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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Help -Hatchling has mites

    I have done extensive research for over a month now and I still need HELP ! PLEASE! My brother (16) got a hatchling ball python (from petco) that had mites. I removed her from her tank and put her in a plastic container with paper towel and a new water dish. I soaked everything in a vinegar hot water bath, then froze everything, boiled it in water, washed with dawn soap. I cleaned her tank and lid and used reptile relief. I read that she is too young/small for chemicals so I gave her dawn baths. Once I thought I got rid of them all I put her back in her tank (10 days ish). I froze the new substrate before putting it in her tank. Everything was great she was finally eating (she refused to eat (frozen pinkys petco said she was eating)), then about a month later I saw a mite on her again and she's soaking in her water dish all the time. The dawn baths dried her out so much ( yes I gave her plain baths to try to rehydrate her). I've seen a lot of people from the uk use predator mites to get rid of snake mites naturally. Is this an option? What else can I do? Please help! We've had her for about 2 months when we got her she weighed 100g, now she weighs Now that she has been eating she weighs 135 grams. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Predator mites are not available in the U.S.- so that's not an option.

    You need to follow directions EXACTLY on any products designed to kill mites- They can hide or leave behind eggs in cage or in furnishings, so anything made of wood or other natural (porous) materials should be thrown away- not re-used. Their life cycle, best I recall, is about a month- and mites are serious- they can truly kill a snake due to blood loss, shock & organ failure, so it's essential that you succeed (get rid of them completely) before they reproduce exponentially & harm this snake. Mites can also be disease vectors. Avoid buying snakes with mites in the future.

    Mites are irritating, and cause dehydration- both are reasons to suspect mites when you see a snake soaking in water bowl. Helps that you saw a mite also- that removes any doubt on for you.

    Personally, I'd first do the shallow soak in water with a drop of Dawn or Ivory soap for about 20 well-supervised minutes. The tiny bit of soap is ONLY to remove the water's surface tension so the mites drown instead of floating & surviving. But you cannot immerse the snake's head, so assume that a few mites will survive on their head. It shouldn't look like a "bubble bath" & don't let the snake drink the water to avoid upsetting their stomach.

    I haven't had any snakes with mites for many years, but if I did, I'd next use the Natural Chemistry (exactly as directed) https://www.amazon.com/DeFlea-Reptil.../dp/B0002QIII8 And maintain the snake on white paper towels for at least 2 months until you're SURE the mites are truly gone. Re-treat as needed with Natural Chemistry mite spray. Note, this spray is not an actual pesticide, but a solution that dehydrates the mites, so it's safer than pesticide remedies.

    Every time the snake is bathed, her cage should be cleaned- change the paper towels & wipe everything down thoroughly BEFORE putting the snake back, in case there's any mites or eggs hiding. Mites cannot hide in/on plastic or glass (easy to wash off), but use no wood products or other porous cage decorations until you're positive the mites are long gone.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Here's more on battling mites (from bcr229), if the above (safest) methods fail:

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...=1#post2745690
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-16-2021 at 02:43 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Skyrivers (11-16-2021)

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    Re: Help -Hatchling has mites

    Thank you very much I will definitely do this! The only question I have is how to keep the humidity level in a plastic bin with paper towels? Do I mist it like I would her tank, or keep the humidity low since that kills mites or so I've read and just give her more baths?

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    Re: Help -Hatchling has mites

    Quote Originally Posted by Fpoff13 View Post
    Thank you very much I will definitely do this! The only question I have is how to keep the humidity level in a plastic bin with paper towels? Do I mist it like I would her tank, or keep the humidity low since that kills mites or so I've read and just give her more baths?
    Good question- in a plastic bin with (I assume?) minimal airflow (?), a larger water bowl should help the humidity, especially if it's over the UTH (again, assuming you're using UTH?). You won't be able to get the humidity low enough to kill mites & still be okay for the snake, so don't worry about that as a solution for killing mites. Just don't help them by giving them hiding places, & keep after the rotten little blood-suckers! (you can mist some also but don't make the paper towels too soggy) You can do a bath per day, if you want. But the reptile spray should take over the job, I hope. Use as directed on product.

    FYI- you can sometimes see mites hanging onto a snakes face, around the eyes, in the nostrils or heat-sensing pits, or under their chin. Carefully remove them by hand if you can.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-16-2021 at 01:46 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Re: Help -Hatchling has mites

    Yes I have a Rubbermaid tote with holes I put in the lid and a cut out for the heat lamp. No I don't have an UTH at the moment it melted . Wouldn't an UTH get too hot under a plastic tote? I plan on getting one with a thermostat once I get rid of the mites and get her back in her tank but the lamp alone has been great.

    The natural chemistry is actually the spray I have and used last time, but it said not to use on snakes under 12 weeks so I only used it on the tank, lid and tank stuff EXACTLY as directed. Should I still give her dawn baths or just the reptile spray? It says not to use more than 3 day intervals so should I use dawn in-between?

    What can I do if I can't get the mites out of her eyes ( if she has any in her eyes ( I'm nervous to touch her eyes)) or nostril, ect.? She is pretty good about submerging her head during baths.

    If nobody's told you yet today you are AMAZING!

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    Bogertophis (11-16-2021)

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    Hahaha, I don't know about "amazing", I've just hung around too many snakes for too many years! And sorry but I can't make house-calls- only type.

    Both heat lamps & UTH (& all other heating devices) ALL of them get too hot & MUST be controlled either by connection to a thermostat, or at the very least, a rheostat (lamp dimmer) which is only manually-controlled & checked by you, whereas a thermostat is something that you set to the desired temperature & the probe reads the actual temperature & adjusts power accordingly.

    Not all heat devices will work well with a rheostat -some UTH works (& dims the heat) while other kinds will shut off if the power isn't full on, so a thermostat (while more complex) is often the better option. Either way, re-check actual temps. though- never take the t-stat's "word" for what the temperature is- take the temperature independently where the snake touches & verify for safety, because if it's too hot, your snake cannot escape- he's stuck there.

    With proper control- a plastic tub should not melt with UTH- many here use them, but keep in mind not all plastic is the same either. I'm not a plastic fan at all (my snakes are in glass tanks), but I see the name Sterilite often & they're readily available. Your UTH (or heat lamp) should probably never be on full-blast. Also, there are instructions to follow for using (installing) UTH- ie. you MUST leave a little "breathing room"- you don't fully cover & enclose them because that acts as "insulation", allowing too much heat to build up & that can cause them to fail. Which kinda sounds like what you did? Either way, for the safety of your pets (now & future), it's best to fully set up & test enclosures with their heat for days at least (a week is preferred- it takes time for dimmed heat to build up), before any creature is moved into what might be harm's way.

    Follow the Nat. Chemistry directions for sure. Alternating with baths sounds like a good plan, along with vigilance. Remember that your snake's eyes are protected by a clear scale- mites, if any, tend to hang on at the edge, where you might be able to carefully scrape them away with your fingernail & get rid of them. But if that doesn't feel safe or your fingernails are short like mine, you might also try using a damp Q-tip to dislodge it. Gently twirl the Q-tip, so the mite catches on the cotton. (I'm also sneaky. )

    Best not to have your snake submerge their face in water with a bit of soap- in case they drink it- they'll get an upset stomach.

    BTW, pinkies (either mouse or rat pinkies) are too small even for a hatchling BP. They typically start on small mouse "hoppers" or at the very least, fuzzy mice. Mouse pinkies are way too small- but even a rat pinky would not be much of a meal for this BP. I'm not surprised that Petco would have been feeding her pinkies though- pet stores often don't know any better, and/or try their best to under-feed snakes so they don't out-grow their tank & their "cute baby appeal". So on getting this snake to eat & gain a little weight, in spite of everything. You're a terrific big sister.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-16-2021 at 03:35 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Smile Re: Help -Hatchling has mites

    Damn a house call sounds great lol.

    Oh no please don't think I'm a terrible person. My brother didn't turn the heat matt off when we took it off the 75 gal tank to transfer her to a 20 gal tank and left it on folded on itself hence melting I read a 75 gal was too big for my small baby .

    I usually let her chill in the bath for like 15 minutes before I add the dawn to try to lessen any chance of her drinking the soapy water. The qtip is a great idea. I have claws haha.

    Awe thanks I think you might appreciate me more than my brother lmfao. When she first wasn't eating that was the first thing I learned. Petco told my brother she was eating FROZEN pinkys. Absolutely not. I got a lot of the mites off her and fed her live fuzzy/crawlers the first few because she was super weak and under weight so I wanted her to have something easy until she got her strength up then went bigger now she's eating like a champ. I'm just glad we ended up with her. Even though it's a lot of work I feel like she would have died either from starvation or the mites.

    Wish me luck! Thanks again I really appreciate you. I will probably have more questions for you as I go.

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    Re: Help -Hatchling has mites

    https://ball-pythons.net/forums/show...Mite-questions - see my post #2. There are a lot of ways to treat mites and not all require chemicals. The problem you will have though is that an egg can take up to 30 days to hatch, and a female that has had a blood meal can survive a year before needing to eat again, which is why keepers typically resort to chemicals.

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    Re: Help -Hatchling has mites

    Quote Originally Posted by Fpoff13 View Post
    ...
    Oh no please don't think I'm a terrible person. My brother didn't turn the heat matt off when we took it off the 75 gal tank to transfer her to a 20 gal tank and left it on folded on itself hence melting I read a 75 gal was too big for my small baby

    I usually let her chill in the bath for like 15 minutes before I add the dawn to try to lessen any chance of her drinking the soapy water. The q-tip is a great idea. I have claws haha...
    Well, folding a heat matt when it's ON is a "great way" to cause a melt-down & epic fail. Oops! I never once thought you're a terrible person. Almost everyone makes mistakes, especially when they're learning new things. Taking on a hatchling BP in poor condition from a pet store is a challenge no matter what, & you've got him eating, at least. With any luck, things should get better & easier once you get rid of the mites & his housing all figured out.

    And yes, a 75 gal. is massive for a hatchling BP- they're shy & nocturnal "ambush predators" that spend most of their time hiding- not big brave active hunters, lol. Even for a large adult BP, 75 gal. is probably too big -ie. it's much larger than what most ppl do, but that's not saying it won't work for "any" or "your" BP if properly furnished with their habits in mind. (It WILL be very challenging to maintain adequate warmth & humidity though.)

    Now about that bath with a drop or 2 of soap- you need the soap in the water for the whole time, because mites don't drown that quickly. Maybe that's why you still have the mites. Bathe the snake for at LEAST 20 minutes with the soap- stay right there to make sure they stay mostly covered by the water & don't drink any. Don't force OR allow their head under water (they often drink if there's water on their head).

    And don't worry, we don't charge by the question.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 11-16-2021 at 08:09 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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