Many ticks lay eggs on the ground, where they are protected by plants. However, "soft" ticks, which do not have an additional exterior hard shield, usually live in the nests and burrows of animals. These ticks deposit eggs in the nests.
Depending upon the species of tick, females lay from hundreds to thousands of eggs at a time. In about two weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae. A larva starts looking for a living host, such as a human, bird or mouse. After finding a host, the larva fastens itself to the organism and feeds on the animal's blood. After a few days, the larva drops off and develops into a nymph. Once a nymph feeds, it begins to develop into its final, adult stage.