Bearded dragon mites are one of the last things you think you have to worry about when it comes to the health of your bearded dragon
At least it was for me
I never even thought of the idea of parasites being an issue and looking back now I’m like “DUH”
I kept thinking of substrates and what the tank temperature should be. I was also thinking about the diet that my bearded dragon needed to be consuming
Never once thought of parasites until my bearded got one
Something you need to do as a bearded dragon owner is recognizing when your beardie is acting funny vs normal
When your bearded dragon has something wrong with them they will show signs of it
this is important to know for new owners
You’re looking for signs of
- odd behavior patterns (maybe they’re biting now and weren’t before)
- Puffy beards
- black beards
One more thing you can do is take a look at their poop. Their poop will tell you a whole lot about their health and how they’re doing
If you see this kind of behavior you should start paying close attention to them
Bearded dragon mites: What you need to know
How to know if your bearded dragon has mites
The first thing you’ll notice is if your bearded dragon has these spots on him. They can be anywhere on your bearded dragon so make sure you look closely
They will be much more obvious if they are showing up around the head, neck, and legs area
especially if you hold your bearded dragon a lot you will be able to see them
Now as for the color of the mites they are generally black, red, or brown in color
It’s pretty hard to see if you have a darker bearded dragon but it’s still visible under some good lighting
Catching it early is going to be the best thing you can do. I personally do a deep monthly clean of my bearded dragons tank and when I do that I inspect the tank to make sure nothing is wrong
It’s easy for bacteria and fungi to grow because of the humidity levels. It will multiply easily
If you see mites early it makes it much easier to get rid of them
Now if it gets worse before you end up noticing then you might see that your beardie has them on his skin
what they will try to do is get rid of the mites themselves by rubbing against something
Bearded dragons also do this when they shed their skin!
where do Bearded Dragon mites come from?
Bearded dragon mites will come from a place that has mites already
- Mites can come from another bearded dragon that has mites already that you might have touched
- if you just bought your bearded dragon it might have contracted mites from the pet store or breeder you got it from
- It could also have come from the equipment you bought for the tank as well. Owners use all kinds of different things for their substrates and depending on where you buy them from they can be infected with mites
Now if you can pin down where they came from then you can make a couple of calls to help them out and stop the spread
I actually had to do this myself personally
I went to a friend of mines for a visit and I was playing with his snake
His snake had mites on them, I didn’t look and ended up taking them home now
Learn from my mistake and make sure you don’t spread it to your beardie
Double-check to make sure
My friend has a lot of different reptiles and he didn’t notice until I told him and he dealt with it right away
How to Get Rid of Mites that are on your Bearded Dragon
You should start with your bearded dragon because they are infected.
There are two main ways you can get rid of mites from your bearded dragon’s body.
One way is to get medication from your vet which will be very effective. They will tell you exactly what to do and it’s safe
This is what I did. I took my beardie to the vet and got medication for him. This way I could trust a professional
As I owned my bearded dragon longer I realized that depending on where the mites are living they can be killed with soap and water
Now if the mites are on the head, neck, and shoulders of your beardie it will be hard to clear the mites off because you actually have to soak the mites
Soaking isn’t something bearded dragons like to do. They don’t really sit still in the water for long periods of time like a snake would
You can try this method though if you can’t get to a vet for a bit is take a paper towel that has some soap on it and try to dab it on your bearded dragon’s affected areA
If you hold it long enough then it might clear up
Mites stick for so long because they are water-resistant.
Now if the affected area is something that can soak for a long time then you can use this method
the legs, lower body, lower back, tail, and feet can be soaked with no problem
Obviously, you can’t soak a bearded dragon’s head for a long time underwater so your best bet is going to be the vet and get medication
How to get rid of Bearded dragon mites from its tank/enclosure
This is important so your bearded dragon mites don’t return and infect them again
It’s best to do this part after you’ve cleared your beardie of the mites
Now because your tank has so many different places mites can be you need to be very thorough and meticulous
the first thing you need to do is pull everything out of the tank and disinfect it
you can use this stuff and it works wonders
mites can be tougher to get rid of than anticipated so make sure you are careful in getting all of it
When i had to do this i started out in this order
- water and food dishes were cleaned with the solution above but you can soak them in soap and water for 20 minutes
- branches and trees were disinfected with the spray. If you have fake trees and branches you can disinfect them and then rinse them off with soap and water
- I then took out and hides and sprayed them with the spray and then soaked them in soap and water as well
- The basking rock and the substrate i have in the enclosure were then baked in the oven at 350 degrees. Now this will only work with ceramic tile as your substrate. If you have reptile carpet you will want to soak it in soap and water and scrub it down. If you have loose substrate like rocks or mulch or gravel then you should empty it and replace it though i highly recommend using either ceramic or reptile carpet. Loose substrates run the risk of impaction
Once everything is pulled out clean the tank as much as you humanly can
I sprayed the tank three times and let it air out and the used soap and water to clean it again
The mites never did come back.
Now you will be much more careful a second time because in order for them to come back you will literally have to bring them back in yourself.
I am much more careful now to not bring anything back to the house that could harm my reptile
Bearded dragon mites are a pain the butt but not impossible to get rid of so just be careful
Bearded Dragon Mites Spray
This stuff is a great solution to getting rid of mites
You can use some dawn soap and water in a 32 OZ spray bottle as well
the difficulty of the mites is that they burrow between the scales of your bearded dragon and suck the blood
They essentially need to be loosened up. When they are they will fall right off
Bearded dragon mites aren’t very strong. It’s not like you will have to pull them off or anything but the issue comes with how many can be found
again finding them early will help the most
This spray will help with prevention too
I got rid of all the bearded dragon mites within about a week or so time as well. I took extra time to clean everything that was in that tank
You might also have things in that tank that I might not have like toys ( at the time I didn’t have bearded dragon toys) so make sure those are cleaned too
Preventing Bearded Dragon Mites
Preventing bearded dragon mites is always the best strategy. Dealing with the issue is much harder
There is a long list of things you can do to prevent Bearded dragon mites from becoming something nasty to deal with
- Make sure when you’re around friends or family that have reptiles for pets you know if they are infected with mites or not. I know this can be a random question to ask but most reptile owners will understand so don’t worry
- When you first bring your pet home triple check for mites. Inspect their head, shoulders, legs, belly, tail and back. Take your cell phone light and put it right up to your Bearded Dragons body.
- Handling animals should be kept to a minimum whenever you can. Sometimes mites can come from different types of animal. Although it will be more rare and to be honest most owners are pretty good with their pets it can happen ( like it happened to me)
- if you buy a new pet make sure you quarentine them. Sometimes because of the color of your pets mites can be harder to see so you should keep your new pets seperate in order to prevent spreading disease. Its safe to assume that your pets need to be cleaned and checked for potential threats before letting them intermingle with each other
- Wash your hands. Its best to wash your hands everytime you’re about to touch your reptile. Its so much better to assume that you’re going to spread something than not. The reason why is its so much easier to prevent sickness and disease than to cure it.
Summary and Questions
Bearded dragon mites are annoying but easily preventable if you know what to look for. it’s much easier to prevent bearded dragon mites than it is to get rid of them
Most of the time simple washing is going to go a long way and if you do handle other reptiles make sure to focus on washing your hands after and making sure the reptiles you handle don’t have mites themselves
If you have the funds I would highly suggest going straight to the vet for the Medication.
The stuff they give you works really fast and really well. It’s also safe.
for me, my bearded dragon’s safety is very important. I only want to introduce chemicals or cleaners near him when I know they’re safe.
Most of the time the stuff recommended to you by your vet is going to be safe