Are Sand Fleas Dangerous?

Are Sand Fleas Dangerous?

Sand fleas, also called beach fleas or sand hoppers, are small crustaceans commonly found scurrying on sand or sandy soil on the shorelines and beaches of oceans, seas, and estuaries around the world. While these insects are relatively harmless to humans, precautions may be necessary during exposure to them.

Appearance and Habits

Sand fleas are usually small, usually ranging from a quarter-inch to a half-inch in size. They are usually creamy-white in color. Sand fleas are typically noted to be active at night, when they tend to emerge from the sand and hop around in search of food.


In rare cases, if a sand flea is mishandled, it may bite humans or animals, resulting in skin irritation or itching. When not handled, the fleas cannot bite people or pets.

Disease Carriers

While they do not present a health risk to humans, sand fleas can act as vectors, or carriers, of the bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can cause illnesses in humans and animals. Because of this, it is important not to eat any seafood exposed to sand fleas.


Taking a few simple precautions should minimize the exposure to sand fleas.

  • Shower. Showering after a beach trip will help minimize exposure to the fleas.
  • Wear pants. Covering up with pants and long-sleeved shirts is best for beach trips that may involve sand fleas.
  • Don’t eat exposed seafood. Uncooked seafood exposed to sand fleas should be avoided.

All in all, while sand fleas may sometimes occur at the beach, they are not generally dangerous to humans unless they are mishandled. As long as a few simple precautions are followed, there is no need to fear the fleas, and a beach trip can still be enjoyed.

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