Its the flea's knees…or not

Cat flea

In this NPR Science Friday video, scientists Greg Sutton and Malcolm Burrows, of the University of Cambridge, filmed fleas jumping.  They then sorted through different theories of how they jumped and concluded that fleas use their feet and not knees to push off the ground and jump on your cat or your dog. The high speed photography is amazing and I especially liked the slo-mo- photography of a flea’s jump compared to the blink of a human eye.

An adult flea can jump approximately 13 inches, a little over 100 times its body length.  This would be equivalent of a human jumping 500 to 600 feet with one spring.  Now that would be a giant leap for mankind!

All species of fleas are parasitic, mostly on rodents, a few species on birds, and a few on other mammals including people.  If you have pets such as dogs or cats, now is the time to inspect them for fleas.  Fleas are best controlled early, before infestations get out of hand.  For more information about fleas and flea control, check out our flea factsheet.

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