Blue Tongue Skink Mites – Get Rid Of Them Once And For All!
A common health problem that skinks suffer from is parasitic infection such as mites infestation. Normally, Blue tongue skink mites are the result of poor hygiene and are not easy to get rid of. For successful removal of mites, you must treat the skink and the tank.
This article will help you establish what’s the caused your Blue tongue skink mites, what are the symptoms to look out for and what is the best course of treatment.
What Are Blue Tongue Skink Mites?
So what are mites? There are different types of mites. For instance, wood and soil mites are white, gray or brown in color. However, they are harmless and not the mites we are talking about in this article.
Blue tongue skink mites are small black parasites that attach themselves to a host and feed on their blood. In this case that host is your skink. This type of mites look like small dots on and under your skink’s scales. (check photo)
Blue Tongue Skink Mites – Causes
The causes for Blue tongue skink mites are:
- Poor hygiene
- Contamination from another infected reptile
- Incorrect substrate – to find out what’s the best substrate for your skink, click here Blue Tongue Skink Bedding – Best vs Worst Options
If skink mites are not treated quick enough, it can result in anemia, secondary infections and skin irritation such as scale rot. This can also affect your skink’s ability to shed.
To learn more about Blue tongue skink scale rot, click here Blue Tongue Skink Scale Rot – Cause, Symptoms, Treatment
Blue Tongue Skink Mites – Appearance And Symptoms
When diagnosing Blue tongue skink mites, it’s important to know what the mites look like and what are the symptoms of mite infestation.
What Blue Tongue Skink Mites Look Like?
Blue tongue skink mites can be hard to spot as they can be different sizes and some are very small. When physically checking for mites on your skink, look for the following:
- Small black dots around eyes, ears & vent
- Tiny black dots on shed skin
- Small black dots on your hands after handling (wash your hands straight away)
- Tiny black dots (mites) can be either crawling on your skink’s skin or staying still
- White ashy “dust” on your skink’s skin. This is mite poop
Blue Tongue Skink Mites – Symptoms
If you’re suspecting that your skink is suffering from mites infestation, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Longer than usual soaks. This is your skink’s natural reaction to try and get rid of the mites
- Agitated and unwilling to be handled
- Poor appetite
- Decreased activity
- Raised skink’s scales– if you touch your skink’s scales, you will feel that they lifted. This is because the mites are underneath
Blue Tongue Skink Mites – Treatment
The treatment for Blue tongue skink mites is a combination of using medicine to treat the skink and deep cleaning their enclosure. It’s essential that you treat your skink and any other reptiles you have regardless if they are housed together.
Each spray or medicine we talk about is going to be combined with treatment of the enclosure and its contents.
There are many products available online and in stores that treat reptile mites. However, after extensive research, we’ve put together a list of what’s worked best for skink mites removal.
Although, Nix is a chemical treatment for humans to treat head lice, it’s also very effective in treating Blue tongue skink mites and their eggs.
It’s essential to NOT use Nix according the directions on the packaging as that is meant for treating lice in humans. Furthermore, you should not use Nix if your skink is very sick, small in size or too young in age (anything under 12 months)
To use Nix for treating Blue tongue mites you need the following:
- Empty and clean spray bottle
- Bottle of Nix – 56ml
- Distilled water – 1 gallon
- Shallow tub to soak your skink in
The following steps must be applied to all reptile that you own, not only the one that’s visibly infected:
- Dilute the Nix cream by pouring it into1 gallon of distilled water to dilute.
- Shake until everything is evenly mixed. This should take only a few minutes
- Once mixed, pour the solution into the empty spray bottle
- Place your skink in the tub to soak.
- Spray your skink with the solution. Ensure you spray each part of them including head, eyes, ears, all over
Treating the tank:
- Whilst your skink is soaking, remove all substrate and decorations from the tank, double bag it and throw away in an outside trash can
- Spray the entire tank inside and out, especially the corners as that’s where mites tend to lay eggs
- Spray everything surrounding the tank outside such as shelves, table/desk, etc
- Replace the substrate with paper towels. Only use paper towels until the mites are completely eradicated which should be roughly 3 weeks
- Remove the water dish and do not replace until 24 hours later
- Everytime your skink poops in their water dish, the water must be changed and the dish disinfected
- Return your skink to their tank and spray again – the skink, the tank and substrate once again
This treatment must be repeated 3 times with 7 days in between each treatment. This would ensure that all mites are killed including the eggs
Frontline spray has proven to be very effective in treating Blue tongue skink mites. When using this treatment, it’s important to treat all your reptiles and not only the one that’s visibility affected.
Follow these steps to treat your skink’s mites with Frontline spray:
- Spray Frontline spray on soft towel
- Wipe down the skink with it. This should include head, ears, eyes, all over
- Rinse the skink off 5 minutes later
- 1 week apart and several baths later
Treating the tank:
- During the cleaning process of the cage, place your skink in a shallow warm bath to soak
- Remove everything from the cage
- Scrub the cage with hot soapy water
- Throw away all decorations and hides. If you’re tight on money, you can boil them in hot water at 250 F for 1 hour or soak them in 1 part bleach, 9 parts water for 2 hours and wash thoroughly
- Throw away the substrate and replace with paper towels
- Carboard box made into a hide
- Every other day – throw everything out again including the cardboard hide. Then, scrub the cage again with hot soapy water and place new paper towels and a new cardboard hide
This treatment should be applied 2 times with 7 days in between each treatment.
If you follow the steps above diligently, your skink should recover in up to 3 weeks and you should avoid any reinfections.
After the treatment is completed, your skink might go into a full shed which is totally normal.
Treating The Tank
To summarize, the steps for treating the tank for Blue tongue skink mites are:
- Throw away substrate
- Throw away accessories and hides. If tight for money – boil at 250 F for 1 hour or soak in 1 part bleach and 9 parts water
- Clean the tank – you can use the Nix solution we talked about earlier, hot soapy water, mixed Natural Chemistry and Provent-a-Mite spray or use a hot steam cleaner that kill mites with high temperature. The steam cleaner is a good investment as you can use it for your future cleaning routine
Repeat the cleaning of the tank after 3 days.
Blue Tongue Skink Mites – Prevention
Knowing how to treat Blue tongue skink mites is important but what’s even more important is preventing the infection in the first place.
Mites are very stubborn and can easily return and reinfect your skink. To prevent mites in the first place or to prevent another reinfection, follow these steps:
- If your Blue tongue skink is a new pet, you must quarantine them alone for 2 to 3 months. During that period, you must observe your skink for any health concerns
- With any new skink, you should take a poop sample to the vets to be tested for parasites
- Spot clean your skink’s enclosure daily
- Deep clean your skink’s enclosure once a week. This includes deep cleaning the tank using hot soapy water and fully drying it afterwards; taking all the accessories and decorations out and disinfecting them with chlorhexidine or F10SC
- Always wash your hands before and after handling your skink
- Pick substrate that doesn’t retain unnecessary moisture. Safe substrate is made of dry, semi-soft material and is not too fine or dusty
- Ensure their water dish is always filled with fresh water. Clean and disinfect their water dish each time you change the water as skinks like to poop in there
We won’t sugarcoat it, if your skink is suffering from mites, you’ll need a lot of patience and be diligent in treating your skink and their enclosure.
In most cases, Blue tongue mites are the result of either poor hygiene or contamination from another infected reptile.
Blue tongue skinks mites are eradicated by:
- Quarantining your skink
- Removing all decorations, hides and substrate from the tank
- Replacing substrate with paper towels and hide with cardboard
- Treating your skink with a reptile mites spray
- Detailed and consistent cleaning of their tank – every 3 days
It’s essential that you cleaning schedule it’s up to the highest standard. By doing this, you will not only prevent Blue tongue skink mites in the first place but also prevent reinfection if your skink has just recovered.
Related Topics Q&A
Are Blue Tongue Skink Mites Dangerous To Humans
As mites need a reptile host, they are of no danger to humans. Although, some mites can bite humans, they won’t survive long outside of their reptile host.
Are Blue Tongue Skink Mites Contagious To Other Reptiles?
Blue tongue skink mites are extremely contagious to other reptile. Therefore, if your reptile has mites and you have other reptiles in the same enclosure, you must quarantine them in separate enclosures that are fully disinfected. The quarantine period should last around 2 to 3 months.
Furthermore, you must change your clothes and wash your hands after each time you handle your skink or clean their enclosure. This is important because mites can survive without the host for a few month by living on your clothes which can result in your skink getting reinfected.
How Long To Get Rid Of Blue Tongue Skink Mites?
Although, getting rid of mites is possible, it’s a long process and you need to be very patient and diligent. To fully get rid of Blue tongue skink mites can take from a week to a month.
Even if you can’t physically see the mites, you will need to continue treating both the skink and the enclosure for 6 weeks. This is because mites have a life cycle of 40 days and there might be eggs still waiting to hatch.