It is a common misinterpretation that when people have pets and they have head lice, they would blame it on the cat or the dog. This is a false and untrue notion as the human head louse is quite different from the animal louse.
The Difference between Human Head Louse and the Animal Louse
The human head louse is this very small parasite that is oblong in shape. It has six legs that are actually quite near to the head. Each leg is equipped with these strong claws that will be the ones that will attach to the hair strands. The human head louse has ahead that is also very small. It is also the portion of the louse where the mouth will be found. The human head louse is a parasite that feeds on the human by biting and sucking on the scalp for the blood.
The human head louse is an insect that hates clean and dry scalp and hair. For this reason, it has been seen that tribal people prefer to groom under the sun, usually in the middle of the day when the temperature is so hot. This will lead to the head louse to rise from the scalp because of the heat and try to escape. They will then be picked and killed when found in the hair.
The female human head louse is quite dexterous when they lay eggs. In fact, research has shown that on an average day the female lice are able to lay around 50 eggs or nits. They appear brown in color and are often hard to find in the hair. To locate them, you need to carefully pore over all the head. The most conventional place where the human head louse would lay their eggs would be behind the ear, the nape of the neck and the lower back portion of the head.
The animal head louse, meanwhile is brownish red, and has this horizontal shaped flat body. The human head louse also acts differently as it crawls on the hair while the animal lice are noted to walk the skins of the animals. This is why the lice of animals are flat as this allows them to crawl freely on the skins.
Of the two insects, a major difference between them is that the animal louse can jump like a tick and disappear before you get to catch it. The human head louse does not have wings nor does it have the ability to jump from one host to another. It would also be important to note that these parasites cannot live outside of their hosts. Thus, the human head louse cannot live outside of a human host and so does the animal louse cannot live without an animal host.