Snake mites are an irritating external parasite that affects snakes of course and they wedge themselves in between their scales and suck the snake’s blood.
The good news is that snake mites are easy to treat but if left untreated the snake will die from the mites and how bad they can get. Snake mites can also act as a vector and they can transfer diseases from a sick snake to a healthy one so you want to treat your snake mites as soon as you see even just one on your snake so today.
How To Treat Snake Mites
How we would recommend that you treat them at home. There are several over-the-counter and home remedies people will use to treat for snake mites one of which most common includes giving snakes baths and using dawn dish soap.
The theory is that the bath or the water will drown the snake mites and the dawn dish soap will help it slide out from the scales.
Another remedy people will use is olive oil this is used without a bath and people will kind of spread some olive oil on the scales of the snake with the same understanding or same thought that the mites won’t be able to stick and they’ll slide right out.
The third technique that people will use includes over-the-counter spray treatments reptile relief is one of them.
There are all sorts of different types of brands I’ve actually heard good things about reptile relief but I’m going to keep on going another product that people will use is Prevent-A-Mite.
This is not to be used on the snake itself or directly on the snake but instead, it kills snake mites in the enclosure substrate and on the decor.
We actually use a very similar product to prevent from mites inside of the enclosure again not on the snake itself but the same thing essentially is Red Bedbug and Lice spray it’s the same percentage of each same ingredient and it’s about a quarter of the price as Prevent-A-Mite itself but again we don’t use this on the actual snake if we’re treating preventively instead.
Treating Snake Mites
For treating for a snake that has mites what we found that works best is diluted ivermectin.
Ivermectin is a parasiticide, which means it is a medicine that kills parasites that’s usually used in cows and other livestock for farm use most of the time but it works great for snakes. However, it’s very concentrated in the bottle it comes in you have to make sure you dilute it quite a bit and there’s a couple of other things you do with it too in order to use it properly. That’s what we’re going to explain.
How To Use Ivermectin
To use ivermectin correctly what we do is we take a 32-ounce standard spray bottle.
Next, add 6 drops of dawn dish soap.
This does help the mite slide out of the scales but you can’t just use dawn in our opinion and along with the dawn, you add your ivermectin into the spray bottle.
Now how much of ivermectin you’ll need will vary based on the concentration of the ivermectin in the overall solution. This ivermectin from the Durvet brand is actually what we currently use and this is 0.5% ivermectin inside. For that ratio, you need 8 teaspoons of the solution inside of the spray bottle. However, there’s a second company that makes ivermectin there’s probably more to it just to that we’re aware of the second one is from Muriel and this is twice as concentrated as the Durvet.
This one, therefore, needs only four teaspoons of the solution inside of the spray bottle because. Murial is a full 1% ivermectin as opposed to just half a percent ivermectin. Basically, just keep a close eye on the percentage and the concentration of the medicine you’re using before you dose it to make sure you’re using the right amount.
Putting It Together
First, add our six drops of dawn dish soap you can kind of since it comes out of more of a stream estimate around what six drops would be it’s not exact. If you get a little extra in there it’s not gonna kill your snake.
Next, we add ivermectin. We will need 8 teaspoons of because it’s a half-a-percentage solution with ivermectin so you can either measure out eight teaspoons and add them one at a time into the bottle or this particular brand from Durvet comes with a little measuring cup thing really cool little gadget basically you screw it on and eight teaspoons equates to thirty-eight milliliters then you have the perfect amount. Pour it into the spray bottle.
The last ingredient you need is actually just to top off the rest with water.
Now knowing how to make this formula is just as important as knowing how to properly use it because if you don’t use it properly you can possibly kill your snake first you should only use this on snakes that are at least 200 grams anything smaller than that and it’s just too harsh for their little bodies.
How To Apply The Solution You Have Created
How you can use this for snakes that are little it’s just a little bit different of a technique for snakes like this ball python that is well over 200 grams that should be if used correctly perfectly fine for them. The way you have to use it is to spray it lightly on the snakes body itself avoid the head just spread from the neck and back and then take your hands and lightly massage it into the scales of the snake you don’t want to soak them in this solution instead you just want a light misting over their bodies and then that light massaging afterward.
Second, you have to treat their enclosure to switch their substrate from whatever you’re currently using to just paper towels then take the treatment and lightly spray the paper towels so that they are damp and you can treat the hides and any fake foliage you have and the size of the enclosure too, however, you do not want to have a water dish in at this point take the water out.
Finally you can add your sink back into the enclosure and on day three after the treatment you can add the water dish back in the enclosure and on day seven we recommend repeating the entire process so change out those paper towels clean the enclosure take out the water treat the snake treat the enclosure with fresh paper towels and put them back in and then the next three days after put their water back in.
Throughout this entire two-week treatment period you want to make sure those paper towels stay damp with the ivermectin solution but you’re only going to be treating the snake and massaging the medicine into its scale slightly only two times total you’re going to do it on day one and then again on day eight the reason why you do multiple treatments of ivermectin is because as great as it is it does not kill snake mite eggs so you treat the snakes initially and it takes care of anything that has currently hatched on their bodies but then you have to treat them again a week later to kill all of the new mites that have since hatched within those past seven days.
If your snake just shed its skin like within 24 hours then do not use this treatment as their skin is a little more sensitive at this time and you don’t want to overdo it or push them too far just wait till the next day to do the treatment however after your two to three consecutive treatments you should not have any problem whatsoever left behind by those snake mites they should all be taken care of.
It’s good to treat not only the snake and its enclosure but also any other supplies that come into contact or have recently come into contact with the snake just to be safe and that includes the area surrounding the enclosure.
For wooden enclosures is that mites will sneak their way into the fibers of the wood and therefore it’s a lot harder to treat enclosures that are made of wood then enclosures made of plastic.
For the treatment process it might not be a bad idea to move your snake into a plastic container so that you can better treat them or just treat them more thoroughly you’ll also want to make sure you treat not only the snake you saw mites on but also really all of your other snake in the at least in the same room that the infected snake was kept in because mites travel and they travel further than you would expect that’s why it’s so important to quarantine snakes before you introduce them into the rest of your collection because they may be harboring mites or even mite eggs on their body that you then will introduce to everybody else in your collection and you don’t want to have to treat an entire collection of snakes so if you have a snake that you just recently got and you have other sneaks at home make sure you keep them in a different room entirely than your original snakes.
I do recommend treating them preventively with the mite treatment even if you don’t see any mites on their bodies.
Now going back to smaller snakes since they are more sensitive to this treatment because it’s a pretty potent treatment that’s why it works so well but it can be detrimental to baby snakes.
We recommend using some of the other methods to treat them instead of this ivermectin if they’re close to the 200-gram mark then you can treat just the paper towels and keep them damp during the treatment process but skip treating and massaging the medicine into the snake itself because I think that’s what goes past the line of what they’re able to withstand and it’s just too much so if you want you can just treat the bedding or you can try it one of the other methods that we mentioned at the beginning of this article I hope that you never have to encounter snake mites again but if you’re dealing with them right now or if you want to plan for the future because you never know when you’re holding someone else’s snake that has mites on it and they travel on your clothes and then onto your snake at home things just happen sometimes.
If you do run across snake mites and you have to treat them I hope this article helped you out.