Thread: mites question
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Old 07-07-03, 02:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec-2002
Posts: 719
Hey Remsin76,

I just had a conversation about this with someone else from here, She sent me this. I had seen it before but couldn't put my hands on it. However here you go, print it out and keep it handy..just in case..

Getting rid of mites:

How to know:
There are a couple ways to check and see if your snake has mites. It is best to do it before or as soon as you purchase it, so you can attack the problem if there is one before it can hurt your snake anymore. If you thought mites didn't really hurt snakes but were just a minor annoyance, you were very wrong. A mite infestation can stress a snake out so much that it will refuse to eat, mites can transmit blood diseases from snake to snakes, and mites can dehydrate the snake. If you catch it early, though, there will likely be no harm done and your snake will okay soon!
Anyway, how to diagnose the presence of mites. If the snake is spending any amount of time soaking in his water dish, then you know something is wrong, as carpets don't soak unless there is a problem. Remove the snake from the water and inspect it. See any little black specs? Probably mites! Another way is seeing them on your hands after you handle the snake. Don't worry, they can't live on people, but kill them with a fingernail as soon as you see one! The third way is when you go looking for mites, you may notice them burrowed under a chin scale or stomach scale. You can also take a piece of paper towel, wet it a little bit, and run it down the snake's back. If you see "walking pepper" or little black specs then your snake is unfortunately being a victim to dozens to hundreds to thousands of tiny parasites.

What to use?

Now that you know your snake has mites, you can go about treating him for it. There are a number of ways, such as little sticky pads that mites are attracted to. When they walk on it, they are stuck and die there. However the fumes can kill the snakes (so use only a little piece and remove it for a few hours daily), and don't kill the eggs.
The next is Provent-A-Mite or Black Knight. Both are pesticides and both claim to kill mites and eggs effectively and without harming the animal. However if you talk to people about it, many will say one is great and the other will kill the snake. Both can be effective, but use common sense as both can kill. Follow the directions to the letter, and if you have a young snake or a snake that is already sick, then for Pete's sake don't use either of those products! Both products cost between 30 and 50 dollars.
What I have found works best, quickest and cheapest is Nix. Perhaps you remember it from you or your child's youth when there was a lice outbreak at school? Well surely a product intended to be used on children's heads is pretty safe for a snake! Nix shampoo is sold at drug stores and goes for about 11 bucks. It kills mites and eggs.

Step one - Preparation:
I think it is best to use Nix only when it's diluted. I feel safer about using it that way, and it still effective. Anyway, mix a tablespoon or so in a couple cups of warm water, in a clean spray/mister bottle. Shake it up good so it's all mixed together.

Step two - Preparing the tank:
Chuck the substrate you're currently using. Rocks or pieces of wood can be boiled to kill any mites, but I like to boil them and spray them. Remove the water dish and wash it thoroughly in dish soap. Rinse it and let it dry. You don't want to get any Nix in the water so as not to poison the snake. You can spray down the snake with the Nix solution, but I like to take the snake out and do it with my hands so I get it everywhere except in his eyes.
Now you can spray down the tank. Don't be afraid to soak it completely! Spray every nook and cranny! Spray down rocks and wood and anything else in the tank too (lift them up so you can cover them completely with the Nix solution). Also spray the surrounding area.

Step three - The snake:
Now for the snake. If you sprayed him while he was in the tank, it's still a good idea to take him out and put Nix on him with your hands in case you missed a spot. If you didn't spray him in the tank, well then you really need to cover him with your hands. Hopefully your snake is tolerant of handling, and you can gently rub him down with your hands. Spray your hands generously with the Nix solution and rub down the snake, carefully putting some on all over his head with a finger. When you're done the snake should be sopping wet all over (except his eyes and in his mouth of course).

Step four - Putting it all back:
By the time you're finished soaking the snake, the tank and tank furniture should be relatively dry. Put new paper towel on the bottom of the tank, replace all the rocks and hide boxes etc and put the snake back. When everything is one hundred percent dry you can put the clean water dish filled with fresh water back in the tank.

Step five - Doing it all again!:
It's easy to miss a couple mites, and if you did then the infestation will just grow again. To prevent this, repeat the entire process in a week to ten days later. Then two weeks after that. You should have more than enough Nix to last that long. After doing it three times, you really should have killed at the mites and eggs and you're now happy and unstressed with a comfortable, healthy, mite-free snake!

Last edited by jwsporty; 07-07-03 at 02:55 AM..
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