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Thread: Help! Mites

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    Exclamation Help! Mites

    Hi, so I got my Trans-pecos ratsnake on saturday & she looked fine, I didn't see anything on her that looked even remotely like mites. She ate for the first time with me last night, still looked totally fine, & this morning she had her head poking out of a hide & I saw two mites on her face. I checked under the hide and there were 2-3 more crawling on the paper towel. I don't know how this could have happened, there's nothing in her tank that could have ever been exposed to mites, everything was thoroughly disinfected before she was put in it, I guess they were just hiding on her somewhere since I got her??
    Regardless of how she got them, though, she has them & I think I need a little bit of guidance. I'm going to be ordering some PAM today but that wont be here for a few days, what can I do until it gets here? My local petco has this: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcos...-reptile-spray .Would this work for now? There's also a possibility that a reptile store about an hour from me carries PAM but I'm still waiting on a message back from them to be sure.
    The poor baby, I can't believe I missed this. I've read a lot about treating mites but now that I actually have to I feel completely lost..
    Thank you for reading

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    Re: Help! Mites

    Hi, The reptile spray should help while you wait on the PAM. PAM is the best option in my opinion. I would change out your substrate to paper towels while you are treating for the mites.

    Your snake probably had eggs on her and once you got her home they hatched. Sorry to hear you are going thru this. If you have other snakes be careful that they too do not get mites. Mites travel very well between animals/cages unfortunately.

    Be sure to read the instructions very carefully on the PAM label. That stuff can be toxic if used incorrectly.

    Best of luck to you.
    L. West
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    Re: Help! Mites

    Quote Originally Posted by L.West View Post
    Hi, The reptile spray should help while you wait on the PAM. PAM is the best option in my opinion. I would change out your substrate to paper towels while you are treating for the mites.

    Your snake probably had eggs on her and once you got her home they hatched. Sorry to hear you are going thru this. If you have other snakes be careful that they too do not get mites. Mites travel very well between animals/cages unfortunately.

    Be sure to read the instructions very carefully on the PAM label. That stuff can be toxic if used incorrectly.

    Best of luck to you.
    Thank you, I've taken out all of the things in her tank that could be infested so she now only has two nonporous hides & a water dish (& she was already on paper towel for quarantine). I'll check my other snake, I really hope they haven't gotten to him too

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    She brought them home from the show...mites get passed around, even to snakes that arrived 'clean'. Ugh! (Glad she ate for you.)

    I have not had to treat any snakes since long before PAM was on the market, so all I can say is follow the directions very carefully. Others here have talked
    about using a spray (Natural Chemistry, I think?) on the snake itself & in the meantime, until you can treat the cage with PAM...apparently the spray is safe,
    but I've not used that either.

    What I'd personally do is to gently bathe that little noodle in shallow & soapy lukewarm water (measure it, if it feels warm to you, remember you're about
    98.6*, so it's too hot for her). Use a bit of mild Ivory dish soap...it breaks the surface tension & makes the mites drown (impairs their breathing). Do this
    for about 15 minutes, & also clean the cage well, and use white paper towels & only plastic hides (mites will stay behind & saddle up again if you don't).
    This will remove & kill MOST of the mites but not all...a few may hide on her face (don't submerge her face & don't allow her to drink soapy water) so you
    still need to use the other stuff, but mainly it's important to reduce the mite load as quick as you can on a tiny snake. Mite populations explode exponentially
    & can weaken, even kill snakes, especially small ones, faster than you think.

    Poor little snake...but you'll get her past this. Just don't wait a few days for PAM to arrive, get rid of all the mites you can now.

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    Re: Help! Mites

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    She brought them home from the show...mites get passed around, even to snakes that arrived 'clean'. Ugh! (Glad she ate for you.)

    I have not had to treat any snakes since long before PAM was on the market, so all I can say is follow the directions very carefully. Others here have talked
    about using a spray (Natural Chemistry, I think?) on the snake itself & in the meantime, until you can treat the cage with PAM...apparently the spray is safe,
    but I've not used that either.

    What I'd personally do is to gently bathe that little noodle in shallow & soapy lukewarm water (measure it, if it feels warm to you, remember you're about
    98.6*, so it's too hot for her). Use a bit of mild Ivory dish soap...it breaks the surface tension & makes the mites drown (impairs their breathing). Do this
    for about 15 minutes, & also clean the cage well, and use white paper towels & only plastic hides (mites will stay behind & saddle up again if you don't).
    This will remove & kill MOST of the mites but not all...a few may hide on her face (don't submerge her face & don't allow her to drink soapy water) so you
    still need to use the other stuff, but mainly it's important to reduce the mite load as quick as you can on a tiny snake. Mite populations explode exponentially
    & can weaken, even kill snakes, especially small ones, faster than you think.

    Poor little snake...but you'll get her past this. Just don't wait a few days for PAM to arrive, get rid of all the mites you can now.
    Natural chemistry is what they have at petco, I'll get that today & clean her tank really good. Can I bathe her now? Since she just ate last night I'm kinda worried about her regurgitating her meal
    Thank you <3

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    It would have been much better to take care of mites first, before she (just) ate, but hopefully she'll digest it fast enough & it won't be an issue. Getting mites
    off a little snake takes priority.

    After you bathe* her, keep her in a small container briefly while you clean her cage, & before you put her back in.
    *She'll probably think you're nuts...but oh well...what are snarents for?
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-28-2019 at 11:56 AM.

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    Make sure you don't use the Reptile Spray directly on the snake. I hear you can do it but it is preferred to spray it on a paper towel and gently rub it on the snake.

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    Re: Help! Mites

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    It would have been much better to take care of mites first, before she (just) ate, but hopefully she'll digest it fast enough & it won't be an issue. Getting mites
    off a little snake takes priority.

    After you bathe* her, keep her in a small container briefly while you clean her cage, & before you put her back in.
    *She'll probably think you're nuts...but oh well...what are snarents for?
    I know, I wish I had seen them last night, this is just the worst timing. I'll see if I have any mild dish soap, is there any alternative I could use if I don't have it?

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    Okay I don't have any mild dish soap, only hand soap & more heavy duty cleaners could I use one of those heavily diluted? It's all natural ingredients, if that helps.. ugh I feel so helpless right now, I don't drive so I have to wait until I can have someone pick this stuff up for me, is there anything else I could do?

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    I wrote this up after my second battle with the little so-and-so's. While other treatments, such as ivermectin injections and wiping the snakes with Frontline, do exist, I have not tried them so I've not included them in my own writeup. You can find out about Frontline at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwCA...&feature=share
    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.

    *** Natural Chemistry 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. At the very least new critters should never be in the same room with your established collection.

    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.

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