Infestation!!

Damien Szkatulski

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Help please! I was giving my baby sulcata a soak and I noticed a small bug run from his shell to the crevice behind his head. I inspected this area and found 10-20 tiny bugs laying there! How do I help him with ought hurting his delicate head!
 

Bass.Isles

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What do the bugs look like? Black, white, clear? Tint ants? Mites? Do they have wings?
 

Tom

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Probably springtails, but we'd need a pic to confirm. If that is what they are, they are harmless detrivores coming from the substrate. They should be easy to rinse off in the sink, or during a soak.
 

Damien Szkatulski

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Probably springtails, but we'd need a pic to confirm. If that is what they are, they are harmless detrivores coming from the substrate. They should be easy to rinse off in the sink, or during a soak.

I am familiar with spring tails, I just didn't take this into consideration at first. The two main characteristics that confused me are the fact that they lived behind his neck, and the fact that they are large enough to see without any close inspection. If I were to keep my schedule of two soaks daily and rinse them off of his neck both times would they be a problem still?
 

Tom

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I am familiar with spring tails, I just didn't take this into consideration at first. The two main characteristics that confused me are the fact that they lived behind his neck, and the fact that they are large enough to see without any close inspection. If I were to keep my schedule of two soaks daily and rinse them off of his neck both times would they be a problem still?

If it is what I think it is, it won't be a problem if you do nothing. Springtails are harmless. They just happened to be on your tortoise instead of in the substrate. They are not a parasite or harmful in any way.

It is very uncommon to see any sort of mite or external parasite on a CB sulcata here in the states. In all my years, I've never seen or heard of one case. Even when we were still importing WC animals in the mid 90s, I didn't see any external parasites.
 

Speedy-1

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Even Mites will drown in a good warm soak . The biggest problem with mites is that the eggs will infest your enclosure and anything that can't be sanitized (boiled and bleached) will need to be disposed of . As Tom said , mites in captive bred reptiles is virtually unheard of any more ! For wild reptiles such as snakes and lizards it doesn't really present a problem . They get mites , and when they shed their skin , they also shed their mites ! They are very common to Wild caught reptiles , this is one reason why quarantining new animals is so important .
 

Tom

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Even Mites will drown in a good warm soak . The biggest problem with mites is that the eggs will infest your enclosure and anything that can't be sanitized (boiled and bleached) will need to be disposed of . As Tom said , mites in captive bred reptiles is virtually unheard of any more ! For wild reptiles such as snakes and lizards it doesn't really present a problem . They get mites , and when they shed their skin , they also shed their mites ! They are very common to Wild caught reptiles , this is one reason why quarantining new animals is so important .

I've seen lots of mites on snakes and lizards. I've just never seen a case of mites or ticks on a tortoise.
 

domalle

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Help please! I was giving my baby sulcata a soak and I noticed a small bug run from his shell to the crevice behind his head. I inspected this area and found 10-20 tiny bugs laying there! How do I help him with ought hurting his delicate head!

Collembolans (springtails) are usually only seen on substrate. They are harmless but may indicate infrequent substrate change and inadequate or improper enclosure hygiene. That attention to hygiene applies to arachnids (mites) as well but mites, unlike springtails, can transmit disease. Ticks are larger and easily identified. I have inspected and attended to heavily tick-infested and parasitized leopard tortoise imports. Whether those ticks traveled with the tortoises from the wild or were picked up at holding facilities in Florida is not known.
 
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