Can maggots be tiny?

Seems like an odd question, I know, but I’ve only ever seen ‘big’ maggots.

Last night one of my dogs brought in a bone. No big deal, about once a year she brings in a bone she finds in the backyard*, but this time, it wasn’t an old dried out one, it still had hair and flesh on it. As I was prying it out of her mouth about a hundred or so very tiny, maybe 3/8-1/4 of an inch long white worms started falling off of it and wriggling away. I just assumed they were maggots, I got the bone away, cleaned up the bugs, cleaned up her face and took the garbage out.

This morning I found two more of the worms which I assume were probably caught in her fur around her mouth overnight. While I understand that they can get into her (or my) skin, I’m assuming that realistically my biggest concern is that the few that might still be hanging around (and it can’t be more then a few, if any) will just turn into flies and I’ll kill them.

But just now I was thinking, I’ve never seen maggots this small, they’re always much bigger. So, did I just run across a whole bunch of baby maggots, or do maggots start out big ( I really don’t know) and these are something totally different? Of course, rotting meat, maggots, makes sense.

*I didn’t get a good look at this bone, but in the past 7 years or so that I’ve lived in this house, I’ve found 4 bones, always the same, always an upper jaw, with the teeth still attached and from the same type of animal. Something, or someone is killing something around my house and dropping the bones in my yard. Photobucket is down for maintenance, otherwise I could link to a picture of one of them.

Maggots start off very tiny but grow rapidly. If you see what looks like a white fungus on something dead it is actully tiny fly eggs, the baby maggots come out of these tiny eggs only about 1/16 of an inch long.

Yes, some start out very nearly microscopic. Depending on the species of bug that laid the egg, they may grow a little or a lot. When I had a patient who had some maggots infest a wound, I had to clean them out over a period of several days, because some were so small I couldn’t see or grab them, while others were about the size of the “roni” in Rice-a-roni. I’d leave behind what I thought was a clean wound bed, only to have more roni two days later.

Keep an eye on the dog. Chances are it’s not a big deal, and a harmless kind of maggot, but my mom did just get adopted by a kitten who found himself a botfly larvae, of the type that can kill. Several hundred dollars and a surgery later, he’s no worse for wear except for a dashing white scar on his otherwise black coat.

If you start to see a sore, or if the dog starts scratching, get her to a vet right away.

Maggots hatch from eggs, right? Sometimes, when I squash a fly, I see maggots crawling out. How did they hatch?

Some insects will lay their eggs in the bodies of other insects. The larvae hatch inside the insects body and use them as a food source then leave when they die. If you kill the insect carrying these larvae they will try to escape the dead fly.

Maggots grow un-fraggin-believably fast. I have thrown scrap meat into the trash of an evening, found the bin lined with white specks the next morning and crawling with nearly 1-inch maggots by that afternoon. So if you’ve never seen the tiny form it might have been because you blinked.

But if they’re being infested and consumed, I thought they’d be nearly dead. The flies I killed looked healthy and active.