Jump?

single flea in white pet hair

Although fleas are little, they are not microscopic. You may see them in your carpets or beds if your home is contaminated. Fleas have no wings. They range in hue from light reddish-brown to black. They have robust bodies that are difficult to squash. Fleas may leap up to 13 inches and move quite swiftly. You could notice them moving around on your pet’s skin, but they are unlikely to nestle on top of the fur. The simplest place to spot them is on your pet’s tummy.

Individual fleas can be difficult to spot, but once you have a flea infestation, you may observe several fleas jumping onto your furniture or drapes. You may also notice that your pets scratch more frequently than normal. If fleas jump from your pet to your body, you may have fleabites.

Do Fleas Jump When You Touch Them?

Close up of a flea on the tip of a finger

Fleas jump quickly when they sense any danger so that they can move to a better host and start multiplying there. They are also known to spread infections and allergies when they come in contact with skin. Fleas may infest pets in the outdoors, in long grass, and the woods. Likewise, they may infect people in the same manner that they can infect dogs.

Fleas do not have wings, thus they cannot fly, although they can leap many times their body length. As a result, they can latch on to the body hair and skin of a passing animal or person. They are flat and capable of traveling through fur and hair, allowing them to select the best area to reach the blood.

Fleas Consume Blood of Mammals

Grey cat scratching behind its ear

Fleas eat blood and prefer the blood of animals. Pets and other animals are included, but they are also more than eager to feed on people. Fleas bite humans to access the blood arteries beneath the skin, and their bodies are designed to do so.

The first thing you must comprehend is how flea mouth parts function. These parasitic insects have mouths that can puncture the skin and locate blood arteries, ensuring that blood flow is maintained so that they may eat.

If you cat has fleas, will your dog get them to? Check out our post “Do fleas jump from one pet to another?” to learn more.

Process of Blood Suction

Single flea isolated on a white background

The mouth of a flea is made up of three sections that behave as tiny needles. Two of the needles puncture the skin and sever the blood vessel. They pry open the cut, then thrust the central needles into the blood, sucking their meal down.

When they do this, their salivary glands open up and pump an anticoagulant through the same mouthparts used for eating, ensuring that the blood does not clot and continues to flow down into their bodies.

Do Baby Fleas Jump?

Tan dog with its head tilted to one side

Baby fleas like hopping and how that happens can be understood through the reproduction process.

Transformation of Egg to a Hopping Flea

A flea that gets onto a dog will stay there for the rest of its life (in most cases). Fleas spend most of their lives away from dogs. When a female flea lands on a dog, it immediately begins feeding. A flea must consume blood to be viable and reproduce. This female flea will start laying eggs within 24 hours (40-50 every day).

As the dog wanders around the home, it shakes the eggs loose, especially in the locations where the dog sleeps or rests (including your bed). Flea eggs develop into larvae within a week. The larvae try to hide from the light by burrowing into carpets, gaps in hardwood floors, and other humid regions, like wet basement concrete floors.

The larvae construct a cocoon in which they mature into pupae (5-12 days later). Baby fleas emerge from pupae 1-3 weeks later. These newly born fleas wait for the dog to pass by before jumping on and restarting the life cycle. It takes 3 to 6 weeks for a flea to complete its life cycle.

Do Fleas Jump or Fly?

dog sitting in grass with head tilted back, scratching the back of its head

Many individuals are unsure if fleas can fly. Fleas are wingless insects that travel very quickly but they can’t fly because they lack wings. However, they are capable of leaping very high and have been seen to leap over 6 inches. They can also jump for over 12 inches in length. Read on to learn how fleas enter your house and survive there for months.

We know now that fleas can jump, but where do they go? Check out our post “Where do fleas go when they jump?” to learn more.

How Do Fleas Enter a House?

Front door of a house

Even if you don’t have pets, fleas can infest your home. Fleas might occasionally enter your home by jumping on your clothes while you are outdoors or around an infected pet. They can be brought into your home by a rabbit, squirrel, possum, or raccoon burrowing under your patio. They can also live in a fresh laundry basket, and when you shake the items out, you will have fleas all over your carpet. In this case, you (or any other family member) will be responsible for bringing these pests home.

Can Fleas Survive for Months?

When a flea lands on your pet, it begins feeding within 5 minutes and can feed for up to 2 ½ hours. Female fleas are the most voracious, eating up to 15 times their weight in blood. A single flea may survive for over two months on your dog.

Do Fleas Jump or Crawl?

View of a flea in a microscope

Unfortunately, they can do both. Fleas attach themselves to their host and slither about it. They do not attempt to fly onto a host because they lack wings. Hence, they must crawl or ‘walk’ over their host, which is generally a domestic pet.

What happens to a flea after your pet gets a flea treatment? Check out our post “Do fleas jump off after treatment?” to learn more.

When Do Fleas Crawl?

illustration of the life cycle of a flea

Fleas travel by crawling and jumping, and their large rear legs allow them to jump up to 80 times their body length. Adult fleas are quick and may readily hide in your pet’s fur, but they are visible to the naked eye if they remain motionless. Fleas spend practically their whole adult lives on their host. Fleas only crawl once they’ve attached themselves to an animal.

Why Do Fleas Crawl?

Due to unique bodily systems, flea leaps take extremely little energy. However, crawling is still easier for them than jumping. This is because leaping is more metabolically taxing than crawling (higher energy expenditures are caused by air resistance).

How Can Fleas Crawl So Fast?

Flea sitting on skin

The four front legs of fleas are significantly shorter than the two at the back. It allows them to move swiftly on the fur of your dog or along the carpet. Adult fleas are quick and they hide in your pet’s fur, they especially like to hide in the ears, genital areas, and tail region. They are visible to the naked eye however if they remain motionless.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.