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Last updated : 01/04/2007

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The War Against Snake Mites

Somehow, my Burmese Python collection got an infestation of mites. This is something that can happen to any keeper and  is one reason why one should be careful when introducing new reptiles to a  collection, by keeping them separately until you are sure they are free from any infectious deceases or pests.

However the positive side is that it gave us the opportunity to learn a few tricks on how to deal with the infestation effectively.

Firstly I noticed that the white floor substrate I was using acted as a mite trap, in that the mites were trapped within the material's fibers and it was cheap enough to remove and replace with new material. (This flooring substrate has been further developed so as to provide a more effective substrate suitable for the keeping of snakes. Link). The first evidence of mites on the snakes was noted on albino Burmese Python where the tiny little black dots were noted under the scales of the snakes, and was easy to see due to the contrasting colours of the mites and the snake. 

As this collection is housed in a partitioned off section of a room, the floor has a fitted carpet and skirting boards etc, which provides the mites with lots of breeding spots, which has made it more difficult to eradicate the mites..

Following on a consultation with our local Vet we purchased some Ivermec. This was diluted in the ratio 1:100 and used to spray the snakes, the infected areas and in all the cracks and crevasses, as these Burms were housed in a partitioned off area of a room which had a fitted carpet, skirting boards and all the other places for mites to hide.

" Ivermec " is a form of ivermectin that is commercially available, however, it can only be obtained through a vet. It was originally formulated for use on horses, but it can be used to control or wipe out mites on snakes. Ivermec can be administered orally or injected, and is a very powerful drug when injected, so the recommended dosages are very small. For a spray, the Ivermec is diluted in water to make a 2 % solution (e.g. in 100 ml of this solution, there is 2 ml of Ivermec and 98 ml of water).

This seemed to work well. I have subsequently added Frontline to the attack, but rotate the two medications so that the mites do not build up a resistance to either medication. I have also noted that mites have an extremely short life cycle so one needs to sustain the program to catch newly hatched mites. 

We do not recommend the use of Vapona.

Further reading on the Subject 


ARK REPTILE GROUP 

SNAKE MITES
The Life Cycle of the Snake Mite,
Identification and Methods of Treatment 

The main part of this article was written by Chris Jordan, 2001 as part of an assignment for a Foundation Course in Herpetology.  

- Link to this article at ARK REPTILE GROUP 


VeterinaryPartner.com

REPTILE BASICS By Melissa Kaplan
Killing Reptile Mites


vpi.com

The War Against Snake Mites


Animal Allsorts The Reptile House

FURTHER NOTES ON MITE ERADICATION

 

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Last update : 01/04/2007