best substrait

ironmonkey78

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what is the best substrait for snakes. ive got 2 corns, 1 sinaloan milk, and a king snake that im keeping on aspen. ive been feeding them on this but someone told me this can cause binding. is there another substrait that is better?
 

Midnightrdr456

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yes feeding on substrate can cause problems. Its not often but it does happen often enough to not do it. Personally I keep my snakes on paper towels (more absorbent and attractive than newspaper in my opinion), so its much easy to clean when ever the defecate and I can just feed them in their enclosures.

I have a King Snake and Corn Snake both about 14-15 years old (maybe 12 for the corn, i forget exactly when i got him). I also have a 5' young female boa constrictor also being kept on paper towels.
 

AviculariaLover

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Aspen is fine for keeping the snakes on, but you do want to feed them outside their enclosures in a shoebox or something. This way they not only don't get substrate in their mouths, but they dont automatically associate you reaching into the cage with "mouse time!!!". I started getting lazy and began feeding my corn snake in his cage and whenever I'd reach in, he'd go into a strike pose, ready for that mouse... so now he's back into his cardboard box for feeding time. Same with my eastern milks.

If you still want to feed in the cage, your best bet would be paper towels or newspaper. Or you could simply lay a piece of paper towel, etc, onto the substrate and place the mouse onto it and hope the snake doesnt drag it off.
 

roach dude

Arachnobaron
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I heard that newspapers ant too good. IF water spills onto the newspapaer the ink is poisinous. Probs not great to feed on because if fluid leaked from the mouse might harm the snake?
 

Mushroom Spore

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Not binding, the word is "impaction." I'm not sure what binding is, unless they mean egg-binding which is something VERY different. {D

What the others said--aspen is an awesome substrate, just feed the snakes in a seperate container so they don't eat it.
 

Avic_Addict

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Actually the ink contains a mild antiseptic agent, which is why newspaper is so good for reptiles recovering from surgery. You don't really think the newspaper companies would get away with selling millions of potentially 'poisonous' papers everyday do you?:D
 

Midnightrdr456

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feeding int he enclosure creating habits of opening means food is a myth imo. I have a 5' boa, and 2 other snakes and all are fed in their enclosures, none have ever bit me or even gone into the pose
 

Takumaku

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It's all a matter of personal preference. There is no true 'best substrate' for reptiles. How natural of a design do you want vs. the cost vs. the length of time you spend maintaining it will dedicate which substrate you plan to use.

If you want a bare-bone cage that is very easy to clean, newspaper is the preferred substrate. I use this for my breeders.

If not and you don't mind feeding in a separate area, anything else can be used, except cedar or pine.

Note: feeding in a separate area is preferred to reduce the likelihood of impaction.
 

compnerd7

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Aspen is fine for keeping the snakes on, but you do want to feed them outside their enclosures in a shoebox or something. This way they not only don't get substrate in their mouths, but they dont automatically associate you reaching into the cage with "mouse time!!!". I started getting lazy and began feeding my corn snake in his cage and whenever I'd reach in, he'd go into a strike pose, ready for that mouse... so now he's back into his cardboard box for feeding time.
lol that reminds me of a feew weeks ago, my sister has a boa and i told her to feed it outside of it's cage, but she wouldn't listen to me and has been feeding it in it's cage for a while now. well, a few weeks ago she reaches in there and he bites her pretty good cause he was hungry, then about a week later he does the same thing... that's what u get for teaching your snakes bad habbits!;P
 

Midnightrdr456

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this is again going off on instance and making a judgement on it. I have seen many more snakes that eat in their enclosures and DONT snap than do. I know of several people with 20+ snakes all eating in their enclosures and never being bitten. I know of people who feed outside and have been when reaching in.
 

jr47

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i always used newspaper. it wont hurt your snake.
as far as feeding, i always fed in tank because some of my ball pythons would refuse food when i took them to a separate tank. i never once had any problems with snakes striking because of it. and i kept snakes for a bit over ten years. boa's and pythons. i actually had one large boa to where she would let me hold her meal and just start eating it. no strike, she would check it out, open wide and start eating. if i moved she would freak out and jerk it away. but it took about 4 years before that happened and she was still very nervous about it.
i actually thought it was pretty cool. the first few years i had her you didnt go near her when she had food cause she would have a hissy fit.
 

Snake_Eyes

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I use aspen for my ball python and I feed in it's enclosure, I put newspaper over the substrate when feeding though.
 

Taceas

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I highly recommend aspen bedding for colubrids. Its soft and allows the snakes to tunnel in it, moisture absorbent, absorbs odors, looks nice, and is easy to spot clean. With a one piece substrate, when the snake poops it looks and smells awful and needs to be changed immediately. With aspen, you clean up the poop clumps and its fine for a couple of months till it needs a whole new cleaning.

Newspaper is about the worst for corns I can imagine. All of mine when on it for one reason or another always managed to either wad it up in the water bowl which wicked the water out in the tub, or got in under it and pooped and smeared it all over the bottom of the cages. Newspaper seems to work better for the larger snakes that don't move around as much as corns, imho.

Most newspaper these days is printed with a soy based ink, because the previous inks contained heavy metals to give them the colors. But still I don't really think they're all that great when you have part of an editorial "printed" on the underside of your snake because it got moist and laid on one spot for a while. ;)

Feeding in the enclosure is your own decision, I can't tell you not to. I do it every now and then when I'm feeling lazy, but I also take the proper precautions to prevent them from ingesting the aspen and becoming impacted. I lay the food item on a deli cup lid or paper plate and place it in the tub. 9 times out of 10 they'll eat it without dragging it off the plate. But most times I will put them in an empty bottomed tub for feeding, as usually I weigh them prior to feedings as well.

Some snakes can be habituated to "open lid = food = chomp anything that comes in", some don't. Granted a corn snake isn't going to do much damage if it does bite you when mistaking you for food, but its a chance I don't want to take with my adult male boa, so he always gets fed in another enclosure.

Most of my corns seem to know the difference in smell between a hand and food, anyway. I always put my hand partially in the tub and remain motionless for them to sniff and tongue-flick at it and usually when I go ahead and grab, nothing bad happens.
 

Goomba

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I don't really keep snakes, but I hear Aspen Shavings and the likes work wonderful. However, I'm a purist, so I prefer the enclosure to look natural, so I think a clean and low maintanence substrate would work. If you don't need alot of moisture retention, then I'd say some nice reptile grass/carpet with some realistic hiding spotes and foliage to slither under.
 

Beardo

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I use paper substrate for my snakes...never been a big fan of loose substrate. Its more of a hassle then its worth IMO.
 

roach dude

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Actually the ink contains a mild antiseptic agent, which is why newspaper is so good for reptiles recovering from surgery. You don't really think the newspaper companies would get away with selling millions of potentially 'poisonous' papers everyday do you?:D
Its just something i heard a reptile keeper talk about in his shop. Realy an antiseptic thats pretty cool.
 

Avic_Addict

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Its just something i heard a reptile keeper talk about in his shop. QUOTE]

If that happens to be a Mr Blake of ReptileZone then you'd do well to ignore anything he says. His reputation isn't as squeeky-clean as he'd like people to think.
 

Heather

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Just the thread I was looking for!

I currently have 2 Black Rat Snakes... they are on Zilla Fir and Sphagnum Moss Mix. I like the look of the tank... but worry about the dust and such. I am wanting to go with the Aspen, but what do I get? The Zoomed stuff that is just for snakes or can I just get the stuff from the small pet section at Wal-Mart? Is there a difference in the 2?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

Mushroom Spore

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I am wanting to go with the Aspen, but what do I get? The Zoomed stuff that is just for snakes or can I just get the stuff from the small pet section at Wal-Mart? Is there a difference in the 2?
I'm not sure what brand "the stuff" is...you'd have to look at the packaging yourself. Generally, aspen is aspen is aspen and there's not really any kind of secret difference. However, anything labeled with something like "no aromatic oils" or "unscented" is going to be better for the animal. (I actually don't know if there IS such a thing as aspen with the aromatic oils, or if it's just that some brands add them. But every package I've ever bought specifically says it doesn't have 'em, and that's always preferable.)
 

Taceas

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Generally aspen is aspen, the only difference is price. Although some brands are known to be more problematic than others.

Kaytee is one brand a lot of people don't like the smell of and tend to be allergic to. To me, it just smells like, well....wood. It doesn't smell like pine or cedar, it just smells like tongue depressors and popsicle sticks, a benign wood smell. Unfortunately, its the only brand of aspen I can find locally. I've been using it for years with snakes and rodents with no problems whatsoever.

The other brands by Zoomed or T-Rex are just as good, but you seem to pay considerably more for a smaller amount. "Ooo, its in a pretty package, it must be worth double the price!"

If your Petco/Petsmart carries it, T-Rex I believe it is, makes a smaller aspen product called Sani-chips, some farm stores sell the PJ Murphy brand of Sani-Chips in large bags as well. They're like confetti sized pieces of aspen, they're really soft, dust-free, and great in a snake enclosure. They act like clumping kitty litter and clump around poops and make them easier to remove. The only downside is, don't feed in the enclosure because they're small enough to stick to the food items without a doubt and are easily ingested.

Most people I know use the stuff Walmart carries and have no problems from it either. Our Walmart only carries pine and cedar, so I have no clue what the price is but I would probably buy it as Petsmart and Kaytee are insanely priced.

Whatever brand you settle on, turn the bag over and look for large accumulations of dust inside the bag. Excessive wood dust, even aspen, can cause clogged nostrils and respiratory infections. I usually take all the big bales off the shelf at Petsmart and look them all over for shaving quality consistency and dust...and it never fails, the best ones are always in the back. ;)

Btw, Aspen is a deciduous tree in the Poplar family, so it has no aromatic oils at all. Some people swear up and down its a conifer, which it isn't even closely related to.
 
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