Does your snake have mites?
Do you want to be prepared if your snake is ever infested with mites?
It’s critical to take care of this problem, but tricky.
We’re here to help with this guide on how to get rid of mites on snakes.
Snake mite removal requires special mite spray and thorough cleaning of your snake’s enclosure. Gather the supplies, clean the snake with the spray, clean the enclosure out completely, and replace everything. This may need to be repeated over time.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get rid of a mite infestation on your pet snake, the rest of this article has all the information you need.
Table of Contents
How Do Snakes Get Mites?
Snake mites are tiny parasitic insects which get their sustenance from the blood of living snakes, similar to headlice in humans, which feed on our blood.
They are specific only to snakes, and therefore will not infect you, your family, or other animals in your home, which are not snakes.
There are a few different ways your snake might have gotten mites.
Recently purchased snakes probably brought the mites from the pet store or breeder.
If you caught the snake from the wild, it’s effortless for snakes to collect mites from their outdoor environments.
Note: We don’t recommend catching wild snakes as pets.
Poor maintenance of the enclosure, mostly regarding routine cleaning and hygiene, is another common culprit which leads to mites.
If you have been good about keeping the enclosure clean, have you recently changed the substrate or purchased a new pack?
Sometimes mites are hidden in the substrate, which leads to a snake infestation.
If you have multiple snakes in different enclosures, it’s easy to transfer mites from one snake to another.
Always wash your hands before and after handling one snake, so you will be sure you’re not introducing mites into a new enclosure if the original one had an unnoticed infestation.
What Do Mites Look Like On Snakes?
Mites are tiny, usually the size of a small pinpoint.
If your snake has a mite infestation, you will notice small black or red dots moving around the body of your snake.
Generally, mites prefer to stay around the eyes, nostrils, and chin area of the snake.
These areas are thinner-skinned, making it easier for the mites to feed.
If you have difficulty visualizing these mites, one option is to place tape against your snake’s skin and then put the tape on white paper.
This will make it easier to see if there are any small dots you missed before.
You may also see the small black dots on your snake’s shed skin or crawling around on the enclosure’s glass.
Another easy way to identify them is by looking for evidence of mite feces.
This will appear as white flakes or specks on your snake, which will be much more visible on darker-colored snakes.
You’ll notice your snake will be spending more time in its water bowl than usual, which is its way of attempting to get rid of the mites itself.
This is another area where you should check for mites, as you will sometimes see the small black dots floating in the water.
Ensure these specks are not pieces of dirt before you start thinking you have a mite infestation on your hands.
You may also notice the mites after handling the snake, as they will sometimes come off in your hands.
But like I stated earlier, snake mites will not stick around on humans, so there’s no reason to be concerned about yourself if this happens.
You should, however, treat these quickly if you notice them on your snake.
Why Should You Treat Mites?
Mites can pose a substantial risk to your snake.
Although they are individually very tiny, they replicate very quickly, so a large number of mites may be preying on your snake at one time.
Constantly draining blood from your snake may leave it anemic and lethargic, and in more drastic situations, can kill your snake.
How To Treat Mites On Snakes
Treating a mite infestation is a tricky business, as they’re notoriously difficult to get rid of and multiply very quickly.
Gathering Your Supplies
First, you’ll need to gather your supplies together.
You’ll need some tub where you will place your snake for the treatment.
You’ll also need mite spray to use on both your snake and to treat the enclosure.
There are a few options for purchase on Amazon.
One is Reptile Spray by Natural Chemistry, which is rated well by users.
- Kills mites, fleas, ticks & lice instantly on contact without harming the reptile
- Apply directly on pet, no need to remove water or feed dispensers from habitat
- Uses no poisons or other toxins, never loses effectiveness
Though a bit more expensive, Provent-a-mite is a heavily researched product trusted by experts and rated highly.
Our last recommendation is Jurassipet JurassiMite, which is an all-natural and nontoxic product.
All three of these products are suitable for the treatment of both the snake and the habitat.
Cleaning Your Snake
These products will have slightly different instructions, so it’s essential to read these before you begin the process.
Generally, your snake will need to be placed inside the plastic tub and sprayed down with the spray a couple of times before being rinsed off.
Cleaning The Enclosure
You then have to address the enclosure itself.
Mites and their eggs can live in your snake’s habitat, and if you don’t get rid of them, they’ll reinfest your snake.
You must remove all items from your snake’s enclosure, including hide boxes and water bowls, and submerge them in a water and bleach solution.
Soak these items for about 20 minutes.
Then remove and discard all substrate and bedding from the enclosure.
Use water, detergent, and some bleach to spray down all surfaces of the enclosure and give all the surfaces a good scrubbing.
You should rinse everything out with water if you suspect any leftover residue and use a glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol to wipe everything down.
Don’t forget to clean the lid as well.
Give it some time for any leftover fumes to disappear before you replace the bedding.
By now, your decorations and accessories are likely ready to be rinsed off.
Make sure you remove all traces of bleach from these objects and let them dry off completely.
After this, place everything back inside except for the water bowl.
Instead of using a substrate, it may be easier to use paper towels or other easy options so you will be able to clean the enclosure again later easily.
You then spray everything inside the enclosure with the mite spray, paying close attention to the label’s instructions.
It’s essential to keep the water bowl outside at this time, as mite spray is harmful to your snake if ingested or inhaled.
Allow the enclosure to air out for fifteen to twenty minutes.
After all of this is complete, place the water bowl back inside.
Place Your Snake Back
Now your snake is ready to return to its home!
Depending on the mite spray you purchased, you will likely need to re-treat your animal a couple more times.
The amount of time between treatments and the number of times will vary based on the product, so pay attention to the label to ensure you give your snake adequate treatment.
It’s critical to know how to get rid of mites on snakes.
Dealing with mites is often a very frustrating and stressful process, as it generally takes a few weeks to get the job done entirely.
However, with the right planning and knowledge, your snake will be on its way to a mite-free life.