Mites and ticks are common in iguanas and, in fact, all reptiles. They are external parasites which can cause infection and, if left untreated, they can even cause death. Iguana mites treatment, therefore, is essential in case that your iguana faces these nasty creatures.
A tick is a very large black spot, usually on reptile’s crest or between its toes, or in the flaps of skin. Ticks can be removed with tweezers. After that the environment, and the iguana itself, can be treated with a tick remedy that you can find at your local pet store.
Mites are a little bit different. They are smaller, harder to see, but they pretty much infect the iguana just like the ticks do: in the folds of the skin, between the toes, in between the spikes, on the crest.
Mites are smaller than ticks but, as they suck the blood, they’re going to become engorged and that’s most likely when you’re going to be able to see them.
In order to get rid of mites, it’s very important that you treat your iguana directly. There are mite treatments that you can add to water and you can give your iguana a bath in the treatment, but you may find more practical to use a spray. Good choice is DeFlea Reptile Mite Spray. You can use it directly on the reptile, but avoid spraying its eyes and nose.
Also, you will need to completely empty the cage, which is going to be the hardest part, especially if it’s a wooden cage. It needs to be done, in order to get rid of mites, because mites can crawl in between the grains of the wood and it only takes one might to reproduce, so, if you miss one, your problem is definitely going to continue.
So, here are steps to get rid of these pests (make sure to wash hands after handling contaminated items) :
1: Remove the reptile from the enclosure.
2: Wear protecting gloves, cover iguana’s face with one hand and spray its body with the mite spray.
3: Take a dry paper towel and rub the mite killer over the iguana’s body. Again, be careful around the face and pits. Don’t spray it in their eyes or mouth. Use cotton swabs for the head area.
4: Place the iguana in isolation (another enclosure, if you have it, or appropriate plastic container) and let it rest for 10-15 minutes (the chemical kills the mites by drying them.)
5: Take the reptile out of isolation and, using a wet paper towel, clean your iguana. Then, clean the isolation container itself and put your reptile back in it.
6: Remove everything from the cage and treat everything that will go back into the cage, all hides and decor, and put them in garbage bag or some proper container (no, don’t throw them away!)
7: Clean the bedding out of the enclosure and use a vacuum cleaner to get the remainder. You can say goodbye to the substrate since it can’t be saved, cleaning it, like baking it or something like that, is useless and I would not take the chance because those mites can easily come back if you miss just a few.
8: Fill the garbage bag with a 5-10% bleach mixture and let soak for 1 hour ( alternatively, use a bath tub or any container that you have)
9: The next goal is to crease the enclosure and kill the remaining mice in this cage, so take your mighty spray again. Or, you can make a 10-15% bleach mixture and apply to the enclosure with a cloth.
10: Let the enclosure dry for 15 minutes, then use a dry cloth to dry it in detail.
11: Let the decor and hides dry for 24 hours, then put them back to the enclosure.
This should make everything 100% mite free.
It’s recommended to give your reptile a soak before putting it back in the enclosure, since the chemical dehydrates their skin and can give them a nasty shed.
There are tons of places in the enclosure where mites can remain, little nooks and crevices here and there. Don’t forget about the top screen which has little gaps it has little spots all over.
Treat the cage daily, for three to five days, until you absolutely see no more mites. Also, keep your eye on the iguana daily for the next few weeks, to make sure that you don’t see any new mites. If mites have laid eggs, and you don’t see any more mites but you do still see the feces of mites (which look like little white specks on the scales of the iguana) then you might want to double check again in a couple weeks because it takes a couple of weeks for the eggs to hatch and you may have a whole new clutch of mites coming.
The mites problem is probably one of the worst parts of reptile keeping but, luckily, it is avoidable. It’s not too common and once you expel them properly they are, hopefully, gone. It’s unlikely that they will be come back unless you somehow accidentally reintroduce them to your animals, which is possible especially if you go to an expo or something.
It is also possible that your reptile actually had mites when you bought it, which is the fault of the pet shop but also a classic mistake when buying a reptile – skipping the step of thoroughly examining it.