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  1. #1
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    Unhappy purchased snake with mites

    I had purchased a baby sunglow boa and after I checked her out (she came from an online dealer so I let her rest after the shipping) she definitely has mites.

    Now, I have owned snakes in the past, but do not have any other reptiles besides her and the ball python I got in the same order. I also have never had a mite infestation and am quite anxious!

    I had just found out about the mites a few hours ago and am taking some preventative measures, such as soaking and trying to hand-remove any mites

    Now she isn't crawling with them, but I can only imagine how many are hiding on her.

    Since I have not had a mite issue ever before, how would I take steps for her? I have a scale and can weigh her to make sure that she isn't going to get too exposed to any sort of treatment.
    Also I am wanting to not handle her/take her outside and do a very strict quarantine of both her and the ball python.

  2. #2
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    I would treat both since they were from the same source. I'll assume they were in the same shipping box as well, yes?

    I wrote this up after my second battle with the little so-and-so's.

    Mite Eradication 101:

    *** Permethrin ***

    Permethrin comes in many forms - Provent-A-Mite (PAM), NIX/RID head lice treatment, Permethrin-10 from a livestock supply store, etc. Once mixed with water its half life is 30 days if kept out of direct sunlight.

    PAM has several advantages. It has been tested for use with reptiles, and it comes ready to use. The disadvantages are that it's expensive and most reptile stores don't have it in stock, so you have to wait for it to be shipped to you if you don't have any on hand. Meanwhile the mites are busy feeding and breeding.

    NIX/RID is cheaper than PAM and is readily available at WalMart, CVS, and other drug stores. It is also easy to dilute: mix one two ounce (59 ml) bottle of the cream rinse with one gallon of water.

    At a dollar per ounce Permethrin-10 is the cheapest of the three options; one eight ounce bottle will make 240 gallons of solution, as only 6 milliliters of it are needed per gallon of water to make an effective mite spray. The upside is that if you have a lot of snakes to treat this will do it very economically. The downside is that it's all too easy to make too strong of a permethrin solution which can seriously injure or kill your snakes.

    No matter which product you use, it must be used correctly. I've never applied any permethrin product directly onto my snakes as it's not needed for mite treatment, and permethrin poisoning in a snake can cause irreversible neurological damage or death.

    Permethrin use: spray the enclosure, paper substrate, and hides with the diluted solution or PAM. DO NOT SPRAY THE WATER BOWL. Allow everything to dry completely before returning your snake to its home. Also keep a supply of treated and dried newspaper or paper towels and treated hides available so that when a snake makes a mess, you replace the soiled paper and hides with treated ones. Treat the enclosure every two to three weeks.

    *** Reptile Spray ***

    Reptile Spray kills mites on contact while wet, once it dries it loses its effectiveness pretty quickly. Reptile Spray is a solution of salts rather than an insecticide; it kills mites by dehydrating them. I don't spray the snakes as more ends up on the floor than on the snake. Instead, I spray a white paper towel with it and wipe it on the snake. That way you get even coverage on the snake, you can work it into the area under their chin really well as that's a favorite hiding place for mites, you don't stress out your snake, and you can look for mites on the paper towel to see how quickly they're being eradicated. Apply twice a week. Note - this stuff hurts like hell in an open wound.

    *** Hot Shot No-Pest Strips ***

    Some people take a Hot Shot No-Pest strip, cut it into pieces, put each piece into a small sealed container, poke some holes in the container, and put each container into the snake's enclosure. I've used the No-Pest strip but I just hang it in the snake room and close the door. Either way is effective, especially if you have a major outbreak.

    If you do use it, remove the water bowls as the insecticide is strongly attracted to water and you don't want the snake drinking it. After 24 hours remove the strip (or pieces), put them into an airtight container for future use, air out the room, and put the water bowls back. Repeat treatment weekly.

    Important! If you also keep tarantulas, feeder roaches/dubias, crickets, etc. do not use the No-Pest Strip as it can kill them too!!!!

    *** Mild Dish Soap ***

    One or two drops of mild dish detergent in your snake's bath water will break the surface tension and prevent mites from floating in the water so they drown. No more than that is needed, your snake should not look like it is taking a bubble bath.

    *** Heat ***

    Don't laugh, but a temperature of 135*F for five seconds will kill mites and the eggs. I purchased a heat gun used for stripping paint that can be set to blow hot air from 180*F through 1200*F. Using the heat gun and a temperature gun I heated the surfaces and crevices of my racks and enclosures to kill off any mite eggs that may have been laid outside the tubs. Don't get your enclosure surfaces and joined/glued areas too hot or you can damage them.

    Mite treatment should continue for 30 days after you stop finding mites on your snake, as an egg can take that long to hatch.

    *** FINAL NOTE ***

    Effective quarantine means that you treat every new arrival as if it has mites, and new snakes are kept as far away from your established collection as possible for at least 90 days. I treat the quarantine enclosure, hides, and paper with permethrin a day or so before the new snake arrives, and I wipe it with a paper towel soaked in Reptile Spray as part of my inspection process when it comes out of the shipping box. If it has mites I will know it within a day or two at most. This also goes for snakes from "trusted" sources, my first mite outbreak ever came from someone I trusted.

  3. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to bcr229 For This Useful Post:

    Albert Clark (01-17-2017),cletus (01-30-2017),latrodectussin (01-17-2017),Marzipan (01-18-2017),Slither Seeker (02-18-2017)

  4. #3
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    Re: purchased snake with mites

    Thanks for that write up.

    I have seen some people use olive oil, but others say it can result in a premature shed. Right now both are soaking in delicups but in separate areas

    I did get them from the same vendor and they did come in the same box. I don't see any on the ball python but I am doing preventative treatment.

    For the products, is there one which seems to not be as potent? I did a read up on a boa site which anecdotally told the story of the author who's snake seemed to have seizures after the prevent-a-pest strips.

    Also, should I adjust feeding? I have not fed them myself yet, I prefer to try to wait 5-7 days after getting a new reptile to give them a meal (don't want them to regurge and make them in worse health)
    for this moment the snake housing I gave them are deli containers enough for them to feel secure but still have a bit of room. I have not kept their hotspots on consistently as heating that container up really makes me nervous and I live in the new orleans area which is consistently pretty warm (so the heating is currently on a timer)
    I'm keeping the cups bare for now. I figured the less room for hiding with the mites the better?

    After this soak I intend to pat them dry, let them rest for the night and start being proactive about this tomorrow

    So far my plan is:

    - soak with dawn
    - find a product to my liking
    - double check ratios
    - start chemical treatment

    Now
    since this exposure was from the mail and I have not had my snakes out
    How much of a cleaning should I do for my home?

    I also do have a tiny scorpion sling and a colorado river toad (but she is in a very sealed container and I don't believe snake mites feed off of a toad--none the less a poisonous one)
    How concerned should I be for either of those creatures around the chemical treatment?
    I'm very anxious/get super intrusive thoughts about these sorts of manners and can be perhaps excessively vigilant (but not experienced in mites, moreso something like aquarium chem and such)
    Most likely I will keep both of the other animals in a completely separate section of the house *just in case*

  5. #4
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    I have also heard of people using frontline successfully.
    I am not too sure about that one as it seems way too strong for a baby snake.

  6. #5
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    Re: purchased snake with mites

    Quote Originally Posted by latrodectussin View Post
    I have also heard of people using frontline successfully.
    I am not too sure about that one as it seems way too strong for a baby snake.
    I've heard of it but never done it, which is why I didn't put it in my writeup. If I were to use it I would wipe it on and then wipe the snake with a damp paper towel to remove most of it. I don't like using pesticides directly on my snakes.

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  8. #6
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    Re: purchased snake with mites

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    I've heard of it but never done it, which is why I didn't put it in my writeup. If I were to use it I would wipe it on and then wipe the snake with a damp paper towel to remove most of it. I don't like using pesticides directly on my snakes.
    I don't think I'll have to use the heavier products thusfar. So far I have put the two in a coating of olive oil for a day and a half, got that off using some mild dish soap, and after taking them out the ball python is still completely clear and I am not finding any on the boa either. Regardless I am still going to do spot checking on them daily and keep up with the treatment for a month or more if needed.

    It is an interesting experience and I feel a bit like a snake groomer with as many soaks as they've had in the past couple of days. Both are still very active but also not making my life too difficult. The ball python is a lot more tolerant while the boa is...well, being a good sport while also very clearly not liking he tub/soaks heheh.Gonna have to watch out for her. She's already got a personality too big for her little body. Gosh I forogt how much of a sucker I am for boidae

  9. #7
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    I had a boa recently with a mite problem as well. It was brought to my attention that rubbing olive oil down their bodies removes the mites because it loosens their grip, so I tried it out. I did this on all of my snakes around him as well, just to be safe. BE WARNED!! My boa had an allergic reaction to the olive oil and ended up passing away yesterday from it. Introduce the oil little by little, and if there are any problems, find another way to help them.

    ~AJ

  10. #8
    BPnet Senior Member Sauzo's Avatar
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    Sorry for your loss but personally olive oil is a bad idea. Better to soak the snake in a tub of water deep enough to just cover them with a drop of dawn dish soap to break water tension. Soaking daily combined with Provent-A-Mite as instructed will get rid of the mites.
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  11. #9
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    What about the area around the cage? Does that need to be treated as well? I got a snake with mites the other day and a whole other mess of issues but the mites have me freaking out. I had to take her to the vet to treat RI and starting of mouth rot while i was there 2 mites which were pretty large came off of her i didnt know she had them until then. Now the vet gave me invermectin to spray the enclosure daily and told me to give her a bath with mineral oil to get them off of her. I havent seen any in the baths she has been in and i have only seen 2 in the enclosure. How can i make sure i got them all and how long do i need to be treating her and the enclosure?
    I also have 3 dogs so im worried about them possibly hitching a ride upstairs (if thats possible idk)
    How long can they live if theyre not on a snake???

    I have 12 other bps in a seperate room and level of the house and i have never had to deal with this😔

  12. #10
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    Re: purchased snake with mites

    Dump your substrate and bleach the cages (get a metal brush and get the bleach in the cracks and crevices of your enclosure)Let the bleach fumes evaporate, and use paper towels for at least 3-4 weeks, after they receive a treatment (i used a mix of human lice medicine and water, but i think all the mite products out there are good) put them back in their cage, this worked for me a couple moths ago, and the mites were exterminated. This is how I got rid of them, and whatever method u use i really hope all the mites die

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