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Thread: Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

  1. #1
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    Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    As many of you may already know from my hello post, I do reptile rescue. Now, I`m trying to deal with my first case of ticks, ewww. I got a wild caught ball, who was put in a pet store, never disinfected for all the many parasites that she had, and purchased by a woman thinking she could treat the snake herself, to find out she was wrong. Now I have her, she`s been to the vet, and gotten her shots, but she`s still got these darn ticks. The doc said to just keep pulling them out, but more just keep appearing. So I got a suggestion from a couple local herpers to coat her in mineral oil, and let her lay on paper towels for a couple hours each day and I would start to see them pop off, and which point I could kill them, and after a week or so, I should see no more of the nasty little buggers. Well for the last 3 days I`ve tried this mineral oil thing and I have yet to see one single tick "pop off" Not to mention when I try to pull the ones that are big enough to grab with tweezers, she`s a lot harder to hold on to! She`s about 4` long and pretty thick, she`s a force to be reckoned with when you are trying to do anything she doesn`t like
    So the point is, I need help. Am I doing the mineral oil wrong? I`ve beed putting it on a paper towel or cloth and wiping it all over her body. Should I be bathing her in it, or what?
    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    What to do: Promptly remove the tick. Grasp the tick with a pair of forceps and slowly pull up until the tick mouth parts separate from the skin. What not to do: Do not use heat, occlusion, or caustics to remove a tick. A multitude of techniques have been promoted, but they may only increase the chance of infection Do not contaminate your fingers with potentially infected tick products. Do not mutilate the skin attempting to remove the tick`s "head." Usually what you see left behind is cememtum secreted by the tick, easily scraped off.
    I believe that using mineral oil would count as occlusion. You may find that it`s useful to have a second person restrain the snake while you remove the tick. Also, when I was living in CT (near the town of Lyme), ticks were everywhere and I invested in one of these: http://www.tickedoff.com/ It works great. I had better results with this than with tweezers.

  3. #3
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    I had a tick infestation on my Boa constrictor about a year ago. I think they must have hitched a ride after I visited a pet shop which I no-longer frequent.
    Anyway, my vet gave me a can of insecticide called, "Frontline", which is nominally a flea-spray for cats and dogs. One sprays some onto a wad of cotton wool and wipes this over the snake, taking care to do it in a well ventilated area. This is repeated after 10-14 days. Any vivarium furniture should be removed during treatment. Wooden hides, substrate, etc should be burned. Everything else should be bleached. The vivarium should be treated with a dilute bleach solution every few days and thoroughly rinsed. Use


    This solved my problem - after two weeks (the gestation period of the ticks` eggs, apparently), they just stopped, dead.
    The active ingredient is something called fipronil, which is essentially liquid nerve gas. Doesn`t seem to harm the snake, but is devastating to the ticks. The stuff is disolved in alcohol, which is very toxic to snakes, hence the need for good ventilation when applying it.
    Doing this, you shouldn`t need to pull any ticks off - they`ll drop off when the fipronil kills them. Any that hatch from eggs in your viv, which the bleaching misses, will die shortly after taking a bite from the snake. As a result, they never manage to breed and within one generation they should all be gone.
    You can then replace the substrate, put in new hides, etc. I found that the next shed was a little difficult, perhaps due to the alcohol drying the skin. After that, he was just fine.

  4. #4
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    The oil is useless. The ticks need to be pulled off by hand being careful to get the tick`s entire head. Ticks get on snakes to feed. They however spend most of their time in the environment. You need to get rid of the ticks in the animals environment to prevent reinfestation. snake lady
    "Medicine to produce health has to examine disease" Plutarch http://community.webtv.net/SnakeladysFarm/SnakeLadysReptile0

  5. #5
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    I agree with Chris. We use frontline on the occasional attack of mites. We`ve never had ticks but we`d trust it would work on those too. Highly effective!!!! It works on contact, you can watch a parasite keel over within seconds. And continues for a few weeks after treatment. Its a bit sticky until it dries out, so do the biz in a well aired room. Remove water bowls for 24 hours. Of course, move your inverts well away from where you`re treating your snakes as Frontline will kill them too. As in any treatment, you cant guarantee that every animal wont have problems but we`ve used it on all our snakes from age of a few weeks upwards with no side effects.

  6. #6
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    parasites. This may be the easiest method if there are alot.

  7. #7
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    The doc told me the reason for putting mineral oil on the ticks you can see is that is helps to suffocate them, and they will pull back a little trying to get air, and therefor be easier to get out the head and all. She said pulling was all we could do, but local people told me to just coat the whole snake, and they`d all suffocate and fall off, but no such luck. Where do you get this Frontline stuff?? I`m willing to try anything and we have many other snakes here and I`m doing everything possible just to avoid them getting these nasty little things too!
    Thanks for all the advice! Allison

  8. #8
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    In article , the product name for it here in the UK, so it may be different where you are. The active ingredient is called Fipronil, however, so your vet should be able to identify it from that.

  9. #9
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    Unfortunately they don`t have this. I know where all the reptile supply places are, but this product is not sold for repltiles, it`s made for cats and dogs. Thanks for trying to help, but you might want to check that the place has it before sending someone there.

  10. #10
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    Re:Ticks on a Ball python! Help!!!

    takeoffs on it for sale over the counter in your average Petco, but I`m not sure what the active ingredient is.
    FWIW I`ve been using Frontline on my cats and dog for several years and most certainly do NOT have a flea problem. fr0glet

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