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Q: Mites on my Ball Python?
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So today I was holding my Ball Python and I see these little itty bitty bugs. All I could think was "OMG MITES!!!!" Unfortunately it is fourth of July weekend so I don't think the pet store will be open to get anything to get rid of the mites. So far I have given him a soaking for about 10 minutes with one drop of dawn in the water (I heard that it helps draw away any air pockets and suff. the mites faster). I also changed his bedding and scrubbed down his tank and everything in it with a diluted bleach mix.

Can anyone give me any helpful advice on somethings I can do until Monday? Also how would my Ball have gotten mites? The only thing I can think of is he brought them from the pet store, but I didn't see them until today. I'm just afraid of them spreading to my Corns.

Points: 150
Topics: Parasites
Tags: Ballpython, Mites, Parasites
Species: Pythons > Pythons > Python regius
Administrative: Show/Hide

Member Comment 7/3/2010 6:05:52 PM

Billy Warren
well u d ont need any special stuff from the reptile store. i know petco and petsmart is open and just go get a bottle of frontline plus....yes i know its for dogs and cats but thats all i use and all my buddies use. its not going to harm them. just wear gloves, spray it on a paper towel and wipe them down fully. also wipe down the full encloser. and soak them afterwards. as for your corns wash and scrub your hands thouroly b4 u handle them and check them. also probebly move them in to a different room from your ball python.

Member Comment 7/3/2010 7:43:03 PM

Hotshot NO Pest strip works great...put a little bit in a plastic dish with holes poked in the lid...about 2x2 inch..in the tank will kill all bugs in about two hours...with out hurting your snake....I use this after  I have cleaned everything down with the bleach mix. you can find i No Pest strips at walgreens or walmart ect..
Author Comment 7/3/2010 7:57:11 PM

       I wasn't waiting for a specialty store to open. I just wasn't sure if petco or petsmart would be open on the 4th of july. I live 30-45 minutes away from the nearest pet store. >.< It's just convenient that it's near the zoo where i'm interning right now.
Member Comment 7/3/2010 9:52:12 PM

I just went through this same thing. Here's what I did: Separate snake from enclosure! Put snake in Tupperware lined with paper towels. Go to Walmart...get mineral oil, Equate (or Rid) lice bedding spray, betadine solution. Once home, get a bath going at 85 degrees. Mix enough betadine to look like mild tea. Give your snake a bath for 15-20min. Try to get his head underwater a little. Mites will drown. Take snake out, dry off, check eyes and under neck for mites. Use tip w/ mineral oil to remove visible mites. Do this for next couple of days. Keep away from All other snakes!! If glass enclosure, submerge fully in water, use soap/water to clean. Spray lice bedding spray on all fixtures "except water dish". Let pieces dry completely!!! It is toxic stuff but ok for snake once dry. Wood pieces can go in oven for 2hrs at 300. Only use paper towels in All of your enclosures until you're sure the mite prob is resolved (it makes it much easier to see them). Last word,the spray will continue to kill the mites for up to a month. Spray around/outside the enclosure. Mites can travel up to 50' looking for another host. Humans and other animals cannot be harmed. No worries other than other snakes. DO NOT LINK SNAKE AND CAGE TOGETHER AGAIN UNTIL YOU GET A COUPLE DAYS WHERE BOTH APPEAR MITE FREE. keep the snake and enclosure quarantined far away from other snakes. Some say you should just assume the rest of your snakes are affected as well and treat accordingly. Up to you. It's a real pain. Good luck!
Member Comment 7/3/2010 10:27:29 PM

Just wanted to add...avoid spraying the lice spray on glass or plexiglass. Not sure why...other sites just say don't do it. Mites love the snake's eye and neck area. A q tip dipped in mineral oil (found in pharmacy area) works great to remove the mites. This is not harmful to the snake. Just be gentle. I have a wooden enclosure so I was able to spray the inside/outside. Check on your little buddy a few times a day...especially around the eye area.
Member Comment 7/3/2010 10:52:26 PM

Also you can spray a small amount of the lice stuff onto a towel and wipe all but the snakes head to kill any mites hiding in crevices.
Member Comment 7/4/2010 6:37:28 AM

NO!!! this stuff is highly neuro toxic. They have mite sprays designed to be applied to the snake directly. Not sure how well they work. Just focus on bathing the snake.
Accepted Answer 7/4/2010 11:18:27 AM

I guess everyone has their own recipe.  Petco is open on 4th of July but not sure they have the best stuff for mite removal.  There are a lot of products that just don't work.

Take snake and soak him in a warm water and veggie oil mix (go light on the veggie oil...enough so you can see it on the top of the water...you can vigorously mix it) I soak for several hours.  Make it deep enough to submerge him but not so deep he can't get his head out of the water or will get tired swimming (no drowning of snakes!)

Take his cage/enclosure outside.  Since you don't have provent-a-mite or any sort of mite solution, you can use a 10% bleach solution (Thank you Abi).   Clean it thorougly especially in any nooks and crannies and high since the mites tend to lay eggs higher in the enclosure.   Water dishes, hides need to get the same treatment and I generally soak them/submerge them for good measure.  If you have any wood items.  Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. (it won't set the house on fire I promise)

Rinse the enclosure, wipe it down then let it sit in the sun til you are ready to use it.  The sun especially if hot is EXCELLANT for killing any thing that missed your cleaning.

Once you have completed those steps,  you are ready to line the tank.  I use paper towels when I'm working with mite issues so I can readily see them clear.  Sometimes you'll see 'bodies' on the papertowel for a few days.  They should be dead bodies though.   

My friend Abi has also suggested once finished soaking the snake,  to coat it fully with vegetable oil then dry off the snake with a paper towel.   (I use veggie oil because it is bio safe...do NOT use any sort of vaseline containing product as it will not allow the tissue to breath).      He will be shiny, and handsome as all get out... why don't we grease our snakes more?

Return snake to enclosure.  Check every three days for 13 to 20 days for mites,  if there are any present repeat this process.    Remember to isolate this guy if you have others in your collection and wash your mitts! ;)

Member Comment 7/4/2010 12:55:35 PM

The lice spray has the exact same active ingredient as prevent-a-mite (which usually can only be ordered on line) and costs less than half the price. I strongly recommend the bleach wipe down but it will not kill everything and lacks "staying power" which the lice spray provides. Mites that have left the enclosure will likely come back and join their "host" again..ie your snake. The oil works well. Just take it easy as it can cause shedding problems if you go too heavy. I don't believe in bathing the snake in pure olive oil as some bloggers state. Bath water with betadine seems best and provides an antiseptic to help the little guy feel better.
Member Comment 7/4/2010 1:15:42 PM

Just FYI, I have used this method with every snake I own and have never had one problem. I was not suggesting to get a towel damp and rub it all over the snake. I said spray a little in a towel and wipe every where BUT the head. Do the mineral oil trick for the heads especially around the eyes where they like to hide.
Member Comment 7/4/2010 2:15:50 PM

Wasn't referring to your post. But I've seen others outside of iherp that state you should bathe the snake in pure olive. I didn't want her to take that route. Your post was helpful.
Member Comment 7/6/2010 5:25:22 PM

All good answers - I just wanted to add that, when using the lice spray or Provent-a-Mite, you don't need to do anything else. I usually put the snake in a plastic tub that has been treated with spray and leave them while treating the cage.

The one reason I always recommend a first time user gets Provent-a-Mite (PAM) instead of the lice spray is because of the instructions on the can. Since it is a poison, you want to make sure you are using it correctly. Once you've done a treatment, using the lice spray in it's place is just fine.  For the record, always remove the water ( I usually leave it out for at least a day), clean the cage and spray well with the lice spray/PAM. Let it dry completely and make sure to leave the snake in the treated cage for at least 45 days. I usually remove any substrate and line the cage with newspaper I've sprayed with PAM. Let the paper dry, keep it in a cool, dark place and then just replace soiled paper during the treatment time. Doing this, I've NEVER had a mite live past 30 days ( I still treat for 45 just in case).

You are going to need to treat all your snakes, too. Unless you've had the ball python quarantined completely away from them (and even then, they travel pretty well) not treating your whole collection will only result in your still having mites. 

A good habit to get into is to treat any new snake while in quarantine. Even if they don't have mites, you can never be too sure and it is much easier to treat BEFORE it becomes a problem than after.
Member Comment 5/17/2013 11:54:36 AM


I also need help.  I'm going to try these suggestions, but I'm dealing with a 9 foot albino burmese python.  Baby has a terrible case of mites, and I've tried the reptile spray, but also, she is in a huge wooden home made tank.  Can I use bleach on the wood walls?  I feel like it would soak it and be dangerous... what is the best way to treat wood walls?

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