Mites

Symptoms:

  • itching
  • rubbing
  • lethargy
  • tiny red dots around eyes, ears, vent, or inside dermal flaps
  • ash-like “dust” (mite poo) all over body
  • no symptoms

Cause:

  • poor hygiene
  • contamination from another reptile
  • wild-caught

Treatment:

Mites are particularly common on wild-caught geckos, and because Uroplatus get easily stressed from handling, getting rid of them is especially tricky.

If you are not sure whether your new gecko is CB (captive bred), quarantine it for 4-6 weeks on paper towels, PVC pipes, and egg cartons. These items don’t make for a particularly attractive enclosure, but they are easy to clean or disposable, and make it easier to spot mites. The quarantine enclosure should be placed in a separate room from your other reptiles, and care should be taken to wash your hands and arms each time after performing terrarium maintenance. Quarantine is *very* important if you plan to keep it in an enclosure with another gecko.

After the gecko has settled into its quarantine enclosure (2-3 weeks), you may pick it up and check for mites. Keep inspections brief, but be sure to look at every nook and cranny around the gecko: eyes, ears, vent, dermal flaps, joints, etc. Do this no more frequently than once a week.

If you find leaf-tailed gecko mites, use a cotton swab soaked with vegetable or coconut oil to wipe the mites away. Follow up with a swab of providone-iodine to disinfect bite wounds.

If you find mites, clean out the terrarium before returning the gecko:

  1. Throw away disposable terrarium furniture/substrate and sterilize the rest with boiling water.
  2. Vacuum out the tank, in the corners and under the lip along the top edge. This will get any extra eggs, mites, or mite poo hiding in there.
  3. Wash it out with hot, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. Wipe down with a strong Nolvasan (generic: chlorhexidine) solution (4 Tbsp per gallon of water) or 1:30 (1/2 cup per gallon of water) bleach solution. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse until you can’t smell it anymore.
  5. Wipe down light fixtures.Use a damp cloth to thoroughly wipe away any mites that may have wandered in.
  6. Vacuum and wipe down surrounding areaaround the tank.
  7. Set up tank with clean paper towels, egg cartons, and PVC pipes.
  8. Return gecko to tank.

If the mites come back, repeat the above steps. If they seem to be gone by the 6-week mark, do a full treatment of the lizard and terrarium to kill any remaining eggs.

If your leaf-tailed gecko stops eating and seems stressed, hold off on further inspections/treatments until it is eating regularly and seems more comfortable.

If the mites persist, consult your veterinarian.