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  1. #1
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    Mites in baby ball pythons eye..

    Long story short, bought a 6-8 week old mojave russo who unfortunately came with mites 5 days ago. Have done hours on hours of research, assembled all of my products and am in the process of eradicating any inkling of mites. While my tank soaks & I got my guy here in a holding box, I soaked him in a dawn soap bath for the 3rd day in a row and just finished cotton swabbing out about 3 or 4 mites out of his left eye. Now, I believe theres a tiny, tiny one left embedded in there but I just can not get it out and I have him chillin now since heís been through so much. I believe it to be the last one on him, the right eye didnít show any signs of any and neither do his vents or cloaca, should I worry about getting the tiny one in his left eye or leave him be?
    Should i put a speck of mineral oil in the crevice to kill it? Im reluctant to do so since its next to his eye.
    Will it come out during his next shed?
    Thanks in advance

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I can't promise that lone mite will come out with the next shed- it might hang on well enough that the shed will just come off around it & on it will stay. Plus it will be bigger & stronger by then.

    You need to be very careful around their eyes...sometimes an experienced herp vet would be a better choice. I actually wouldn't use mineral oil, as various oils seem to mess up their future sheds, & their eye-caps are the last area that you want to shed poorly. Their eyes are protected by the "spectacle"- so if that was my snake, I think I'd dab a bit of Dawn dish soap* from a Q-tip onto the mite, as that should smother him (without the issue that oils have) & maybe he'll lose his grip then. (*diluted or not) Can't say how long it might take though- it has literally been over 20 years since I've had a snake with mites, & I don't miss them one bit. It if stays alive, it might do more damage by the time he has his next shed...ick, I hate mites! Poor baby snake...let us know how it goes?

    I'm sure you're aware that mites can also hide under their scales, or leave their eggs behind & cause another wave of the little monsters? So as far as treatment, it's often not "once & done".

    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-22-2021 at 01:03 AM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    MacKrell35 (01-22-2021)

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    Re: Mites in baby ball pythons eye..

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I can't promise that lone mite will come out with the next shed- it might hang on well enough that the shed will just come off around it & on it will stay. Plus it will be bigger & stronger by then.

    You need to be very careful around their eyes...sometimes an experienced herp vet would be a better choice. I actually wouldn't use mineral oil, as various oils seem to mess up their future sheds, & their eye-caps are the last area that you want to shed poorly. Their eyes are protected by the "spectacle"- so if that was my snake, I think I'd dab a bit of Dawn dish soap* from a Q-tip onto the mite, as that should smother him (without the issue that oils have) & maybe he'll lose his grip then. (*diluted or not) Can't say how long it might take though- it has literally been over 20 years since I've had a snake with mites, & I don't miss them one bit. It if stays alive, it might do more damage by the time he has his next shed...ick, I hate mites! Poor baby snake...let us know how it goes?

    I'm sure you're aware that mites can also hide under their scales, or leave their eggs behind & cause another wave of the little monsters? So as far as treatment, it's often not "once & done".

    Thanks for the response, my girlfriend got home and we tried one more go to get it out. Itís too small and too deep in there for us to get. We decided to let him relax for the night but I may try the dawn soap method you mentioned today. The problem we were having was that the cottonswabs were too big to even gain any traction on it. I am optimistic thatís the last one and hoping I may even be digging at a dirt speck as I took a magnifying glass to it and I couldít see any red/orange antennas or legs. I have my guy on paper towels right now and plan on keeping on them for the next 3 weeks. Thanks for the response!

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    To get more "traction" from a cotton swab, try gently twirling it- the fibers can catch on things better that way. But with such a tiny embedded "speck", I'd try the Dawn just to help ensure it's dead. Good luck, I hope it works.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-23-2021 at 03:21 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Update - we seem to be mite free! Have not seen a mite in about a week, planning to keep him on paper towels for two more weeks, he just had his first shed with us last night and unfortunately, it was quite patchy.
    My only concern is his eye caps and the tip of his tail seem to be the only pieces left for him to shed. I am leaning towards letting him rest and getting him on a feeding routine and let it take care of itself in his next shed, advice/concerns? Thank you!

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    Bogertophis (01-29-2021)

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    I'd recommend that you continue to try removing the eye-caps & tail tip, BUT you MUST be very gentle about this or you'll cause injury. He needs hydration (water) to help get the trouble spots off- if you have a snake-sized ventilated container (the kind with snap-on lid) I'd put a small & very wet towel in there along with your snake (cover him w/ towel as well as you can- even though he'll not likely sit still) & put this container in his warm cage- checking on him at least every hour for a while. With luck, he may be able to rub the eye-caps off on his own- the tail tip is entirely yours to work on, he cannot do that, & if you leave it on, it constricts what little blood flow there is in his tail tip, & can result in the death of tissue- ie. losing his tail tip altogether.

    Eye-caps & tail tips just tend to get harder to remove, the longer you wait. If only it was that easy, waiting until they come off "next time". Part of the "reason" he had trouble shedding is that mites cause dehydration in snakes, & when they shed, they need GOOD hydration to accomplish it- their bodies secrete a little moisture between the old & new skin, to make it come off easier. Obviously he fell a bit short this time.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-29-2021 at 01:20 PM.
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    As said, you really want to be proactive with helping remove the shed, particularly the eyes and tail.

    Eye caps are fairly easy to remove actually. After soaking them in warm water for a couple hours, just hold the snake by the neck, while supporting their body. Using tweezers, try to get a starting peel from around the eyes, like up on top of the head. That way you can pull on that with the tweezers and it should loosen up the eye cap to come off.

    Good luck!
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    Re: Mites in baby ball pythons eye..

    As a person who has a blind rescue ball python whose eye caps were pulled off along with portions of her actual eye by a vet that didnít know what they were doing, be very careful when removing the excess eye caps.

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    Bogertophis (01-29-2021)

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    Re: Mites in baby ball pythons eye..

    Quote Originally Posted by Kethith View Post
    As a person who has a blind rescue ball python whose eye caps were pulled off along with portions of her actual eye by a vet that didnít know what they were doing, be very careful when removing the excess eye caps.

    I quite agree, & I also don't recommend using tweezers near their eyes either (as mentioned in the previous post), because animals can move suddenly & without warning, & you might poke their eyes with them. Even if 99% of the time you manage to use tweezers safely for this, it's not recommended because it's not worth the risks. Safety first, please.

    Kethith, I've heard (on forums like this) about similar incidents where a snake's eyes were damaged, either by owners or even vets being too aggressive about removing stuck eye caps. On the flip side, I've seen (in rescues given to me) BPs with an unknown number of stuck eye-caps layered on, opaque, dented & wrinkled, effectively blinding the snake. It's something BPs are prone to, because of their large eyes plus humidity requirements that are often inadequate (or sometimes because other health issues are causing their dehydration too).

    Usually the best method is re-hydration (misting/& soaking snake in damp towel) & then after a while, some gentle & slight rubbing with the towel should loosen most eye-caps.

    Once you've made a good try with the "soak" method above, if they're still stuck, another method I've used successfully in the past, which some disagree with (I'm not sure why?), is to use a small piece of "scotch" tape- the eye-caps must be completely dry, or it won't stick, & DO NOT USE ANY OTHER KIND OF TAPE- modern day scotch tape barely sticks & can even be removed from paper. (I'm old enough to remember when scotch tape was much more adhesive & far less accommodating.) Anyway, if their eyes are dry, the eye-caps will just barely stick to the tape, and should come right off on the tape- the previous hydration should facilitate this. You only touch one eye lightly at a time with the tape- gently! don't push on the eye. This is a whole lot safer IMO than trying to grab the edge of an eye-cap with tweezers- those tweezers can cause a tiny scratch or puncture in or near the eye, causing a serious infection, even the loss of the eye.

    If all this fails, see an experienced (!) herp vet.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Re: Mites in baby ball pythons eye..

    Quote Originally Posted by wnateg View Post
    ...Eye caps are fairly easy to remove actually. After soaking them in warm water for a couple hours, just hold the snake by the neck, while supporting their body. Using tweezers, try to get a starting peel from around the eyes, like up on top of the head. That way you can pull on that with the tweezers and it should loosen up the eye cap to come off.

    Good luck!
    It's ideal if you're lucky enough to have more of the old skin left on the head so that the eye-caps come off along with it, & you shouldn't need tweezers for that anyway, but eye-caps alone, that would be way too dangerous, IMO, trying to lift them off with tweezers. I'd never recommend trying that.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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