Bearded dragon mites is a topic that doesn’t get discussed that often. The reason for this is bearded dragons aren’t as susceptible to mites as other reptile pets.
Sometimes information regarding mites and bearded dragons will be overlooked, because of its rarity. Though, there’s always a possibility of this happening.
I have found most of my information, pertaining to bearded dragon mites, by reading care information for snakes. Mites seem to be more common with pet snakes.
Although uncommon, your dragon can provide a nice home to a colony of mites. If you have different reptiles in your collection, such as snakes along with bearded dragons, the mites can be passed from one to the other.
A good way to prevent this is to practice good hygiene between handling and upkeep of the different reptile’s cages. Also, keeping your pets cages clean will help prevent an outbreak.
What are Bearded Dragon Mites?
Mites are small arachnids (about 1mm), relatives of ticks. They are external parasites that will feed off of the blood of your bearded dragon.
They can be hard to see, because of their small size. They will look like small black dots moving around on your dragon.
They are usually first noticed drowned in a water dish. If you’re worried about mites, the first place you might want to check is your dragon’s water dish (if provided).
Also, a mites feces is a white powdery substance that can sometimes be more noticeable than the mite itself (Tom Mazorlig, Bearded Dragon, 1998). You might even be able to brush some of the mites off by rubbing your hand over your dragon.
What to do?
Mites multiply rapidly and can cause lethargy, dehydration or anemia when present in large numbers (Bill & Kathy Love, The Corn Snake Manual, 2000).
Once mites are established they are very difficult to get rid of. There are various products on the market claiming to get rid of mites. I am not sure what products work and what doesn’t. I haven’t encountered mites with my dragon’s yet.
It seems that invermectin spray is the most widely prescribed product . This can be done by diluting 5-10 mg of invermectin with a quart of water and apply directly to your dragon. You can use a cotton swab to apply around mouth, eyes, and nostrils.
Invermectin is usually only available by prescription from a vet. There are some that will inject it right into your reptile. This not advised.
According to Melissa Kaplan of anapsid.org, even the drug’s manufacturer strongly advises against injecting directly into reptiles.
There are other treatments that are out there as well. Check out this great article on mites at anapsid.org , it just about covers everything about mites and reptiles.
Cleaning the Enclosure
While trying to eradicate the mites off of your dragon, you will also have to make sure you get them out of their enclosure as well.
Any treatment you use on your dragon will only work as good as the treatment you use for the enclosure.
You can use the same invermectin spray for this as well. You will want to soak all cage furnishings for about a half hour, and discard the substrate.
You could also use a 10% bleach and water solution for cleaning the cage and cage fixtures.
While you are fumigating your dragon’s enclosure, you might want to set up a temporary sterile enclosure. You can do this by using a plastic tote and some newspaper. Depending on how long they will be there, make sure you provide a heat source (basking lamp).
While mites may not be as common with bearded dragons as other reptiles, they can still occur. These external parasites are difficult to get rid of, and require some time and effort on your part.
Though difficult, you can get rid of them. If this didn’t provide enough information, you might want to check out this great article at anapsid.org. This article will have just about everything you need to know about bearded dragon mites.