Observation by Mary Mullan:
Ticks are relatively new to Alaska. We have seen photos from people throughout the state in places like Homer, Anchorage, and Eagle River, but saw our first ones this past weekend at Byer's Lake Campground, which is located in the Denali National Park and Preserve. A squirrel jumped up on our picnic table and had 3 large ticks on it. They were so large and dark, it looked like black stones stuck on it. The squirrel looked like it was starving, surely the skinniest squirrel I had ever seen at a campground or anywhere. I do not have an image of it, but I have attached a YouTube video posted by Charlie Thornton of an engorged, magnified tick that looks like exactly what we saw.
Comments from LEO Editors:
Unfortunately, there was not photo available with this post. That could possibly help to identify the species and whether it is endemic or exotic. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, there is one species of tick that is found on squirrels and hares and is native to the state. There is only one native tick species in Alaska.
For more information see this tick informational page on bug guide.
Alaska Fish & Wildlife News – (2012/06) Tick in Alaska, "One species, generally found on squirrels and hares, is common in Alaska and native to the state, but those aren’t the problem. It’s the introduction of non-native, potentially disease carrying ticks that’s a concern." By Riley Woodford, News & Events - Alaska Department of Fish and Game
BE TICK SMART – Protect • Check • Remove • Watch, "The best way to prevent tickborne diseases is to prevent tick bites. In Vermont, tickborne illnesses are most often transmitted between early spring and late fall since ticks are most active during warm months. Take action to decrease your risk of infection. Wear a repellent containing up to 30% DEET, check your body daily for ticks, and limit your exposure to ticks and tick habitats." Source: Immunizations & Infectious Disease, Vermont Department of Health
Tickborne Diseases of the United States – A Reference Manual for Health Care Providers, Fourth Edition, 2017. Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention