How To Check Ball Python For Mites

Mites are little black parasitic insects that feed on reptiles’ blood. Handwashing before and after handling, as well as sanitizing any secondhand goods with bleach, are the best ways to avoid mites. 

If you believe your ball python has them, be ready to roll up your sleeves because you are in for a lengthy fight until you get rid of them. Read on in this article to know how to check ball python for mites.

Cute Reptiles as Pets x
Cute Reptiles as Pets

How To Check Ball Python For Mites

How To Check Ball Python For Mites

Mites will suck the blood out of your ball python until it bleeds out. You can spot them when you see small black or red moving dots on the skin of your ball python.

Additionally, they can spread so easily and quickly which makes the removal difficult. 

If left untreated, your ball python can become depressed, experience extreme pain and discomfort, and even contract deadly diseases.

However, fret not because it can still be done! You may use carbaryl powder or Ivermectin and permethrin for treatment. 

What Do Mites Look Like?

What Do Mites Look Like?

One of the most alarming aspects of mites is their ability to grow swiftly and spread to other reptiles. One female can already give birth to thousands. 

You must fix this condition as soon as possible to avoid death, as the mites will continue to drain the blood of your ball python until there is nothing left to drain but the poisoned blood.

Anemia or septicemia, or blood poisoning, are the most common causes of mortality.

Reptile mites (Ophionyssus natricis) are tiny arthropods having four pairs of legs, two body sections, sucking mouthparts, and no antennae as adults.

They resemble small black, red, or grey beetles and are visible to the naked eye. 

The greatest spot to look for them is in your pet’s thin-skinned parts, such as its eyes and ears. After touching your pet, you can find them on your hands and also in the water dish in their tank.

The life cycle of a mite is divided into four stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. When circumstances are right, the life cycle might take one to four weeks, resulting in large numbers of mites.

Mites are tough to eradicate and can spread disease to your pet, posing a major health concern.

By puncturing the skin, these mites feed themselves with the ball python’s blood, causing weakness, general poor health, discomfort, and aggravation.

Mites are also capable of transmitting inclusion body disease (IBD)

This can lead to pneumonia, leukemia, stomatitis and even damages to the central nervous system.

Any of these IBD problems can be deadly if left untreated, so if you feel your ball python has mites, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms Of Mites on Ball Python

Symptoms Of Mites on Ball Python

You may see mites or notice your ball python acting strangely like one of the first symptoms that it has mites. The following are the most prevalent symptoms:

  • Irritation and agitation
  • Excessive soaking in water
  • Head twitching
  • Digging
  • Small black or red moving spots on the skin around the eyes, nose, mouth, or beneath the chin
  • Head swaying
  • Black or crimson specks floating in the water.
  • Hands covered with specks after handling your ball python or anything else in the cage
  • Eye swelling is a condition in which the eyes become swollen.
  • Scales that are irregular or raised
  • Appetite lessness
  • Inadequate or unable to shed

Bring your ball python to the veterinarian in a glass enclosure so that the doctor may see how your pet acts before being touched and look for any abnormalities.

Get a sample of mites from the water dish of your pet and bring it to the vet.

The doctor will be monitoring the way your ball python moves as you are telling him or her about your pet’s history and symptoms.

Lesions, erythema, scales, skin anomalies and wounds, parasites will be checked for during the checkup.

In this scenario, your veterinarian will examine the area for mites or other pests that might be causing the symptoms you’ve noticed.

What Causes Mites on Your Ball Python?

What Causes Mites on Your Ball Python?

Mites are tiny, eight-legged creatures that can infest your ball python. While they may not cause any serious harm to your pet, they can be irritating and unsightly.

So, what causes mites on your ball python and how can you get rid of them? Get yourself familiarized with the causes: lack of hygiene, contamination by an infected ball python or from their substrate,…

A Lack of Hygiene

If you do not clean your ball python’s enclosure regularly, mites may take up home in it.

And if you have numerous ball pythons, one of them may have mites in one of their enclosures, which you may easily spread to another by not washing your hands.

Thus, it is also crucial to wash your hands before and after touching each ball python.

Contamination by an Infected Ball Python or Snake

If you recently purchased a new snake, it is possible that it came with mites. Your pet can also acquire mites by allowing them to breed or come into contact with an already-infected snake.

Other reptiles like turtles, lizards, and iguanas may carry the same type of mites. 

Contamination by an infected ball python is especially likely if you get your new pet from a zoo or animal reserve where there are many different species together in close quarters or if the previous owner did not practice proper quarantine procedures before selling it to you.

Being Captured in the Wild

When wild-caught ball python are brought into captivity, they might carry mites with them.

To prevent this from becoming a greater problem, every new ball python you bring into the house should be kept in a separate cage for a few weeks to ensure that it does not spread mites to your existing ball python.

From Their Substrate

Mites can sometimes be found in the substrate you are utilizing. If you have changed the substrate in your pet’s enclosure to anything new, you may have introduced mites from the new substrate.

It is vital to be sure you understand not just where your substrate comes from, but also what is in it.

Can Mites Kill A Ball Python?

It’s plausible that mites will end up causing that much loss of blood and stress for a ball python to die.

However, this would normally need a serious infestation as well as a period in which you did nothing to treat the mites.

How To Treat Mites On A Ball Python

To treat mites on your pet, you will also need to treat its surroundings. This includes its cage and everything inside such as a water dish etc.

In case your pet has gone to other places, you will have to treat those areas where it went as well.

Treat On Your Ball Python

If you’re a ball python owner, then you know that treating your pet can be both a challenging and rewarding experience.

There are so many different ways to choose from, it can be difficult to know what’s best for your ball python. 

However, the most important objective is to get rid of the pain and discomfort your pet is experiencing to keep them healthy and happy. Here are ways to treat your ball python:

Bath with Betadine

Dilute the betadine with warm water. Wait until the color turns to tea or cola. If your pet likes to climb, use a container with air holes in the lid.

Allow the ball python to soak for approximately an hour before removing it and applying mineral oil to the heat pits and eyes. Check all of the scales and vent folds for any remaining mites.

Also read: Do Ball Pythons Like Water? You Didn’t Know This

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Ivermectin or pyrethroid insecticides like permethrin, metofluthrin, and tetramethrin are some of the additional pesticides that veterinarians may employ.

Pyrethroid-based sprays are the most efficient approach to get rid of mites, but due to their toxicity, they should only be used by a veterinary practitioner.

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Carbaryl powder is another excellent mite treatment that your veterinarian can use on your ball python. The best way to achieve this is to place your pet in a jar with a layer of powder.

This is to be done for several hours. You can be assured that yours is being cleaned and in a safe location while its enclosure is being disinfected.

Clean Ball Python Enclosure

Empty your pet’s cage. Fill it with water with drops of dishwashing soap. The mites will be removed from the enclosure and will sink and drown as a result of this.

Use 3 percent bleach and hot water (above 122F). 

Add two teaspoons of bleach to one quart of water to produce a 3 percent bleach solution. The entire enclosure should then be scrubbed with this solution.

The lid is included with this. Dry the cage by using newspaper or paper towels. Clean all the accessories inside with a bleach cleaner solution then let it dry.

Make sure that the enclosure is being cleaned regularly.

Clean Places Where Your Ball Python Has Been

Sanitize and scrub the surroundings with the beach cleaner solution. You can use paper towels or air dry the area. You can also make use of the same cleaning bleach solution mentioned above.

How To Prevent Mites In The Future

A few preventative actions are the best way to keep mites off your ball python. A new ball python should be put in isolation for two up to three months before its release.

This should ideally be maintained in a different room from the rest of your reptiles. If it is not practicable, they should be placed in a different enclosure at the very least.

Always assume that the place where you acquired the new has mites, no matter how trustworthy you believe they are. It is better to be safe than sorry and avoid having to cope with the annoyance of a mite infestation.

Ball Python Mites FAQs

How do you identify ball python mites?

They resemble small black, red, or grey beetles and are visible to the naked eye. The greatest spot to look for them is in your ball python’s thin-skinned parts, such as its eyes and ears.

How do you get rid of mites on a ball python?

Aside from treating your pet, you will also have to treat its surrounding areas. This covers the enclosure and its accessories, and the surrounding area. You will also need to treat every location where it has been.

What temp kills reptile mites?

The temperature inside will approach or exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit (64 degrees Celsius), killing the mites.

Also read: Ball Python Tank Temperature: What temp should my ball python tank be?

In Short

You should do everything you can to keep mites out of your ball python.

However, do not freak out, and start by devising a realistic plan of action that will help you eliminate the bugs and restore the health of your pet. 

While dealing with the problem, keep your veterinarian informed, and do not be hesitant to seek out other keepers who have dealt with these sneaky pests in the past.