Protecting Your Snakes From Mites

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A lot of snake breeders would ignore the presence of mites, especially if they see that there is no effect on their snake yet. Little did they know that mites can multiply easily, and its side effects on the snake can be detrimental to their health. Mites’ infestations cause great discomfort; that is why it is important to make sure that your snake is free from it. In this article, we’ll show you manifestations if a mite infestation as well as proper care and maintenance.

How to Know if the Snake is Infested with Mites?

It is the snake’s behavior to soak their bodies in water if they feel hot. However, if you see them soak their bodies frequently, it means that something is irritating them. The snake’s mite is so tiny that it can’t be noticed at first glance. You have to observe it properly to see tiny objects that are moving, whether in their cage or in their skin.

You would know that your snake has been seriously infested if there are mites that will be left in your hands every time you handle it. Aside from irritability, the bites from the mites cause their skin to be wounded and may cause other infections. These mites are often seen in their eye parts, lower jaw, and labial pits and would go underneath the scales. If not treated immediately, their eyes will be swollen and that they will have a reduced appetite because of the irritations that they are feeling.  

How Do Mites Thrive?

House dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus). Scale : mite length = 0.3 mm Technical settings : – focus stack of 67 images – microscope objective (Nikon achromatic 10x 160/0.25) on bellow

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When your snake is infested with mites, it is a clear indication of poor sanitation. They thrive in a warm and quite humid environment like what a snake’s cage has. They usually get it if they always have outside the cage time in an unsanitized place.  You know that your snake is infested if there are dead mites into your snake’s water bowl.

Safe Practices to Kill Mites

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There are different safe ideas to deal with the mites if your snake had already been infested. These practices are simple and can be done immediately so as not to worsen their situation.

1.   Tape

You may use different kinds of tape such as scotch tape, heavy-duty masking tape, or duck tape. You are using the tape to trap the mites by means of rolling the tape into the opening of the cage with the sticky part facing the insides of the cage so the mites that will try to escape will be trapped.

2.   Moat

Moat is characterized as a deep body of water that is surrounded by a structure. Wc.. hen it comes to your snake in captivity, it is just a quite large basin of water where there are drops of dishwashing soap so that when your snake soak in, the mites that will be drowned and be removed from its body and it will have a hard time moving in the water because of the decreased water’s surface tension due to the dishwashing liquid.

3.   Pesticide

Spraying their cage with a pesticide is a common remedy to easily kill the mites. Just be sure that the pesticide that you will be using is all organic so as not to harm your pet as well. If you have other pests around, make sure to transfer them to another area because the mites can easily be transmitted through the air.

How to Clean a Cage Infested with Mites

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In cleaning your cage, you must clean all the accessories, their food, and the water bowl. The substrate used must be thrown and changed. If there are wood furnishings, make sure to sanitize it for a few days to completely kill all the mites, if there is a single mite that will survive, it can multiply in a couple of weeks. All accessories must be washed with hot water and soap. It is best to use easy-to-change substrate such as newspapers until you are sure that your snake is free of mites. Make sure to only return the snake back if there is no single mite in the cage.

How to Treat Infested Snake

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You may consult your veterinarian about the appropriate treatment for the mites, but the usual quarantine method is to soak the snake in a water bowl solution for about 30 minutes if you observe that there are still mites, repeat the process until you can no longer see any mites in the water. Aside from bathing and soaking them in water, make sure to give them treatment spray that is recommended by your veterinarian for a few more days before returning it back to its cage.

In extreme situations, your snake will be wounded because of mite bite; you need to cure it immediately because they are susceptible to infections. There are ointments to treat it; just make sure that the one you are using is applicable for your snake.

How to Avoid Mite Infestations

Always make sure to instill cleanliness into your snake’s housing. Clean all accessories as well as the substrate at least once per once or two weeks or depending on the situation of the cage. Bathe them regularly since this is an effective way to kill mites. Every time you bathe your snake, make sure to clean their cage as well.

It is also advisable to take your pet into your veterinary regularly so they can see the present condition of your snake and to see if there are manifestations of pests. As the cliche states, prevention is better than cure, so make sure to do hygienic practices to keep your snake healthy.

Final Thoughts

No matter how you would take good care of your snakes, there will come a time that it will be infested with pests. Your duty as a breeder is to take precautionary actions on how you attend to their needs if in case they were infected. You shouldn’t ignore any signs of mite infestations because it can cause negative effects on your snake. There are a lot of ways to prevent it as long as you would devote your 100% attention to them. 

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