Fleas vary in size quite considerably – the Cat Flea is one of the smallest at about 2.5mm long, whilst a heavily pregnant female Human Flea could be as big as 4mm!
The largest known flea in the world is the Hystrichopsylla schefferi — a flea found in the nest of a mountain beaver in USA. It can grow up to 8mm long.
Britain’s largest flea is, coincidentally, a parasite of Britain’s smallest mammal. Hystrichopsylla talpae (usually found on moles) grow to a length of 6.5mm and can be found on the pygmy shrew.
In our own homes, the theoretical number of flea eggs left around your house after three days of an infestation of 500 fleas is 20,000.
It is now extremely rare to find a human flea on a human (or, for that matter, a cat or a dog) in the UK — due to increased hygiene standards.
- Fleas can jump a distance that measures 150 times their own size.
- They can also jump 30,000 times in a row without stopping – and in opposite direction (left and right) with every jump.
- A female flea consumes 15 times her own body weight in blood every day.
- Flea fossils date all the way back to the Lower Cretaceous period … about 100 million years!
- A flea will live for 2 to 3 months.