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Discussion in 'Herp Health' started by esbat, Jul 1, 2005.

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  1. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    This is my first experience with mites. I read on a much earlier thread that Reptile Relief is a good product to rid them. Can someone tell me who that is made by? And if there are any other remedies that work? I heard that the stuff you can buy at the drug store for lice also works.

    I have had this little BP for 2 weeks, he is 6 weeks old. He started soaking last week after he ate, could mites come in on mice?

    Thanks everyone,
  2. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

  3. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    Thanks Ken. I am trying to get him on f/t, he's the first snake I have had to feed live to, poor little mouse.

    Thanks for the link, I'm going to look into that.
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

  5. gregondrum

    gregondrum Active Member

    I don't understand mite meds, i hear they are toxic!? Anyone know anything 'bout that?
  6. Lyn

    Lyn Elite Member

    I have Provent-a-Mite and just had to use it myself. Took in a couple of common boas and a ball python covered in mites (quarantined from the rest of the pack of course) and this stuff took care of it quite quickly. Be sure you read the instructions and dont use it around feeder crix or arachnids. I also used it preventitively on the rest of the clan....Works more mites so far....good luck with your little friend...Lyn
  7. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    Thanks Merlin and Lyn, I'm looking into both of these. of the online store links for reptile relief is the HC store :)

    Does it kill spiders :D They terrify me!
  8. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    Greg, check out the info on both the links provided, the reptile relief says it's not toxic.
  9. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Mites can be transferred by anything or anyone, including you, as Merlin said, but it is likely, since you've only had the snake for two weeks, that he came to you suffering from them already - they can be hard to spot until the infestation gets really bad.

    Is he WC or CF? Judging by his age i would presume not WC but CF animals often come with parasites - I would have him checked out by a vet once you overcome the mite situation just to make sure he isn't suffering from any other nasties.

    We have always used a product called frontline to treat mites - it's a product originally designed for fleas on cats and dogs, but mixed with a % of pure alcohol is a great treatment. Whatever you use be careful to follow the instructions strictly, many of the treatments do come with a small risk, but IMO the risk overcomes what mites can do.

    Good luck, be sure to quarantine away from your other animals - mites spread like fire! Best to keep him in a simple set up until you eradicate the nasties, like paper towels and basic furniture - easier to spot the mites and less chance of them spreading further.

    Keep us updated, and i'm sure he'll be fine. Since he is so young you should also hopefully stand a better chance of switching him to f/t quicker,. try leaving him for a week or two then give him a freshly killed rodent or try with a f/t item warmed up and perhaps split to induce feeding.
  10. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    This post is LONG, but hopefully helpful

    Here is my advice on treating snake mites, based solely on MY experience(s) and a lot of what I’ve read. (The use of insecticides is NOT recommended if you keep arachnids!!!)
    Pyrethrin or Permethrin is HIGHLY toxic for reptiles. Provent-A-Mite has a concentration of 0.5% and is considered safe for use in the terrarium (take out reptiles and waterbowls!!). Do not use this product or products containing permethrin ON your reptiles. And do not allow your reptile to breathe the fumes.! Do NOT use on or near amphibians!! (As a last resort, permethrin can be used in a diluted concentration of 0.1% on the reptile, but there is still a certain risk of toxicity.

    If the pet shop you get your mice from sells reptiles, then almost anything you buy from them (especially wood products) could, and probably does, have mites on it. (even crickets can harbour reptile mites or mite eggs!)
    Chances are, your new snake had mites when you got him, but be aware that these little beasties can be hard to get rid of and you can re-infest your collection with any outside contact with reptiles: (pet shops, reptile exhibitions, friends’ collections, etc.) What you don’t see, can still come home and feed on your snakes!!

    If you have found adult mites on your snakes (they are black or red and large enough to be seen fairly easily), then you probably have several life-cycles in process in and around your terrarium. Your plan of attack has to be aimed at all of it or you will never get rid of the mites.

    The adult mites drink blood from your snake (and can also pass viruses and bacteria to the snake.)
    Then they usually crawl off the snake to lay their eggs. They seem to prefer high dark moist places to lay. (Check the top corners of your terrarium.) One adult female can lay up to 12-24 eggs at a time, and usually 60-80 in a lifetime. Newly laid eggs are sticky and can be found on the surface of the enclosure (usually in the top corners) and can be off white or tan in color. (If eggs are laid on the snake, it is usually in the space around the eyes or under the anal scale.) Eggs hatch in one day if it is warm enough and up to 4 days in cooler temps.
    Unfertilized mite eggs will become male and all the fertilized eggs will become female (which means more eggs quickly!).
    The larvae only have 6 legs (they develop another pair later) they are white and fragile. They do not feed at this stage and do not wander far from where they hatched. This stage of development only lasts 1-2 days. Then they molt and become protonymphs. These are pale ivory or yellowish and almost invisible but CAN be seen if you look carefully on the glass doors. (They look like lint from paper towels except that these move.)
    Protonymphs must feed to metamorphose to the next stage. They can smell and are attracted to a reptile and move towards it and cover considerable distances. If you look carefully at your snakes, you may see these small white specks moving over the scales.
    After a blood meal, the protonymphs are dark red (not black like adults and not as large.)
    When they’ve taken enough blood from your snake, they become active and usually move off the snake to a dark humid spot to shed 12-24 hours after feeding.
    Engorged protonymphs are often found drowned in the water dish in snake cages. (They look like specks of pepper – with a magnifying glass you can see that they have legs, however!)

    The next stage, the deutonymph stage is non-feeding, dark red, or black and does not usually move. Within 24 hours the deutonymph sheds to become an adult.

    Adult male mites are yellowish brown and smaller than the typical black females most noticeable in a major infestation. A feeding session on the snake takes 1-2 days; afterwards the mites let go and wander off the snake to mate and lay eggs. Adult mites live 10-32 days and can feed and mate several times in their (short) lifetime.
    Unfed females can crawl at a rate of 11” per minute (that is 55 feet per hour!) They can easily pass through screen ventilation of enclosures to reach another snakes enclosure and they have a bloodhound-like nose for reptiles!

    So, that’s just a little background on what sort of enemy you are up against. Just spraying your snake with Reptile Relief or Provent-a-Mite or diluted Nix is not going to take care of your problem.

    IN MY OPINION, here is the best plan of attack for mites:
    You should immediately set up a plastic container with paper towel substrate, a thermometer, a water dish and hide box for your snake. Put it on a heating pad or under a heat lamp to get the correct temps. (If you have multiple snakes, the best would be a similar set up for each.) AND you need a double of the exact same set up because the snake should be switched to a new, sterilized container with a clean hide, thermometer and water dish every day during the quarantine period.

    Before moving the snake from the terrarium to the plastic box, you should bathe it for at least 30 minutes in lukewarm water (28 degrees C / 82 F) Do not make the snake swim, just enough water so that the snake gets just covered when it lies at the bottom is fine. Some sources recommend adding some olive oil to the water to suffocate the mites… only add the oil AFTER the snake has had a chance to drink (10 minutes or so). We do not use the olive oil, however, because it is just a huge mess. We recommend a few drops of dishsoap mixed in the water (after the snake has had a chance to drink.) When the snake has been soaked for at least 30 minutes, spray or wipe it with Reptile Relief or one of the other over-the-counter mite treatments --- read the instructions carefully!!!!! – before putting it in the plastic box.
    This bath and box change routine should be repeated daily (pay attention: Reptile Relief should only be used on the reptile once every 3 days!). This process breaks the life-cycle of the mites: drowning the adults and protonymphs on the snake and removing any adults crawling off to lay eggs, laid eggs or recently hatched larvae, protonymphs or deutonymphs that are in the snake box.

    Getting rid of the mites on the snake is relatively easy. But getting rid of it in the terrarium and your house is more difficult!!

    Now turn your attention to the terrariums: Remove and dispose of the substrate (get it out of your house immediately!) take EVERYTHING out of the terrarium and spray it all with an insecticide containing PERMETHRIN (e.g. Provent-a-Mite) and/or freeze it below –20 degrees C for at least 5 days.
    Vacuum up some mothballs into your vacuum cleaner and vacuum in and around all of your snake enclosures and carpets. If you have glass or wood enclosures, scrape the corners with a blunt knife and vacuum again. (You have to get the sticky egg clusters out of the corners.) Disinfecting with bleach is a good idea for the potentially harmful organisms transmitted by mites, but WILL NOT kill the mites or mite eggs – it may drown a few adults but won’t kill the eggs.

    Branches and wood products can be baked in the oven at 200-250F for 2-3 hours. (check that they don’t scorch or burn.) Rocks can be boiled, completely submerged for 20-30 minutes. Wash all bowls with a bleach-water (1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water) solution, rinse well and let air dry.
    If you have heating pads inside the tank, unplug and remove them. Clean with soapy water, rinse and spray them off with insecticide and then bleach-water. Let them sit for at least 10 minutes then rinse and let air dry.
    Disconnect all light fixtures and spray/ wipe down with a Provent-A-Mite –type solution. (Do not spray full-strength Permethrin onto your snake!

    When everything removable has be taken out of the terrarium, spray the inside with a full-strength permethrin solution and close up the terrarium. Cover all screened areas with tape or plastic and seal the terrarium completely for 3 hours (longer for larger terrariums.)
    After this, open up the terrarium and dispose of all the tape and plastic used to seal it. RINSE the terrarium thoroughly several times with water and use a fan (if necessary) to remove all fumes. (Even if you can’t smell it, it can still harm your reptile!) So completely rinse and air out your terrarium for at least 1 full day before re-introducing your pet. (I let mine sit for a week or more while I keep up the daily baths and box changes on my snake.) As any eggs not caught can still hatch up to 4 days later; and adults can live up to a month, don't relax too soon!!

    I recommend re-introducing the snake to the terrarium with “just the basics” at first: a hide box or two, paper substrate and a water dish.

    PS – ALWAYS use protective glasses, rubber gloves and a mask when dealing with insecticide sprays and strong detergents such as bleach!
  11. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    I have to be a bit contradictory here.. why does everyone think mites come from mice/rats? - reptile mites are species specific, that is they feed and live on reptiles and not mammals. They may be carried in on feeders, but only if the feeders have been near reptiles who have mites, just as they can be transferred or carried in on humans, but they do not live on rodents and humans. The only time a mite will leave its host (the reptile) is to lay eggs, as it will not lay them on the host, so it is more likely the mites came in on the snake, although they can use other animals and products to "travel" as it were.

    Sorry, just got a bit confused and wanted to clear that up.
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Most likely because most everyone gets their rodents from the same store that carries reptiles. If the store has an infestation then the feeders can also have mites on them even if they are not "hosts". Granted the same thing is true of any product that comes from that store including you just walking thru it. However since the item most often being bought are the feeders people associate them with being the problem.
  13. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    I didn't say that the mites come from the mice or rats, just that they can be on the mice or rat that someone brings home from a reptile-mite infested pet shop. But as I mentioned, ANYTHING from that store can have mites on it (including feeder mice) but especially wood products, substrate, moss etc.
  14. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    Thank you so much everyone for your suggestions. I bought him from a very well known breeder. His place is so amazing, he has hundreds of snakes including some hots. I have since been told by a couple of people that his snakes sometimes have mites, oh well. I saw him at a show this weekend and mentioned it to him, he didn't seem too surprised and made some simple suggestions as well.

    I think I am beating this with alternating bleached tanks, soaking him and rubbing olive oil on him. I burn the paper towel he is on just to be safe. I have reptile relief on order although I think the problem will be gone by the time I get it.

    Thanks again everyone,
  15. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    What is CF?
  16. Bitis Gabonica

    Bitis Gabonica Elite Member

    Sorry Andrea - I read so many posts by people who seem to suggest that mites actually come from mice and rats, but yes you are right they can be carried in on them. Apologies for the misunderstanding, didn't mean any offence.

    Esbat - CF = captive farmed. Basically the gravid mother is usually WC and the babies then sold on in captivity. Because the mother is WC it is common for her to have parasites, which are then passed on to the babies. CB is safer, although it still isn't impossible for them to have parasites, but CF and WC are not beneficial to the wild populations.

    It doesn't fill me with confidence that your breeder is known to have mites in his collection, and also that he was unsurprised. With larger collections, ofcourse there is an increased chance of having mites, and we have had a couple of experiences with mites, but I would be shocked if I sold a reptile and the owner came back to me and told me it had mites. We had our first mite infestation when we first bought our boa Charley. I rang the pet shop owner and he said the mites were nothing to worry about and wasn't surprised at the presence of them. That's when alarm bells rang - nothing to worry about?!- left untreated they weaken the immune system and can cause fatality! I would be cautious about using this guy again, as he should have his collection under complete control, and if i were him i would be doing my best to eradicate any mite infestation which could wipe out his entire collection! .. let me ask, does he keep boas and pythons together too?
  17. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Absolutely no offence taken, Rachel! :)

    My husband, "ChondroDoc", just read a quote that said "Someone who knowingly has mites in his/her collection and doesn't treat them should be tied down in a field of tall grass infested with chiggers!"

    Someone with hundreds of snakes is going to have quite some problems getting rid of a mite infestation: I've experienced the hassle of getting rid of them in a collection of 2 and that was hard enough!!!
    (According to my book "Reptile Medicine and Surgery": "There is no one treatment that is both 100% effective and safe for the eradication of mites in reptiles!" It takes time. If the thought of getting rid of the mites scares you, the thought of NOT getting rid of the mites should scare you more:
    The danger of mites to snakes is NOT something to be played down and your breeder should DEFINITELY have been more concerned.
    As Rachel said they can weaken the immune system and worse still: a large infestation of mites can consume enough blood to cause potentially life-threatening anemia. Mites are also known carriers of Aeromonas hydrophila: a bacteria causing pneumonia and infectious stomatitis (mouth rot). And there are theories that mites can also be carriers of the boa retrovirus.

    So good luck Esbat! You're neither the first nor the last that has had to deal with these miserable beasties.
  18. esbat

    esbat Reptile Rescue Premium Member

    Thanks Bitis. He was CB, I had never seen CF before. His snake room is the basement of his house, Boas and Pythons are kept in the same room.

    Andrea, I almost choked on my coffee when I read the quote your husband found, lol.

    My guess is that the breeder might have been embarrassed, not sure and I don't want to make any excuses for him. He knows now and hopefully will take care of his collections. I could have returned him but I'm attached and couldn't do that. Funny thing is one of the people who told me he sometimes has mites in his collection, just bought a $2000 snake from him.
  19. Albert

    Albert Member

    is my first experience with mites. I read on a much earlier thread that Reptile Relief is a good product to rid them. Can someone tell me who that is made by? And if there are any other remedies that work? I heard that the stuff you can buy at the drug store for lice also works.

    I have had this little BP for 2 weeks, he is 6 weeks old. He started soaking last week after he ate, could mites come in on mice?

    Thanks everyone,[/QUOTE]

    Hi Esban! Can u tell me what kind of symptoms did you find?
  20. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Reptile relif is made by a company called Natural Chemistry.
    Do you have any reason to think the snake has mites other than the soaking?
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