Reptile & Amphibian Center

External Parasites in Reptiles



Ticks can be removed by grasping them at the point of attachment and slowly pulling their mouth parts out of the reptile's skin.


To eliminate mites, pesticides and medications are used to kill the parasites both on the reptile’s body and within the terrarium. Be very careful when using these chemicals around reptiles because they can cause serious illness or death if pets overdose from the medication, drink from contaminated water, or if ventilation is inadequate. Throw out all substrates and cage furnishings that could be harboring mites. Use newspaper as a floor covering throughout the treatment period and then refurnish the cage with mite-free substrates, branches, rocks, hide boxes, etc.


Bot larvae can be removed from their chamber within the skin by gently enlarging their breathing hole and pulling them out with a pair of tweezers. Maggots must be picked out of or flushed from a reptile’s damaged skin. If the reptile has open wounds, it should be treated with topical antiseptics. Antibiotics in the form of ointments, injections, or oral preparations are also frequently prescribed.


Living and Management


A reptile with external parasites that is treated in a timely manner and is otherwise in good condition can be expected to recover fully. If the parasites have fed heavily and caused significant anemia, debilitation, or transmitted other diseases, the prognosis is not as favorable.




Preventing external parasite infestations is best accomplished by thoroughly examining new pets before they enter the home. It also recommended you quarantine them for three months before they come in contact with other reptiles in the collection. In addition, turtles can be protected from flies by keeping them inside or surrounding outdoor enclosures with screen.