How Lice Turn Your Hair Into Their Jungle Gym | Deep Look

How Lice Turn Your Hair Into Their Jungle Gym | Deep Look


It can start as an itch. Maybe a tickle on your scalp. It’s head lice. Tiny and tenacious. Thanks to millions of years of evolution,
these suckers are not easy to get rid of. You might end up in a salon, but not the kind
for haircuts. Young lice are so small they’re almost impossible
to see with the naked eye. Our scalp is their buffet. They feed on our blood. You can see it inside this adult louse. It’s the brownish stuff that’s moving. The secret to their success? Their claws – called tarsal claws – and
this little part, called a spine. A pair on each of its six legs. They’ve evolved to fit perfectly around
a human hair. They make lice into speedy little acrobats,
using our hair like a tightrope. They can’t jump or fly, but they get around. Say two kids – one blond, one brunette –
touch heads. The louse just scoots right over. It’s been one long game of hopscotch, from
human head to human head. And it has to be us. Our head lice can’t live on other animals. In fact, other primates have their own species
of lice, adapted to their unique hair. And birds have lice that hide in their feathers. Ooh. Cozy. And we all want them gone. Common insecticides won’t kill our head
lice anymore. They’ve become resistant to them. Even their eggs have serious staying power,
glued to individual strands of hair. But lice do have a weakness. They can’t survive away from our moist,
warm scalp. Head lice cannot even live on other hairy
parts of our body. So if you – or a professional – painstakingly
comb them out, they’ll starve, and die within hours. OK, it’s not fun. But it’s just a temporary encounter with
a tiny hitchhiker that is biologically destined just for you. Anyone else feeling itchy? Here at Deep Look we think all critters – even
the less lovable ones, like mosquitoes and ticks– deserve their moment in the spotlight. You agree, right? So support us on Patreon. Click that link in the description. Thanks!

8 thoughts on “How Lice Turn Your Hair Into Their Jungle Gym | Deep Look

  1. Hi Deep Peeps. I produced this episode of Deep Look. I also wrote an article about treatments to get rid of head lice. Check it out: https://www.kqed.org/science/1939435/how-lice-turn-your-hair-into-their-jungle-gym Thanks for watching!

  2. i've had lice in my hair for years now.. oof life.. well happy anniversary my head lice.. JK There gone in myy hairr!! there ded to meee

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