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  1. #1
    Registered User Stofey's Avatar
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    Questions about substrate and mites!

    Hello everyone! I have had a ball python before, however, due to moving homes I had to give him to a good home a few years ago. This year, however, I met my significant other and we got a house together and have been very excited to welcome home Koda! We absolutely adore him and he's such a brave little guy. He's very curious and explorative. It only took a week of settling in and then pretty quickly he was used to us which is very exciting.

    I do have a few questions, however. We've had him for about a month and just this week I picked him up and found a white bug! I've never seen snake mites, and it was only one crawling on him and I got super worried. We went through his entire tank but couldn't find another or any other kind of bug. I did notice, however, that his log hide had some kind of red goo coming out of it. Someone mentioned that the bug I found could have been a wood mite (unsure if the goo on the log is related). The red goo was like dried goo or even sap in consistency. Just in case I removed the log and gave him a new plastic hide which he likes way more anyway (hasn't come out of it since). And I deep cleaned his tank. Should I be worried? I heard baby snake mites are white, however, someone at the pet store in town told me I wouldn't be able to see them like I did. They did recommend a deep clean just to be safe and I do have some mite medicine on hand in case I notice any more. I also checked his scale which all seem fine and he's eating fine as well.

    My next question is about substrate. I don't feed Koda in his tank, I feed him in a separate feeding tub because that is what he is used too and he eats just fine doing so. I also use Eco Earth Coconut fiber as a substrate which I don't want him to accidentally swallow as I've heard they can't digest it or it can get stuck. Should I be concerned about using this substrate even though I feed him in a separate tub? I like this substrate because the moisture it holds. I live in a desert state and even I have trouble with the lack of humidity. I have to put a humidifier in both my main rooms to keep myself from having a dry throat and stuff so I know he must feel the lack of moisture in the air. The Eco Earth really keeps his humidity in a good spot, but I don't want him to get hurt from it. Will he be okay with this substrate? I've been looking at reptisoil and I see some people mix it with top soil and play sand (?) but I'm not sure if it will hold the moisture as well.

    Thank you all for your help, I really appreciate it! A picture of my boy is attached!

    Last edited by Stofey; 01-03-2022 at 02:07 PM.

  2. #2
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    I don't recommend reptisoil because it contains peat moss which is environmentally damaging/not sustainable.

    I like mixing cypress mulch or fir bark with the coco fiber. Those hold moisture well too, but don't get super dusty as they dry out. I've also been looking into trying coco chips over fiber.

    As far as consuming their substrate . . . I look at it as snakes don't get tong fed clean animals in the wild. They eat dirty critters that have been digging in the dirt, have twigs stuck to them, etc. If reptiles have survived millions of years more than likely swallowing dirt just about every time they eat, our snakes are probably okay if they swallow a little substrate by accident. Plus, animal fur passes through them just fine.

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    Homebody (01-04-2022)

  4. #3
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    I've fed my eldest on cocobark, eco earth and shredded paper over the years. He's also my fussiest one where he will usually refuse FT and just eat live.
    Never had a problem. He's over 20 now. My current batch of noodles are all on ecoearth/cocobark. No problems there either.
    EcoEarth is so fine that you shouldn't have a problem if they eat a little bit. Yes, it cannot be digested, but it's not a lot of it with how often they eat and all. If you have them on repti-bark or the larger wood chips and they swallow a larger chunk then that could potentially be an issue, so just make sure to use the smaller wood chips.

    It sounds like a wood mite or if he'd fed live, it could have been a rodent mite. Reptile mites are small black little ones by the time they're able to be seen with the human eye.

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    Homebody (01-04-2022)

  6. #4
    Registered User Stofey's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about substrate and mites!

    Quote Originally Posted by Armiyana View Post
    I've fed my eldest on cocobark, eco earth and shredded paper over the years. He's also my fussiest one where he will usually refuse FT and just eat live.
    Never had a problem. He's over 20 now. My current batch of noodles are all on ecoearth/cocobark. No problems there either.
    EcoEarth is so fine that you shouldn't have a problem if they eat a little bit. Yes, it cannot be digested, but it's not a lot of it with how often they eat and all. If you have them on repti-bark or the larger wood chips and they swallow a larger chunk then that could potentially be an issue, so just make sure to use the smaller wood chips.

    It sounds like a wood mite or if he'd fed live, it could have been a rodent mite. Reptile mites are small black little ones by the time they're able to be seen with the human eye.
    Oh Thank you so much! This puts me at ease. I love my baby and I just wanna make sure he's safe. I feel like he's a happy noodle, but I'm also a worry wart. lol. That definitely eases my mind quite a bit. Thank you!!

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