Lice and mites of reptiles

Lice and mites of reptiles

The blood mite is the one occurring most frequently on reptiles. Like birds and mammals, reptiles too can suffer from lice and mites. The blood mite is the one occurring most frequently on reptiles; it is also called blood mite or reptile blood mite. The official name of this blood mite is Ophionyssus natricis. This blood mite looks like a very small spider, which likes to hide in the litter of a terrarium. This blood mite occurs mainly in the following reptiles:

  • Snakes
  • Bearded dragons
  • Varans
  • Lizards
  • Iguanas

The reptile blood mite is dark red and its size is approximately 1 millimetre. Because it has 8 legs, it looks like a small spider. Usually you recognise the presence of the blood mite because your animals are less active. Sometimes you can see the small larvae in the water basin in the form of small black grains. Photograph them and zoom in on the photo. You will see that suddenly these grains have legs and a head. On the animals themselves you can sometimes see them creeping between the scales.

FAQ View FAQ

Life cycle of reptile blood mites

The reptile blood mite can lay approximately 15 to 25 eggs in one clutch. Eggs can hatch months later, when the climate in the terrarium is right. Blood mites in reptiles can live up to six months and in contrast to other mites, can live without food for a long time.

Life cycle of reptile blood mites

How does the blood mite get into the terrarium?

After the blood mite has eaten, it will look for a spot to lay eggs. Because at this stage they can move a few meters, they can ‘walk’ to another terrarium. In addition, blood mites will remain on the reptile for a few days. If you have just bought a new animal, it may have brought those mites with it.

Exponential increase

Exponential increase

A reptile blood mite can lay 15 to 25 eggs in one clutch. You can imagine that this can cause an exponential increase.

Eggs hatch after only 1 day

Eggs hatch after only 1 day

When the climate is optimal is in the terrarium, eggs can hatch after only 1 day.

Eggs can hibernate

Eggs can hibernate

The eggs of the reptile blood mite are so resilient that they can hatch months later.

Why are lice of reptiles so hard to treat?

The lice of reptiles are fond of playing "hide and seek". They hide on the darker places in the terrarium. These are primarily cracks and crevices, but also in the litter. Spots who are hard to reach. In addition, eggs can hibernate. So when you think you solved the lice problem, there could still be eggs in the terrarium.

Lice hide

Lice hide

Because lice hide, they are hard to treat. You cannot reach all the lice in the cracks and crevices. So with conventional treatment products it's very unlikely to solve your problem.

Rest position at high temperatures

Rest position at high temperatures

Then the temperature comes above 28 degrees, the lice are going into "rest position". Lice who are resting are harder to treat.

Transfer diseases

Transfer diseases

The lice can transfer diseases to the reptiles. The infection of diseases is transmitted by lice who prick different animals.

Finecto+, the solution for reptile blood mites

Because Finecto+ makes the terrarium unattractive to mites, Finecto+ Protect (the spray) is ideal in the case of problems with blood mites. By spraying the cracks and seams with Finecto+ Protect, you make the blood mite problem manageable. Make sure that the temperature is below 28 degrees. At higher temperatures, the blood mite goes into rest mode and will not move within the terrarium across the places that have been sprayed with Finecto+ Protect.

The Finecto+ Protect Spray has in principle been developed for birds and chickens. Experience has shown however that the Finecto+ Protect Spray can also be used in terrariums that have problems with mites. The Finecto+ Protect spray does not affect the health of your reptiles. If you have problems with mites, we advise you to spray the cracks and seams every 6 to 8 weeks with Finecto+ Protect. Take into account that the spray leaves behind a white haze.