Ticks change their favorite host depending on their life cycle. Larvae and nymphs feed on small mammals (white-footed mouse, voles, and some birds). Adult ticks prefer larger animals (dogs, deer). Both nymphs and adults feed on humans. Lone star ticks can feed on birds, but not rodents. All stages of the lone star tick feed on humans but the female lone star, the one with the white spot (scotum) on its back, is the most likely to bite humans. Most hard ticks actually never find a host and die after a few months, but some tough ticks can last for years even without a host. Dog ticks can be carried from outdoors into the home where they can survive for as long as two years without feeding.