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Old 02-11-04, 05:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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cocoa shells for substrate??

Through a bunch of really dumb events, I ended up with about 100 lbs of cocoa shell. Is this an acceptable substrate for herps of any kind? It contains no additives, chemicals, dyes, oils, etc... I'm just not sure if the cocoa itself was in some way toxic. The only thing that worries me a little is that it says something like this on the bag:

'You may see a fine white mold after about 1 week. Once rinsed off with rain or a garden hose this mold should not return'

theres also the

'leaves a pleasent cocoa scent that lasts for weeks'

If mold is the only problem, couldnt this be solved by either a light bleach / water misting and sterilizing? Would this also kill the cocoa smell. I'm not totally against it.. I just think it would slightly annoying for my herps to smell like chocolate all the time

Anyways.. sorry if this has been answered but I dont remember it brought up and didnt locate anything on a quick search.

thanks
suckr
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Old 02-11-04, 08:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I do not remember why, but I remember it being no good for reptiles.
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Old 02-11-04, 11:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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any caffiene in the shells?
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Old 02-12-04, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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well.. it does say not intended for human consumption on the bag. No instructions on what to do in case someone does eat it. They're not really sharp.. in fact its pretty soft stuff. Maybe I'll try some tonight... maybe make a cake

I still dont know.. I'll try doing some digging tonight at work to see if I can find any info anywhere.
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Old 02-12-04, 03:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nope. Definitely not safe for reptiles. It contains a chemical that can be fatal. The exact name slips my mind at the moment
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Old 02-12-04, 05:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Interesting...

The only thing that I've been able to dig up on it is that its not recomended to use as substrate if you feed inside the enclosure. The reason stated is that it swells slightly when ingested. If too much is ingested it could cause impaction problems. (I feed in a seperate enclosure) In fact.. I found a couple people talking about using a 'forest floor mix' that is made mostly of cocoa shells for their Gaboons.

I'm still not thinking its safe to use... This is just what I've been able to dig up on it so far.
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Old 02-12-04, 07:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Linds
Nope. Definitely not safe for reptiles. It contains a chemical that can be fatal. The exact name slips my mind at the moment
Are you thinking of theobromine? It's the chemical in chocolate and cocoa that's fatal to dogs and also cats, but to a slightly lesser extent.

I've tried cocoa mulch in the garden a few times, but didn't like the way it goes moldy so easily. In an enclosed space the mold might become a health hazard, even though it's not a problem in the garden with all the circulation out there. The shells are also extremely light that they blow away in the slightest breeze, making me think that it would be all over the enclosure if used as substrate. Add the theobromine content which is even more concentrated in shells than processed chocolate, and I wouldn't trust it with any reptile that might lick or accidentally ingest it. I have never seen anything about theobromine being fatal to reptiles, but it is fatal or at least slightly toxic to several species of animals, even to humans if we were to eat enough chocolate.
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Old 02-13-04, 10:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally posted by suckrpnch
I found a couple people talking about using a 'forest floor mix' that is made mostly of cocoa shells for their Gaboons.
The forest mix is made from ground <b>coconut</b> husk, not cocoa shells The chemical in the cocoa shells is theobromine (thanks Hilde ).
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Old 02-13-04, 02:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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" As a substrate I use a mixture of woodland soil and peat litter and a product called Terra d'or, which is a litter made of the crushed shells of cocoa-beans."

taken from an article written on this website:
http://www.venomousreptiles.org/articles/93

I have yet to find anything on this Terra d'or product.
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