A tick the size of a fist in the armpit
The many-lineated sun-skinks (Mabuya multifasciata) are common residents at Dokmai Garden. In the beginning they were afraid of us, but now they trust us so much you almost step on them. Yesterday a specimen walked in to our bar. While taking pictures, we realized it was heavily infested by large ticks.
This is the same individual five minutes after the swift surgery. We released him in the Dokmai Garden compost where other skinks hang out, attracted by moisture and a bounty of food. I could almost see him smile.
This skink has a very hard skin, difficult to penetrate even for many snakes, but apparently not for ticks. I have only had one tick ever attached to me here at Dokmai Garden, so this skink had bad luck. Skinks are predators so they keep pests at low numbers and are a natural part of a monsoon garden. Guineafowl are some of the best tick predators in a garden .
Text & Photo: Eric Danell
Surgeon: Zak Buttel