The most common external parasites found in snakes are the well-known snake mites (Ophionyssus Natricis). Almost every snake holder will face this problem over time.
Mites are recognizable as tiny, black dots, which are particularly active in the evening and at night and sometimes crawl around the snake occasionally, sometimes in large numbers. Young mites, in particular, are not easy to spot because they are smaller than older mites. When fully grown, these pests can grow to around 0.5 mm in size.
Snakes infested by mites become visibly nervous due to the itching caused and often try to actively get rid of this agony by z. B. spend hours in the water basin or scrub on furnishings. In the case of heavy infestation, the water is quickly littered with hundreds of dead mites, which lie as black dots on the bottom of the water basin. Mites in the water basin are usually the first visible sign of an infestation, even if the animals have been suffering from mite infestation for a long time.
Snake mites collect particularly often on the eyes, which can quickly lead to inflammation. The scales around the eyes swell, causing the whole eye to sink in.
The little parasites can be very persistent. There are a few things to keep in mind when combating: First of all, you should keep your hands off the “anti-mite preparations” that some pet stores sell quickly. These “plant-based” remedies are usually completely ineffective and you only lose time and money (example: “Repto-Mite”). If you ignore a mite infestation, you risk a contamination of its population within a few weeks, a weakening of the animal due to blood loss, refusal to feed due to the stress of permanent itching, colds from lying in the water for too long, poorly progressing molting and also the transmission of diseases through the Mites. The little parasites spread extremely quickly in the room.
You should never act according to the premise “A lot helps a lot” – many snakes have not died from the mite infestation, but from the treatment. For the beginner. Check our treatment guide for snake mites