Could My 2 Year Old Have Too Much Ear Wax Dealing With Reptile Mites

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Dealing With Reptile Mites

Dealing with mites in a reptile collection can be a daunting and frustrating task, but don’t worry, we’ll explain that here.

So you’ve noticed mites in your habitat, terrarium or reptile – first you need to find out what kind of mite it is. There are thousands of mite species so it is almost impossible to pinpoint the exact mite you have a problem with, but we can group them into three basic categories of mites you are likely to experience in the habitat.

There are two types of mites that are most often encountered and strike fear into reptile keepers, but they are not as bad as you first think, these are mites that are contained in substrates and food. These mites are usually dull white and about the size of a dot like this. You will encounter these mites if you use wood or earth type substrate in a moist habitat, they don’t have to come from anywhere – they just seem to appear! They emerge because they have all the elements they need to survive. These are heat, moisture, food and somewhere to live (the wooden substrate). In small numbers they will not pose a problem, only in large uncontrolled numbers they would pose a risk for the reptile, lizard, snake or amphibian. These mites can easily be managed by cleaning the substrate regularly (replace eco-earth every month and wash or replace bark substrates). Doing this and removing uneaten food and cleaning up droppings daily will ensure that a mite population doesn’t spiral out of control. Another mite often encountered is the “grain” or “dust” mite, again these favor conditions as mentioned above and can be controlled in the same way, these are usually introduced when the reptile keeper tries to store or breed live foods at home, these mites love. eat bran and grains etc., they are then introduced into the habitat with the live foods.

Thirdly you can encounter, (but are less likely to do so) are the serious mites, these can cause problems and must be treated as soon as possible – these are the snake mites, reptile mites and ticks. Again hundreds of species but all have the same thing in common. They live on your reptile using it as a host usually feeding on its blood!

How to identify reptile / snake mites – These mites are usually red or brown or even reddish brown! in color, they can vary in size from a small dot to something like a very large flea, ticks are usually a bit larger. when crushed they will usually leave a red blood stain.

How do I know if my snake / lizard has mites – The first signs to look for are excessive shedding of the skin and dead mites in the water dish. Reptiles with mites will spend a lot of time lying in water to try to drown the mites because they will irritate them. If you suspect your lizard or snake has mites remove him from the habitat and bug him nearby, in a severe infestation you will notice mites crawling all over his body and even over your hands. In less severe infestations and in most snake mite situations you will notice mites under the scales, let your snake slide through your hands when it flexes the underside of its scales will be visible – don’t be surprised if you see mites hiding under the scales. scales which then disappear again completely from view under the scale. These scales will look slightly more raised than the others.

How I deal with reptile mites – You have to attack them fast and hard, you can’t do half measures. First of all remove the reptile and any tankmates from the habitat (if one reptile is affected you must assume that all reptiles in that habitat are also infected), remove all substrate, if you can remove all wooden furniture such as branches then do . so but if they were expensive or unique you will have to wash and scrub them then soak them in hot water. All water and food dishes should be removed, scrubbed and soaked in hot water. When soaking vivarium furniture, make sure they are fully submerged or else the mite will simply climb to the dry part to live for another day!. Ok so that’s the furniture taken care of now you have to tackle the habitat, if the habitat has any open joints then extra care needs to be taken as there will be mites hiding in the cracks. after the habitat is empty, give it a thorough wash with warm soapy water. If you can remove it from the house and give it a thorough spray of insecticide.

To treat the reptile against mites you will have to give it a spray with a mite killer, there are two types of mite spray available with an active ingredient and others without, those without contain naturally occurring substances and work by irritating or suffocating the. mites, those with active ingredients contain chemicals that will kill the mites. In our experience Beaphar insect spray is the most effective and after treating snakes with mites with this product the first treatment was extremely effective and only required secondary treatments in heavily infested wild captive animals and in mild cases as a precaution “belts and braces” . Always follow mite spray instructions carefully as some reptiles may not be able to be treated.

When we treat a reptile for mites we always wear gloves, spray the product on the reptile and work it into the reptiles skin to try to get it under all the scales, pay attention to the ears and nostrils because this is where mites like to hide – but always check the instructions first before applying any spray.

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