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Old 08-02-18, 04:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Using fabric in an enclosure?

I have a large enclosure for my new Jungle Carpet python, which originally had bamboo fencing stapled onto the back and sides for the Chinese Water Dragon that used to call it home. However, the JCP quickly decided that wedging himself between the bamboo and the back wall was great fun. So I'm now looking for a new background so it's not just boring wood. I'm not crafty, so a DIY foam background isn't an option. I want something with a jungle scene, and my first thought was to design a vinyl banner (I'm in the printing world), but then I realized that vinyl may not be safe with fumes and all. Now I'm wondering about using a fabric shower curtain. I found a cute one on Amazon that's 100% polyester. Does anyone have any advice on whether that would be a safe material to hang inside a snake enclosure? Any other easy and relatively cheap ideas?
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Old 08-02-18, 05:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Using fabric in an enclosure?

In addition to keeping herps, I also do a fair amount of sewing and have worked in several fabric stores.

Fabrics used for clothing and home dec items are always sprayed with a chemical preparation called "sizing" (it's like starch but it's more resinous and is often plastic based) by the manufacturers in order to stiffen the fabric for easier cutting and sewing and make the finished product look "crisper". It also fills in the gaps in cheap, low thread count fabrics to make them appear more densely woven than they are. Because fabrics are often "sized" before they're dyed or printed, as in the case of camouflaging cheap fabric, the sizing doesn't always come out in the laundry. I don't know how safe that would be for a reptile enclosure. Some people have allergic reactions or eczema because of sizing in fabrics so, personally, I wouldn't risk it.

Also, because of the nooks and crannies inherent in the threads used in woven fabric, it has the potential to grow mold and mildew, as well as harbor bacteria, when kept in a humid environment. That being said, however, I do keep a 6 foot length of silk pothos vine in my BRB's viv, but that was made specifically for use in reptile habitats and I haven't seen any sign of mold or mildew growing on it.

I would stick with fabric decor items made specifically for reptile enclosures.
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Last edited by phenyx; 08-02-18 at 05:50 PM..
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Old 08-03-18, 07:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Using fabric in an enclosure?

Better idea to put shelves or branches along the back for climbing, and use plastic or silk plants to fill in some of the bare spots if you're going for appearance as well as something useful for the snake. Carpets typically prefer something off the floor to rest on IME.
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Old 08-04-18, 03:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Using fabric in an enclosure?

Thanks for the info. I'll skip that idea. Now to find a ton of good branches.
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Old 08-05-18, 08:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Using fabric in an enclosure?

I saw some posts several years ago from a girl who made fabric hammocks for her corn snake. As long as the fabric is removable and washed regularly it shouldn't be a problem. Even bedding/substrate can be an issue if it's left too long. Regular maintenance is always critical regardless of the material.
Branches are easier though, if they get too crusty simply toss them out and replace with fresh ones, lol.
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