Flystrike occurs when blowflies lay eggs on the skin of an animal, maggots then hatch from the eggs and eat into the skin. This is often an issue with other animals such as farmed sheep; however it is occasionally reported in captive lizards where maggots eat into the ear opening. The ear canal is very sensitive and chemicals should not be used inside it. Maggots may be carefully removed with tweezers and the canal rinsed with saline water.
Symptoms: Presence of maggots or blood on the body, around the head or in the ear canal. Fly strike can result in the death of a small lizard relatively quickly. Be vigilant for unusual behaviour, such as head waving. The head may appear swollen and the skin may appear to be ‘bubbling’ around the ear canal.
Risks: Instances of flystrike are apparently rare. Risks could be reduced by keeping fly traps away from enclosures and removing blow flies if uneaten after a few days.