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Mite/care Questions (ball Python)

Discussion in 'Ball Pythons' started by royal, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. royal

    royal New Member

    I recently bought a baby female ball python from LLL Reptile. I noticed mites on her today, I am assuming they came from a new hide I put in her enclosure, as I hadn't handled her in a while/there's really no other way they could have made there way in. I've read up on how to deal with it and will be treating her this weekend.

    I have a couple questions, though:

    The mites have not been there for more than a week, but I am worried about my snake. Is she in any particular pain/stress because of them? She has not began to soak herself and has been acting pretty normal, but I still am worried for her. I'm noticing a bit of gentle head rubbing against her water dish, but nothing excessive. Does this have to do with the mites?

    Her forehead looks almost a bit crusty/dry - does this have anything to do with the mites? I believe it may be because of how dry it has been here lately (on my stop at the pet store this weekend I'll be grabbing a few more things to help humidify her tank a bit more.) I usually put a wet towel over half the tank's lid and she has a rather big water dish, so I wasn't sure if it was a humidity/dehydration thing or not. I can take some pictures tomorrow if need be.

    What is the best substrate to amplify humidity? Right now she was wood shavings (not cedar, I believe it's aspen) but they are sort of ugly and don't seem to be the best.

    (also, sort of a side question) Is LLL Reptile a reliable place? When I had a corn snake I always bought my decorations/dishes/hides/etc from LLL, but I am more concerned with the actual ball python herself, now. She was very healthy and spry when I bought her, but someone recently told me LLL didn't treat their snakes very well at reptile shows. Any insight?


    For the most part I am concerned about her stress levels/well being until I can treat the mites and enhance the humidity. If she is in any particular pain I would really like to remedy it, I'm so upset she got the mites. Any responses are greatly appreciated, thank you so much !
  2. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    Ug. Sorry to hear about the mites. They are a pain in the butt. They may have been there for quite some time. Eggs can take up to 60 days to hatch, and most of the time you dont catch it until it gets out of hand.

    Depending on how bad the infestation is your animal is probably in a considerable amount of stress, pain and irritation. Mites get underneath the scales, bite and feed off the blood of your snake. The best thing to do right now is give the snake a long soak, making sure that its head gets completely underwater. Mites drown easily, so that will kill most if not all the adults currently feeding. If you can get ahold of a veterinary grade disinfectant to add to soak water that would be excellent. I use chlorhexadine for this purpose, you can get it at, amazon, or a number of other places. This will clean and sanitize the bites, which will be helpful.

    What are you planning on using for mite treatment? I use Provent a Mite (aka PAM) which is made by pro products. Its expense and powerful stuff, but works really well. Ive also heard you can use bedbug treatment as it has the same active ingredient as PAM, but thats an off label use and I cant really speak to its efficacy.

    In terms of LLL; you've got to understand their business model. They are primarily a wholesaler and importer, vs other companies that breed their own snakes exclusively. That means that a lot of animals are coming and going out of their facilities very quickly. Many of these snakes have changed hands repeatedly, and LLL may or may not have been caring for that snake for very long. Ill just say that its much better to buy your snakes directly from a reputable breeder with a closed collection. Your snake will be more likely to be healthy and issue free, and you'll find that if you do have a problem the breeder will be much more helpful and willing to work with you.
  3. CryHavoc17

    CryHavoc17 Elite Member

    Oh and as far as humidity goes: I like cypress mulch to increase humidity. It works really well. The best thing to do to increase humidity long term is to ditch your screen top. In the short term you can wrap it in tinfoil or saran wrap. Long term id plan to build a top yourself that is solid and will fit on your tank, with holes for the lights. Plywood works well for this, and its a pretty simple project.
  4. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    In addition to what has already been suggested, I would recommend switching to paper towels for substrate for now, they will make it a ton easier to get a handle on this problem. You will also need to throw out any contaminated substrate you have still in the bag if it's anywhere near the cage. And just to re-enforce it, ditch the towel. They either dry out too fast or sit wet and become a mildew factory. Get the top sealed then just mist the paper towel as needed. As for how your snake looks, it may just be getting ready to shed.
    Now as for LLLReptile, I can't really say anything bad or good about them, they are what they are. They do a lot of importing, and they buy stuff in quantity from breeders to resell. With that much stuff coming in and out I would bet they fight a near constant battle with mites and such. This is where the importance of quarantine comes in if you have more then one animal.
  5. royal

    royal New Member

    @CryHavoc17 I've had her for a little under a month, so that sounds about right. :( I gave her a brief soak yesterday, I'll do a longer one today though, and when I go to the store I'll grab the chlorhexadine. About the mite treatment - I was gonna get PAM & Reptile Relief. Thank you for the help :)

    @Darkbird ok, I'll do paper towels for now. Thanks for the advice, I'll throw out the substrate + get new cypress mulch as CryHavoc said. Won't be returning to LLL for any snakes, if I do get more - right now I've only got the ball. Thank you for the help too!
  6. royal

    royal New Member

    So, update:

    I soaked my girl and most of the visible mites came off. Got some out from under her scales, too. In the mean time I threw out all the substrate, wiped/cleaned the tank, rinsed all the decor in boiling water, replaced substrate with paper towels, and misted the tank. Hopefully that'll give her some temporary relief until I can get the supplies this weekend. :(
  7. toddnbecka

    toddnbecka Well Established Member

    I had a burmese python about 25 years ago that had mites. Back then the recommended treatment was to place a small piece of a Shell No Pest Strip under newspapers in the cage. Couldn't find any, so I greased the snake with Crisco vegetable shortening and bleached the tank. Kept the python in a 10 gallon tank for a week, though the Crisco suffocated the mites very quickly. Then I simply washed the remaining shortening off the snake with a lukewarm bath and a little dish detergent. Never saw the pests again.
  8. BrownFoundling

    BrownFoundling Established Member

    All I can think of is that the Cisco must have made handling the snake quite difficult. But the treatment kind of makes sense to me.

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