How to Get Rid of Mites on Snakes

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Mites are small parasites that feed on the blood of a host animal. You may notice that your snake has a mite infestation if you see small black dots (though they can also be red or orange) moving on the body of the snake. According to anapsid.org, mites tend to group themselves around the eyes and on the edges of the scales. Getting rid of mites can be difficult, but if you're thorough and keep an eye out for future infestations, your snake's health and comfort will benefit.

Things You'll Need

  • White paper towels
  • Bathtub/plastic tub
  • Water
  • Dilute Betadine
  • Mineral oil
  • Cotton swabs
  • Number of local veterinarian
  • Check your snake for mites by closely looking at its body. Pay special attention to the tips of scales, the belly and around the eyes, where mites prefer to congregate.

  • Remove your snake from its enclosure if you notice mites (small, moving dots).

  • Place your snake on a white paper towel to better see the number of mites you're dealing with. A few mites might drop off the snake onto the towel, where they can be killed immediately (squash them).

  • Fill a bathtub or plastic tub about ¾ of the way with water and dilute Betadine solution (an over-the-counter topical antiseptic that can be purchased in most drugstores). According to anapsid.org, there should be enough Betadine in the water to make it light brown, or the color of medium tea.

  • Put the infested snake into the Betadine/water solution. The mites will be washed off the snake and drowned while the Betadine will work to sooth the mite bites.

  • Swab the area around the snake's eyes with a cotton swab soaked in mineral oil. This will dislodge any remaining mites.

Tips & Warnings

  • The small size of mites makes them notoriously difficult to get rid of. Call your local veterinarian to make an appointment if you see mites on your snake--chances are you won't be able to completely rid your reptile of all the eggs and surviving mites. Lack of appetite and incomplete or poor shedding of skin are symptoms of a mite infestation. Mites prefer to hide out in wood products, so be sure to thoroughly examine any new tank additions (sticks, small logs) you buy from a pet store to make certain you're not bringing mites into your snake's enclosure.
  • Snakes suffering from severe mite infestations may need extra fluids and nutrient supplements to help them recover. Contact your veterinarian to gauge the level of medical help your snake will require.

References

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