What Do Fleas Look Like?

Understand Your Cat

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What Do Fleas Look Like?

This page shows you photos of what fleas look like and gives you an understanding of how they live. This will make it much easier to get rid of fleas infestation.

Nobody wants to have to deal with fleas. Whether they are on your cat, in your carpet, or in your yard – fleas can become a nightmare and easily get out of control very rapidly.

Photo of Cat Fleas

Flea Life Cycle

Getting Rid of Fleas Requires Understanding How They Live

The life cycle of fleas is a little bit complex, however, if you understand the different stages then you are better equipped to deal with this pest quickly.

A flea has 4 quite different life stages, and these are:

Egg – Larvae – Pupae – Adult Flea

A flea’s life cycle can last from a few weeks to a few months. Their cycles depend on environment. They prefer warmth and really love humidity. If you live in a tropical or sub-tropical climate, chances are you have to battle fleas constantly!

Flea Eggs:

Fleas lay their eggs on the body of their hosts. They can then fall off into the pet’s environment. Flea eggs are commonly found in pet bedding. The female flea can lay thousands of eggs in just a few days.

It is very difficult to actually see flea eggs as they are tiny. They will appear as pepper-like black, tan and white specks. You may be able to see them if you lift up and look underneath your pets bedding.

Flea Larvae

This is the most vulnerable stage of the flea life cycle.The larva hatch from the eggs in anything from two days to a few weeks. This stage of flea development depends on conditions of the environment. Larvae are very active and are very tiny. They can be difficult to see. I have a photo of some flea larvae further down the page, and as you can see from the photo, flea larvae vary widely in both size and color. They attach themselves to fibers in bedding and carpets, therefore they are rather hard to vacuum up.

Below are some photos of a flea larva. You can see how tiny it is in comparison with a ballpoint pen. Larvae vary in color from clear-ish to brown or tan and to black. This one has ejected a large poop, which you can see in the photos.

Photos of Flea Larvae

What Do Fleas Look Like? This is a photo of Flea Larvae.

This Is Flea Larvae

Flea Pupae

This is the stage when fleas are safely encased in a cocoon, which is impervious to many pesticides. Flea cocoons are also next to impossible to find just with a cursory look around.

And what is worse, is that flea cocoons can stay in the environment for years. They only hatch out when they are stimulated by movement. This is why you may go somewhere with your dog, and suddenly they are smothered in baby fleas. They have been laying in wait for a host to show up, so they can hatch and have a feed!

Adult Fleas

Depending on the conditions in the environment, adult fleas hatch out of their cocoon in anywhere from two days to two years! Warmth and humidity speed things up a lot. Adult fleas are stimulated to hatch out of the cocoon by factors such as vibrations and noise. This lets them know there is a warm-blooded meal close by – and out they come!

The photos below are of the same flea. It was captured off a cat by using a flea comb, then dropped into some soapy water. After 10 minutes I took it out and laid it on a plate to take photos of it (for you!)

Much to my surprise – this”dead” flea got up after a few minutes and started walking around again! You can see it first on the left – it is all scrunched up and wet with it’s legs all stuck together. Then the two photos on the right, where it is happily walking around and recovering – looking for a new host.

What Do Fleas Look Like?

Like These Photos of Fleas


What Do Fleas Look Like? These are photos of fleas.

So, when you attempt to drown fleas, be aware that they can survive extremes. You are better to seal them inside a bag, or pop them between your fingernails.

Do Fleas Fly?

Although you may sometimes think fleas can fly – in fact they do not have any wings and therefore fleas do not fly. They do, however, have incredible power in their legs that allows them to take massive leaps, many times the length of their own body.

What Do Flea Bites Look Like?

Depending on if your cat is allergic or not, flea bites can appear as small red areas or angry looking patches. Some allergic cats can get very inflamed and sore areas from flea bites.

Know Your Enemy! A Look at Fleas

This video give a good insight into fleas and how they live their pesky lives.



So, were you wanting to know exactly what do fleas look like? I am sure these flea photos have show these little parasites in sufficient detail, so now you understand what to look out for to protect your cat.


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