How did this happen?

How in the world did I get mites?! I’m completely baffled. The only thing I can think of is that I went to a very small reptile show in November and brought them home? It just doesn’t make sense but that’s the only possible scenario.

I was handling my male while my husband started to clean his bin when I saw one on my hand. I went to his bin and sure enough I found 1 on the paper towels and one on the side of his bin. I immediately threw away everything except his hides and water bowl and put that stuff in the bath tub.

I didn’t handle any other animals except Astro, the hognose we bought. I soaked him in warm, very shallow, water with a little bit of original Dawn dish soap to look for any mites, but didn’t find any.

I frantically checked the others and only 1 of the other 7 ball pythons had any visible on them, and there were 5 on the paper towel.

So I’ve thrown out everything that can’t easily be sanitized. And I’m using the extra bins I have for emergencies and soaked them all plus little Astro got that quick shallow soak and a wipedown. I’m not confident what I can do for him so I did the bare minimum and threw away his bedding and everything but his water bowl. I didn’t find anything on him but he is now quarantined in my room.

All enclosures and hides and water bowls are now thoroughly washed and treated, as well as both racks.

What the heck?! Anyone have any ideas? Last time I got them was a very long time ago (like a year or something)? Haven’t gone back through my records yet to confirm exactly the date.

I’m so upset and angry and frustrated and confused! I know how hard they are to eradicate but I guess I caught it early. :pleading_face::rage:


Oh no, I’m so sorry! I’ve never dealt with mites (knock on wood), so I don’t really have any advice to offer, but I’m really sorry you’re having to deal with them, I know mites can be a nightmare.

Is it possible some eggs somehow survived from your last infestation and are now hatching for some reason? I don’t know that much about their life cycle, or how long their eggs remain viable.

Not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous about mites with my new boa I got an an expo last weekend. I know expos can have a higher risk of mites. And with her being a dark-coloured snake, I probably wouldn’t see them on her. But I didn’t see any in the snake bag I took her home in, and I haven’t seen any on her paper towels or in her water bowl (which is white, so they’d be easy to spot in there). I’m going to change her paper towels this weekend, so I’ll give them a good inspection.

Hopefully your infestation isn’t too serious and you caught it early enough to isolate it to the two snakes where you found them. And hopefully you’ll be successful in quickly eradicating them. :crossed_fingers:


Take a deep breath. I’ve had them more than once. The eggs are so light that they can become airborne and you can bring them home on your clothes or even in your nose.

There shouldn’t be any stigma surrounding them the hobby needs to work on that. No one shames you when your furry pets get fleas as the weather warms up, not much difference in the two.


Do you happen to get your substrate from a pet shop? They could have hitched of some if a snake had some mites while in the store.


I have to disagree a little bit … There should be some stigma. I would never blame a situation like this. This is unfortunate luck.
But we absolutely should not destigmatize them and insist that they just happen. I’ve treated so many animals from wholesale breeders but have not had an infestation at home in over 20 years. It’s ridiculous that someone going to a show needs to worry about bringing them home because a breeder thinks it’s natural.
Green Room Pythons even just went on a tangent in his Supershow video about how he always avoids his animals and showers/changes clothes after coming home because of the mite and other disease risks.

Fleas carry tapeworm and the plague. They cause severe anemia in young animals and can cause severe allergic reactions in some. There is no excuse to not use a flea preventative when taking your animals to places that can have fleas like grooming or dog parks. My cat is indoors only and extremely allergic.

Add on to the fact that mites can cause severe anemia in snakes like young corns, they are also believed to be a carrier for IBD. They can also infest/bite humans as well as snakes, just less commonly than fleas.

@gina5678 I’m so sorry this happened. The life cycle is typically around 7 weeks or so. So if you’re seeing them in small numbers in the cages already then it would make sense on the show with the timing.
I hope it’s caught early enough! Just remember anything porous has to go. And if any bedding is kept in the area I would toss that too.


Oh no! I hate mites… I had a similar issue lately with a bunch of bugs in Beans’ enclosure and I ended up getting rid of all the old wooden and porous things in there and I deep cleaned everything, but it sounds like you already did that. In my situation they weren’t mites but I couldn’t figure out what they were and they were annoying so I got them out of there! I have heard people say that, just to be safe it’s best to clean every enclosure just in case. That way you don’t risk one having some still and it spreading to the others AGAIN. I’m sure you already know, but I would monitor soap baths to make sure they don’t drink any of it. Otherwise my tactic is to get a cloth wet and put the soap on that and give my snake a normal soak and then wipe him down with the soap cloth and lightly go in circles, afterwards I get the soap off with more warm water. I normally do that to combat any bad smells from fecal matter or urates that got on him, but I would think it can work for mites too. It’s just a tip in order to get rid of ingestion risks.


I don’t believe that would work as the point of the soap bath is to cause the mites to not be able to hold on and cause them to drown. The easiest way to minimize soapy water ingestion is to soak them in water for 5-10 minutes before hand then add the soap.


@gina5678 Here’s my 2 cents worth. Order some ProVentamite. Tomorrow. Spray a bunch of paper towels for how many enclosures you have, let them dry and put them in the enclosures. Put the snakes back in. Spray a cloth and wipe around the openings of the enclosures. Do this every 3 weeks for maybe 3 months. This is all you have to do. I speak from experience! :blush:

And don’t beat yourself up! Stuff happens!

Edit to add: If you use this Proventamite as I said you will not need to do soap baths or anything else.


Alright thanks! I was kind of wondering myself if that would actually work or not.


I am so sorry, that’s incredibly frustrating.

Bringing home mites (or other illnesses) has always been one of my fears about reptile shows and I’ve at times thought I was being a paranoid crazy person for avoiding them, but it does seem like that might be the case.

Hopefully it hasn’t spread too far into your collection and will be fairly easy to prevent further spread since you caught it early


And I’ll have to further disagree. Shaming people who get them is what I was referring to, I never said anything about ‘them just happening’ or it being ok for people to spread them. You went a lot of places with your comment that I did not infer in my statement at all.

My first time getting mites was about a decade ago from an import ATB escaping quarantine and ending up in my reptile room. I had about 10 animals, it’s was a manor issue. The second time was about 5 years ago when I helped remove a lot of large constrictors from a hoarding situation and I was exhausted and simply spaced out and went in one of my rooms.

Do mites come from shows? I’m sure they do on occasion. Can shows be a catch all whipping post for how mites remain in the hobby and move around? Absolutely not. I do 10-12 reptile shows every year. The super show included, sometimes twice a year. I’ve never gotten an animal at a show with mites and I’ve never picked them up on my person at a show or my own animals. And I do TONS of shows. Far more than the average keeper. If shows were as bad as a lot people make them out to be, it would be impossible for me to take 40-100 animals to one every single month, expose them to thousands (tens of thousands at some shows) of people, and not come home with mites. Many of my peers will tell you the same thing. Sure we quarantine animals that go to them, but they just don’t ever get mites. I have dozens of friends who are all highly experienced who will tell you the same thing. My friend Steve Sykes at Geckos Etc. takes hundreds of animals to shows every month and never has an issue. I could give dozens more examples like him or me.

I’ve never seen any scientific information to suggest mites carry IBD. They can certainly move it around but it’s a stretch to suggest they actually carry arena virus.


You’re making a blanket statement based on your experience where you live and the population density there. Most of the US is too cold in the winter for fleas to be active and not everyone lives in massive
Metro areas with diseases and parasites floating around. Flea preventatives (pesticides) have side effects and there is absolutely no reason to keep an animal on a medication during times when there are no threat of fleas. I’ve had more issues with side effects from pesticides (including bravecto and seresto) than I’ve ever had from fleas themselves. I’ll absolutely risk the animals getting fleas for a second from an early warm up vs risking side effects from pesticides for the several months they aren’t required.

We own a grooming salon and my wife has been grooming for almost 20 years. Flea transmission isn’t really a thing that happens inside most salons. If that’s happening you need to find a different groomer.


I worked veterinary for 8 years, so I got to see all of the animals coming in for boarding or grooming with fleas. We also had to deal with all of the issues with people coming in and wondering why their dogs have hot spots and haven’t realized the fleas were the reason. Or the cat owners with constant tapeworm infections because they just let the cats go outside without flea control.

I lived half my life in NY. I know how the weather cycles affect fleas. If we had to board, we always tried to take precautions even in winter. If not, once spring started warming up we started up on preventative. Just because my current residence is CA doesn’t make me out of touch. Lol. I actually don’t even use medication for my cats or dog unless I compromised them with an animal rescue or boarding situation

Just will have to agree to disagree.
And even if it hasn’t been proven to be the case…when mites seem to be prevalent in a large number of the reported collection outbreaks of IBD, why would you want to risk it?


I am very reasonably sure that Lenore does not have mites. If she did you would have seen them by now……:+1:


Also… Because I think my intent was kind of lost in the sauce … I do tend to go on the rant for animal medical care in cases like this. Heck, I rescued an opossum a year ago with severe flea anemia and eventually passed from a parasitic Besnoitiosis infection.
What happened for you sucks. You knew the risks and were trying to mitigate through quarantine. ■■■■ does happen. Snakes are escape artists sadly.
And in the hoarding situation, unfortunate. But in both of those cases and in Gina’s case I wouldn’t blame or shame unless you wanted to just let it be and let the mites just do their thing.

My concern is more seeing a staff member or recognized breeder posting that we should destigmatize mites… And that being misconstrued as them not being a big deal. And that’s where I worry the issue could pop up with someone reading that comment and not realizing how much of an issue this can be to husbandry.


Who said anyone “wants” to risk anything? :man_shrugging:

I resent the implication that I am somehow suggesting or am physically risking animals getting mites. You took what I said (I’m sure I could have clarified more) and went a lot of directions with it.

People should not be shamed for getting mites. Shame people who are spreading them all you want. That was the intent of my initial statement. Where you went with it, is where you went with it.

You could I suppose preventatively treat for mites but given that promethrin and fipronil are both know to cause neurological symptoms, I wouldn’t suggest using pesticides when they are not necessary.


I’m sorry you felt that way. But you never did mention shaming the ones spreading them either. So that was where I felt the disjoint. Only that they should be destigmatized as a general concept.

Unless I have a reason to believe there’s an exposure, I don’t treat my animals. Thankfully, the worst I’ve had is one cat, a rescue, carrying multiple respiratory issues on his PCR test that led to all 4 cats needing treatment… And a sudden snake death which was instant quarantine of that rack and getting the testing/necropsy done. Thankfully negative.

1 Like

Logan, as a matter of fact I did. There’s another possibility. I buy rats from that shop and I like the owner; however, I noticed on a few occasions that they had at least 2 ball pythons together in a few different bins in their racks. However, I couldn’t see how small they were in case they were just clutchmates and were still together for that reason (and the racks are way up on a shelf where customers couldn’t just open the bins and take a snake out). I just saw 2 heads in a few of the bins at the front where they were visible (the reason I brought this up is to say that possibly there is a chance of a husbandry issue)? I will say theey are innocent until proven guilty though. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Immediately below the shelf was the bedding I bought. It was shreded aspen. I had never bought bedding from there because their prices for everything are super expensive. But I knew I was going to that expo to hopefully bring home a hognose so I bought it on a whim because I didn’t want to drive another 25 minutes to Tractor Supply to save a few bucks.

So, I guess there are 2 sources with a slight possibility of being the culprit.

So maybe my mystery is partially solved; it’s certainly not been fun but it’s made me more conscious about extra steps I will take in the future to hopefully never have to deal with mites ever again.

I did actually get the pleasure of going to Repticon in Baltimore today, and with my new fear unlocked, I had a plan in place to be more vigilant at the expo. When we all got home, everyone had a change of clothes ready and the clothes we wore went straight to the washer and were washed.

It reminds me of the time I got bedbugs from living in an adjacent apartment that had a horrible infestation. Having bedbugs is hands down the worst experience of my life aside from illness and deaths of loved ones. Remembering that horror makes me put the mites issue in perspective and I plan to be hyper vigilant like I was back then so I can eradicate these suckers. The only thing that I am really upset about is that some of my “babies” had those awful things crawling on them for who knows how long.

And thank you everyone for your responses. It does bring me shame and it was hard to post here about the mites because it almost feels like I’m telling people that I have hundreds of cockroaches crawling around my house (I don’t lol)

I guess my takeaway is that I can never be “too careful.”

BTW, I’m going to make a post and add a few cool photos I took today at the expo!


@gina5678, you absolutely should not be ashamed of this situation. Totally not your fault. External parasites happen. They’re out there, and sometimes they make it onto our pets despite our best efforts. It sucks, but it is most definitely not your fault. Your vigilance caught it early, and now you’ll be able to deal with it before it gets too bad. That’s honestly all any of us can do.

Now I’m going to do my best to take my own advice and not stress out about my own expo acquisition. :joy:


@jawramik Jennifer, you bought a beautiful boa from a reputable breeder that is reputable until proven otherwise. You brought your beautiful boa home and put it in a nice prepared quarantine enclosure well away from your other animals. So far you have done nothing wrong and so far everything right. If you see mites you can certainly exterminate them pronto!

@gina5678 Again you have done nothing wrong! And the problem can be fixed! Mites are sneaky little buzzards that can’t be avoided sometimes. It’s not like we stand around on street corners saying “here mite mite mite, come to me!” :joy:

However that being said, now I keep a can of Proventamite on hand just in case because this is what worked like a charm for me.

At the end of the day nobody died or even got hurt! So don’t sweat the small stuff! It “mite” not be worth it! :sunglasses: