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Found Mites During Shed, Help!?

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by Bpspider87, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. Bpspider87

    Bpspider87 New Member

    Hi, I have a two month old spider ball python and a 4 month old het pied. The spider just entered shed and I noticed his scales were laying funny on his belly. I thought it was from the shedding but then I noticed the mites. I bought provent to treat the bedding decor and tank. I did a ton of research on what to use on them but I can't find anything about this happening during shedding. What do I use on them and do I wait till he finishes his shed before I treat them? The female doesn't appear to have them yet but since they share a tank she probably does. Thanks in advance!
  2. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    There is a product called reptile relief that is supposed to be excellent for use directly on affected reptiles, but I haven't personally tried it yet. I usually use a diluted solution of Nix or permethrin 10 from the farm supply store. You also need to throw out the substrate that's in the cage and any stored anywhere near, also remove all decorations. Use paper towel for the bottom and nothing other than a plain plastic hide or two. You need to treat not only the cage, but whatever its sitting on, and I go so far as to treat the area surrounding the cage as well. The little buggers can travel.
    Now I have to ask, is there a reason you have both the snakes in the same cage? It's generally not a good idea outside of breeding, it tend to add more stress and can be a cause for either or both to go off feed, especially in ball pythons.
  3. Bpspider87

    Bpspider87 New Member

    It's a large cage and they get stressed and stop eating when separated. They are both young so when one hits breeding age I'll move them.

    With the permethrin. Do you dilute it? Also my main question here was do I wait till he sheds or treat now? Didn't make that very clear. My bad.
  4. Bpspider87

    Bpspider87 New Member

    How do you dilute it* what ratio I mean
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    First I'll address the mites. Treat them immediately, and it ratio is 1-64, one ounce permethrin to 64ounces distilled or RO water. I usually make it a bit weaker than that just to be safe. If your not sure about it, you can actually skip treating the snakes themselves, just give them a long soak in lukewarm water with a couple drops of dawn dishsoap and that will get most all of the mites off them. While your doing that, thoroughly clean the cage and follow the instructions I gave earlier for setting it back up. Use the Provent-a-mite to treat everything but the water bowl (which should be scrubbed and boiled if possible) and make sure it's completely dry before putting the snakes back in. You'll need to do this weekly for the next month, and I like to do 2 more sessions 2 weeks apart after that just to be sure, for a total of 2 months of treatments. Please note however that I tend to go a bit overkill when treating, I've had several times when I thought I had finally beat the little demons, only to have them show up again after another month.

    As for the issue of having them in the same cage, they are not social creatures at all. And the size of the cage won't matter, since they will still have to share the hot spot and possibly hides and space in general. And going off feed when separated is likely just them being BPs and reacting to a change in the environment, and given time they will start eating again just fine. I could give you a list of reasons why not to keep them together, the current situation with the mites and the possible chance of one of the other coming down with a disease and passing it to the cage mate being at the top of the list. Not going to keep pestering you about it though, so I'll leave it at that.
    Good luck with treating the notes, and make sure to be very diligent about doing the treatments and keeping the cage clean.
  6. Karma Momma

    Karma Momma Active Member

    I recently dealt with mites I brought in from a Reptile show. Almost lost my African house because of it.

    I removed all the bedding, bleached the tank (diluted of course), and kept her on paper towels, soaking her in iodine diluted to look like a weak tea. I changed the paper towels daily until I didn't see them on the towels or her for 30 days. If the mites are on one snake, more than likely they are on the other since they share an enclosure. I hope this helps!
  7. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Both snakes must be treated, to get rid of the mites. This will likely stress them out, and possibly put them off their feed, but it is crucial that it be done. Ball Pythons are sturdy, and they will get over it, and probably eat better than before if they miss a few meals.

    This is how I get rid of mites:

    I use the natural relief stuff, and regularly have to de-mite new snakes before allowing them in my reptile room. It is available on amazon, and at most decent pet stores.

    Your best bet is to separate them into individual cages, something sturdy and plastic. Since you have 2 snakes, I would go buy 3 of these (or something similar, the locking lid is very helpful) Drill a few holes if you wish

    Sterilite 12.7 Quart Modular Latch Box- Bamboo Grass (Available in Case of 6 or Single Unit) -

    Move your snakes into these bins, with nothing but paper towels for substrate, and a water dish, and maybe one hide (it must be something you can either throw away, or thoroughly sterilize, so not wood)

    Your quarantine should take place in a different room than their cage was in. The farther you can get from it, the better. Mites can crawl and climb.

    Spritz the paper towels with the miticide of your choice. If you are using Permethrin, be aware that it is safe for use on most animals, but extremely toxic to cats, so take care that if you have cats, they do not get exposed to it.

    Put the snakes, one at a time, into the 3rd bin, with about an inch of clean water in it, and allow them to bathe while you scrub the cages with soap or bleach or both. When the cage is clean, replace the paper towels with fresh ones, and new miticide.

    If you are using natural chemistry reptile relief, it can hasten things to wipe each snake down with it as you return them to the cage. This is also helpful in assessing how many mites your snake still has on them. Examine the paper towels afterwards, for signs of mites.

    Clean your bathing container, and repeat with your other snake.

    Once you have seen no signs of mites for 4 weeks, you should be good to go. I check their water bowl for drowned mites, their bath water after each bath, their paper towels when I change them, and the mite-wipes after each wipe. If all 4 spots turn up clean for 4 weeks, you have probably gotten rid of the mites.

    While all this is going on, I recommend a very thorough cleaning of their cage with permethrin, and baking anything you can safely put in your oven (wood hides, etc) Pay close detail to the lid of the tank, as you don't want to overlook any eggs. I would hose it with permethrin at least once a week while your snakes are in quarantine, to ensure you kill any mites that hatch out of their eggs. Clean it redundantly. Eggs are hard to kill, so you want to get the baby mites as they hatch.

    Throw away any bedding or substrate you have in the cage. You can house them on paper towels for a few months to watch for any signs of recurrence.

    You can use permethrin aerosol to 'fumigate' the cages. It is used as a bedding spray for lice and bedbugs. a can should be about $6 at your local drug store.

    If you house other reptiles in your house, be aware that mites can and will spread through your collection if not eradicated, and can transmit diseases from one reptile to another.

    Good luck. They are treatable, but it is quite a bit of work.

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