Best Substrate??

DrGigglez666

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What is the best substrate to use for snakes?? Aspen bedding or something else?? :?
 

Mushroom Spore

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Pine and cedar are toxic to all small animals. Sand is extremely low-humidity, but even sand boas are generally not recommended to be kept on actual sand, because it can get into their nostrils, lungs, and mouth, and it's a monster to keep clean.

There's also the old standbys of reptile carpet, newspaper, or shelf liner, but that doesn't allow for burrowing if you've a burrowing species.
 

Mushroom Spore

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Um, yes that's true for ball pythons too, as they are snakes. :? I'm the same person who posted in your other thread, and I still encourage the use of particulate substrate like aspen shavings for burrowing snakes.
 

Cirith Ungol

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Whatever use it may be to you, barkshavings from Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine) work very well. Have had it for years for my large corns & medium corn and nothing bad has come of it. I'm not the only one to use that substrate and not few experienced snake keepers have recommended it as a very good substrate.

One thing to remember here is that the concentration in which I use them is a little lower than 100% bark since what I get about 1/4th soil mixed into the shavings. The shavings also include no wood, only bark! That is important to remember since the wood itself will have a much stronger smell than the bark itself.

I'm pretty certain that Picea abies (Norway Spruce) bark shavings also work well in slightly lower concentrations than 100%.

I want to know what it is you call "Pine" since often any tree of the Pinaceae gets bunched together.
 

Mushroom Spore

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I really wish people would stop using the "I've done it and nothing happened, so I'm declaring it safe" argument. :( It bothers me irrationally, to the point where I can't even be sure whether I think the person is wrong or it's just the argument itself that gets me. :D

http://www.afrma.org/rminfo2.htm
AFRMA - Both cedar and pine contain phenols-that's the stuff that makes them smell good. Phenols are caustic, poisonous, acidic compounds. These compounds cause constant irritation to the nasal passages, throat, and lungs of small animals giving bacteria an easy opening, thus commonly causing pneumonia. Phenols also affect organs such as the liver and kidneys, because these organs are responsible for filtering toxins out of the body. When presented with a large amount of toxins over time, they are unable to filter it all out and begin to fail. An animal with a damaged liver will have a depressed immune system, which can lead to other medical conditions.
http://www.trifl.org/cedar.shtml
Although wood chips may provide a natural means of insect and odor control, "natural" does not always mean safe. These same chemicals can also damage the respiratory tract, causing chronic respiratory disease, and asthma, and some studies have found an association between exposure to some wood dusts and oral cancers. The scientific literature on this topic is extremely clear, and unlike many studies of toxins, most of the scientific evidence regarding wood dust exposure has been conducted in humans rather than in laboratory animals since so many people work in the production of wood products.
And so on. :(
 

Cirith Ungol

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I can easily agree that there is a fine line between healthy and unhealthy. But don't you think the point it being bark, not the wood, makes a difference? I think it likely. In both your links the texts seem to be referring to the wood, rather than the bark.
 

beetleman

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i use aspen and coconut bark chips with never a problem,for my arboreals.
 

Matt K

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I have been using cypress mulch for the better part of 17 years without incident. Cheap, plentiful, good properties to it. Never had any reason to use anything else.... works great for me.
 

Sequin

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I use 50/50 peat moss and coco fiber for all of my snakes. Some would argue that it's an impractical substrate because the snakes have a higher chance of impaction. I feed f/t on a large area of thick newspaper and problem solved. The substrate makes humidity easy to maintain and it's a cinch to scoop up after the animal defecates. Not only that, but if you enjoy natural looking enclosures, like I do, it's a much nicer looking alternative then newspaper etc.

With that said, all new snakes are put on papertowel for the first three months in an isolation room. Peatmoss/coco fiber make's it hard to spot external parasites, and even harder to treat them. I also get frequent fecal floats done to test for internal parasites in new animals, obviously it's easier to obtain a sample if the snake's not on a fluffy substrate.
 

DrGigglez666

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never

I use 50/50 peat moss and coco fiber for all of my snakes. Some would argue that it's an impractical substrate because the snakes have a higher chance of impaction. I feed f/t on a large area of thick newspaper and problem solved. The substrate makes humidity easy to maintain and it's a cinch to scoop up after the animal defecates. Not only that, but if you enjoy natural looking enclosures, like I do, it's a much nicer looking alternative then newspaper etc.

With that said, all new snakes are put on papertowel for the first three months in an isolation room. Peatmoss/coco fiber make's it hard to spot external parasites, and even harder to treat them. I also get frequent fecal floats done to test for internal parasites in new animals, obviously it's easier to obtain a sample if the snake's not on a fluffy substrate.


sorry but id never use that as a substrate no offence but this is a snake man not a tarantula or scorp your talkin about. Id rather use aspen or newspaper sorry but i juss have 2!!
 

ZooRex

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I use mainly cypress mulch, its inexpensive, aboarbant, won't mold and looks natural. For my ball python, I usually mix in some potting soil as well. For more info on substrates, and keeping snakes in viaria get a hold of "the Art of Keeping Snakes." ~ Rex
 

Sequin

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but this is a snake man not a tarantula or scorp your talkin about.
What difference does it make? The substrate aids in meeting husbandry requirements for both snakes and tarantulas...

Ultimately the substrate you use is up to you, each one has its pros and cons. However, I've kept my snakes on coco/peat moss for years without any incidents.
 

AviculariaLover

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I've tried lots of different substrates for my snakes and by far my favorite is the cocofiber that you get in bricks.

Aspen shavings are good but can get nasty if the snake spills water, or if you need to spray often to keep up humidity. However I still use it for my sand boa because it holds the tunnels nicely. Bark chips look nice but gave two of my snakes scale rot. I've always stayed away from any sort of pine or cedar.

The cocofiber is *awesome* for my ball python because it can hold in some moisture to keep the humidity up without getting gross or moldy. I can leave parts of the tank dry, and others more humid, by spraying accordingly (so her hides are more humid, and the area right under the light will give off more humidity, etc.) And I also really like how it gives the tanks a more natural look. And my corn snake just LOVES to dig tunnels into it! I'm thinking of adding another few inches of substrate just so he can dig even more.

I feed all of my snakes outside of their enclosures so there is no worry about swallowing the substrate.

Whenever I've used newspapers or paper towels temporarily the snake just finds a way to get underneath and hide, which I find a little boring. I guess it depends how many snakes you have and how elaborate you want the cage to look. The snakes probably dont care too much, though I know a lot of them *do* like to have something to burrow into.
 

Beardo

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The only loose substrates I've ever been fond of using are cypress mulch or high grade aspen shavings. For most snakes, newspaper is just fine.
 
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