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Everything You've Ever Been Itching to Know About Fleas. Really.

May 15, 2013

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Summer is just around the corner, and as every pet owner knows, it’s flea season!

These little pests are best known for wreaking havoc, but beyond that, what do you know about them? Enter The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids, Volume 3, with some (surprisingly interesting) facts about fleas. Did you know . . .?

  • Fleas can pull 160,000 times their own weight.
  • Cat and dog fleas are very similar. Cat fleas are more common in North America and are found on both cats and dogs.
  • Fleas can jump 150 times their own length vertically and horizontally. This is equivalent to a human jumping about 1,000 feet.
  • Fleas live about 2 to 3 months, on average.
  • As carriers of plague, fleas have killed more people than have died in all of the wars ever fought.
  • Fleas are covered with bristles and spines that point backward. (This is why it is difficult to pick a flea from your pet’s fur.)
  • Fleas do not have ears and are virtually blind.
  • Fleas can jump 30,000 times without stopping, and every time they jump, they reverse direction.
  • Tiny bits of black dirt on your pet’s bedding are flea poop and an indication that fleas are present.

And, finally: To free a pet of fleas, give it a thorough shampoo, lathering for 15 minutes, and then rinse and dry. You may have to repeat this several times. If you can’t get rid of the fleas yourself, contact your vet. Clean the bedding and vacuum any part of the house that the pet has been in.

Be sure to keep your pet flea-free so they can enjoy the outdoors this summer!

By the way, a new edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids—Volume 5—is set to arrive this summer!

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Ginger Vaughan has worked for The Old Farmer's Almanac for over a decade and, every spring, thinks about starting a garden. When she isn't enjoying the outdoors (and pondering just where to plant that garden), she can often be found in the kitchen testing out new recipes. She lives in a Pacific Northwest forest on the Puget Sound with Thor and Olive, two English bulldogs who would like to taste test her cooking creations far more often than they are allowed. 

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