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Old 11-27-17, 12:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Tiny black bugs?

So i pulled out sapphire's water dish to give her fresh water just now, as I thought she had defecated in it but, when I looked at it I discovered it was tiny black bugs they almost looked like itty bitty sticks or dirt I have never seen them before or anything that looks like them. I am going to clean her terrarium out tomorrow but I was wondering if anyone might know what they could be or if I should be worried about them. I didn't take her out to see if they were affecting her and will check her out when I change her bedding tomorrow so if I see something I will add more info about that. It just has me a little worried. Any help I can get will be greatly appreciated thank you so much.
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Old 11-27-17, 01:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

A billion different things from just black bug description lol The big worry is snake mites. All other pests don't have much direct impact on the animal but they may or may not point to a potential problem with the environment depending on details. Bioactive tanks that use collected outdoor materials run into the most variety of critters for all sorts of reasons that can range from you accidentally got something unwanted in that latest stick to conditions being off to just oops the bugs and soil dwellers themselves aren't balanced and more irritating ones impossible to fully avoid instead of more controlled, useful ones are using the snake poop or organic materials to multiply.
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Old 11-27-17, 08:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

Could be snake mites or bedding mites. Snake mites burrow under the scales and suck blood from your snake like tiny ticks. Bedding mites are annoying but otherwise harmless.

Does your snake spend a lot of time soaking in her water dish or rubbing against cage furnishings? If so, she could be itchy from bites and trying to drown or scrape off the snake mites. Finding lots of the little boogers in the water dish makes me suspect that's the case.

Bedding mites are *usually* red and spend most of their time off the snake. You might see one scramble over the snake but then they're off and running.

Snake mites will mostly stay put and you'll often find them around your snake's eyes, vent or underneath scales. They look like little poppy seeds. They are commonly but not always black.
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Old 12-03-17, 03:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

There were no mites on my snake so I'm guessing they were bedding mites thank goodness!!! I was really worried. All clean and gone...I hope. Thank you for your replys
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Old 12-03-17, 04:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

Lots of generally harmless mites and small bugs will take advantage of any natural materials that aren't fully changed frequently. All sorts of soil mites and slightly larger things exist that will find plant matter like coco fiber, soil, sand, or wood products useful. They can be a common pest from cheap shavings with small mammals because their skin is more easily irritated causing scratching that causes wounds and leads to infection. Better heat treating and packaging has greatly cut down on those incidences and it's less issue with reptiles. They are still annoying things if they multiply too much.
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Old 12-04-17, 12:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

Sadly, they are snake mites until proven otherwise.
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Old 12-04-17, 04:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

I treat all my snakes for ectoparasites once they get in or when I see something that looks like a snake mite.

How long have you had your snake? Not that long if I remember correctly. You could consider a treatment. Snakes come from breeders or expositions with mites all the time.

Don't panic about it, it happens all the time, and many people seem to horror from mites but it's really no big deal. Snakes infested with mites may be more agitated and have shedding issues as a result. I can only imagine it's a real big hazard if you keep venomous species. It's quite easy to treat. I currently have 2 snakes with mites because they are WC imports, they are under treatment with frontline.
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Old 12-06-17, 02:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

So even tho I doubt see any on her I should still treat her? She hasn't been soaking in her water.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

You only have 1 snake/reptile is it not? Then I would just confirm if you actually in fact have mites.
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Old 12-06-17, 10:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

So take her to a vet? My daughter and i looked her over really good and didn't see any type of little poppy seed looking spots black or otherwise. Yes TRD only one snake/reptile and I've only had her for 2 months.
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Old 12-06-17, 10:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

I would recommend a complete clean of your cage. F10 Veterinary disinfectant can be used to kill any insects on your snake. This is available on amazon. Use only a 10% solution (mix one part disinfectant to ten parts water). This can be expensive, but it will last you forever. Put the snake in a container of the mixture, while making sure the snake's snout does not go underwater. Use only sterile paper towel as substate and use a 10% bleach solution to clean all the décor in your snakes enclosure. Deflea (also available on amazon), should be sprayed on the paper towels prior to putting them in. Do this for a minimum of 30 days to ensure all mites, or insects are dead. Then, you can go back to what you had before.

This is just to be on the safe side, if you do this properly a vet trip is not necessary. They can also be quite expensive.
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Old 12-06-17, 03:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

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Originally Posted by Shauna0522 View Post
So take her to a vet? My daughter and i looked her over really good and didn't see any type of little poppy seed looking spots black or otherwise. Yes TRD only one snake/reptile and I've only had her for 2 months.
I wouldn't worry then, snake mites can easily be found on the head parts (around eyes, nostrils) or the vent. They can walk over the snake, or hide under the scales. I'm not sure what you have seen, maybe not snake mites. In 2 months time, you'd definitely see mites now if the snake had them when he came in... they multiply every 28 days or so (depending on some factors).

I treat my snakes with Frontline Spray (yes the stuff for cats & dogs) if I have to, works wonders, and far less hassle then other treatments. Just spray on a paper towel, and rub a thin layer over the snake's whole body, use caution around eyes/mouth, of course. Use a smaller item, like an ear swap if you have to reach some tricky parts with smaller snakes. Never spray directly on the animal. Let it dry (takes about 4-5 minutes, you can smell when it's dry as the smell goes away) and put the snake back. Remove water for 24 hours as mite infested snakes like to soak. After that the stuff remains active for 60-90 days or until a shed, and is water proof. Enough to break the mite cycle, and no danger to the snake (fipronil, the active ingredient, won't go through the skin in high enough amounts to pose any danger). You could spray around the terrarium if you're afraid any mite may go wonder to other reptiles.

So far I have never had to repeat the treatment, and no ill effects noticed on any snake.
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Old 12-06-17, 06:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

I agree with TRD. If you haven't seen the mites on your snake at this point, they likely weren't snake mites and are likely just insects living in your naturalistic vivarium. I would just keep a close eye on the snake and look over it whenever you handle is to make sure none show up for now. I've freaked myself out thinking that a harmless insect was a mite too many times to count!

If you're really worried, I would get a small spray bottle of Natural Chemistry Reptile Relief. It's really cheap and I've found it to be really helpful in dealing with a mite problem. I always keep a bottle of it handy.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:43 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Tiny black bugs?

Ok thank you for you replies.
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