How to Get Rid of Mites on Snakes

Mites are parasitic insects that transmit diseases that can attack reptiles [source: Kaplan]. Mites can be very difficult to get rid of on snakes, but here's what you can do to help your scaly friend.

  1. See a veterinarian Take your snake to a veterinarian who treats reptiles as soon as you notice it has mites. The vet can prescribe medication for your snake that will kill the mites without harming your pet [source: Wissman].
  2. Clean your snake Soak your snake in a solution of warm water and povidone-iodine (PVPI), a topical antiseptic. There should be enough povidone-iodine in the water so the mixture is light brown, like tea. If the snake defecates in the povidone-iodine solution, empty the bath and start over. Pour some of the water over your snake's head if it won't submerge itself in the water. You might want to bathe your snake in clean, plain water first so it can drink and defecate [source: Kaplan]. Afterward, spray your buddy with a reptile-safe mite spray, which are available at pet stores. Gently wipe the spray around the eyes and avoid getting the liquid in the mouth. Don't give the snake a water bowl for a few days so it can't wash off the spray [source: Wissman].
  3. Clean the snake's environment Mites don't just infect your snake, they also infest its entire living area. Remove the snake from its environment. Throw out all the substrate from the cage or tank. Vacuum the area thoroughly, especially in the corners. Lightly scrape the angles between the walls and floor with a knife to try to loosen the microscopic eggs that may be there, then vacuum again. Disinfect the area with a solution of a half cup of bleach and 1 gallon (3.75 liters) of water. Let the solution sit for 10 minutes before flushing the area with clean water [source: Kaplan]. Next, spray the area with an insecticide like pyrethroid. Let everything air dry before refurbishing your snake's house and returning your snake to its home [source: Wissman].