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Old 11-17-03, 12:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Something OTHER than Repti-bark?

After reading that Repti-bark does NOTHING for humidity and what with my Spotted Python's dry scales and such. I've decided to stop using Repti-Bark. And I heard horror stories of bugs! lol

What else can I use that's natural looking? (I pride myself on keeping natural showcase enclosures)

I was THINKING Cypress Mulch, but would that be good for both my King and my Spotted? If not, what else could I use?

Thanks,
Jenn
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Old 11-17-03, 12:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have heard of them bug problems as well. Although I have never had the misfortune. One solution would be to "cook" it out. I do this with wood from outdoors I plan to use, sometimes soil, etc. I have had good results with substrate mixes as well. Say 35% Forest Bed and 65% fir bark. I like the mixes personally when I want a natural look, and these also make a good base for a vivarium mix. Just depends on your exact needs and what you like to see.
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Old 11-17-03, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My requirements are still low so I use a mix of repti bark and forest earth (both made by exo terra). Not really practical if I had a dozen herps but since I only have one I can spoil her. I find the mix holds moisture really well, when she is in bue phase I mist it twice a day to keep humidity up, other than that I just place a large water bowl in the middle of the cage.
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Old 11-17-03, 12:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I hate that eco earth. Its crap IMHO. It does hold humidity but it gets all over the snake because its tiny tiny pieces. One snake I had ended up with it in both its mouth and back end somehow. Tons of it. Not that this happens everytime but ya, I hate that stuff.

I would use cypress multch. It doesn't have to be wet for your king, but can be wet for your spotted. Just bake it first.

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Old 11-17-03, 12:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I use all Cypress.
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Old 11-17-03, 01:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Marisa: What do you do to bake Cypress Mulch?
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Old 11-17-03, 01:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Baking cypress isnt nessecary if you get it from a clean supplier.. Ive never had problems.
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Old 11-17-03, 01:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have found some weirdo bugs in some I have purchased. I am not really sure exactly what you are supposed to do but I normally just bake that stuff and other wood at like 250 for awhile. Seems to work.

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Old 11-17-03, 01:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Probably pill bugs etc, moisture lovers harmless to snakes, usually die from the heat. But if you choose to bake be careful doing it!!
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Old 11-17-03, 02:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Marisa, if coconut husk or other substrates are clinging to your snake, that's a fairly good indicator of dry skin. Well-hydrated snake skin should have an electrostatic charge that repels dust and dirt, sort of an anti-Swiffer.

If it's just in the week preceding a shed it's no biggie, but if it's a constant thing that snake needs more moisture.
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Old 11-17-03, 02:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Holy eyespy, great info. as always!
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Old 11-17-03, 02:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Actually this was an amazon tree boa. When we took him into the vet his mouth and throat were FULL of it. Literally, spilling out once we got the mouth open. Then when he was checking out the vent, more was spilling out of that end. I have no idea why or how he ingested so much of this substrate but it happened.

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Old 11-17-03, 02:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Wow!! It does make you wonder how a snake got that much. And also why there wasn't enough stomach acid exposure to break it down. Did you have bloodwork done on this snake to see if there were electrolyte or other mineral deficiencies, or high/low enzymes such as amylase and lipase?
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Old 11-17-03, 02:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well this was a year ago so I don't remember details perfectly. But I know the vet did bloodwork and nothing was mentionable in it. But I am not sure if mineral deficiencies are checked out normally or that's something "special" you ask for. But he mentioned everything looked fine in the fecal and bloodwork.

The snake was WC and wasn't feeding. Took him to the vet about two weeks after getting him here, and he had already gotten that much in him, once he was cleared out of that substrate we housed him on paper towel. He started eating two weeks later, had 5 meals, then I found him dead. It was my last experience with WC for a long time to come!

I am a little suspicious of the vet though, its a highly regarded vet locally but they gave me flagyl for him even though his fecal showed up clear...not sure if they did this because of the substrate or the fact he wasn't feeding. But it taught me a good lesson.

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Old 11-17-03, 02:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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No biggie, I was just curious. Bloodwork doesn't always show up the reasons why herps become substrate-eaters anyhow. We really don't even know what levels of trace minerals are normal for humans, so how could we possibly figure out normal levels for our pets?

Mineral deficiencies are partly picked up by a complete blood count, but unless you specifically order metabolic panels done there's a lot of stuff not tested. I get spoiled because I've spent so much time working with a bowel surgery specialist who is trying to figure out why they eat all the crap they did to get impacted so we usually have all that stuff drawn up before surgery. Even so, true pica is rare. Some years it's less than 3% of all his cases. But that's probably just because we don't know how much manganese or selenium or whatever they really do need.
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