Invading Deer Lice Torment Two California Species



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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Deer lice have made their way from Washington to Northern California and are causing two types of deer to literally pull their hair out.  One type of lice is affecting Black Tail Deer near the coast of California and two types are attacking the California Mule Deer found in the Central Sierra Nevada foothills. 

Greg Gerstenberg is a Senior Biologist with the California Division of Fish and Wildlife.  He says the lice are attacking some deer, but not all deer.

“We don’t know if we can actually come up with a technique that would result in improvement.  The impacts on the deer are just being documented, and this is all very new.”

Gerstenberg says there is a treatment for lice, but it can’t be distributed to large populations at once.  He worries the deer without hair are more susceptible to the elements and may be distracted by the lice to the point they fail to protect themselves from natural predators

Fish and Wildlife says deer lice will not attack humans or any other species. 

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