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  • [Substrate] Cypress Mulch

    Hey all,

    I am about to change my baby BCI's substrate over to cypress mulch, and I have a question:

    I bought the mulch from a garden store - don't worry, I made sure it was pure cypress and not chemically treated! - and I'm wondering whether I should pre-treat it before putting it in her tank to get rid of anything unfriendly that could be in it (it's being stored outside, as it was at the garden store). I've heard of freezing it, baking it, and spraying it with PAM. Any thoughts whether pre-treating is necessary, and if so, what the best method is? (A note - freezing it would be very difficult for me, as our fridge's freezer is very small and very full!)

    Thanks!

    Hannah

  • #2
    Re: Cypress Mulch

    hannah, honestly I don't know how good or not good that would be for your snake. I would recommend sticking with stuff that is produced specifically for reptiles that you get from a pet store. You will be assured it has never even came into contact with any chemicals. I'd think that with it coming from a garden store it may have been sprayed by something else when they were using pesticides or anything of that nature. I freeze all my substrates, it is a sure way to kill any un-wanted parasites/mites/anything that you don't want your snake to contract. My suggestion would be if you can't freeze it then it's not worth the risk and stick to newspaper/cardboard sheet/paper towels or anything of that nature. You could bake it or use pam but it's alot of work and the inherent risks of burning very thin particls of bark is dangerous in itself, not like drift wood which would have a higher burn temp. That is just my .02 on it. I think the risks outweigh the benefits of a nice looking enclosure and the health of your snake should always take priority. I hope this helps and let us all know what you come up with.

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    • #3
      Re: Cypress Mulch

      I would have to agree that using mulch produced and sold for the sole intent of being used as substrate for reptiles is a safer bet. Mulch from a garden shop may not be chemically treated, but it will have a higher probability of having critters living in it. And of all of the critters I'd think that Springtails will be the most abundant. They are harmless to your reptile in that they eat decaying wood/leaf matter, but all living things produce waist, and even bugs that are otherwise harmless to reptiles can produce dangerous mounts of waist if their numbers are sufficient enough.

      You may also bring home ants, spiders, millipedes, and various forms of mites. Not all of these are harmful to your pet, but in my book I don't tolerate bugs in my snake cages. Period!

      As far as treating it: I'd suggest freezing it for about a week. If the bag won't fit in your freezer then fill large Ziplock backs full of mulch and put as many as you can in the freezer. Then when you are ready spray a layer of PAM (Provent A Mite) over the bottom surface of your cage, poor in your mulch, and then a layer over the top of the mulch wen it's in the cage. Let it stand for a minimum of an hour in a well ventilated area before introducing water or your reptile.

      Now, this should take care of any bugs or parasites in the mulch, but if there was a sufficient population there to begin with you still have their waist to contend with. And as Chaosboa mentioned there's the fact that being in a garden shop there is the possibility of the bag coming into contact with chemicals... fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc. Personally I'd be leery of using it.

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      • #4
        Re: Cypress Mulch

        I always spray with pam with every cleaning. Doesn't hurt nothing to do it and keeps my snakes mite free. I dunno much about treating the substrart as I just use aspen that I get from the pet shop.

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        • #5
          Re: Cypress Mulch

          I'd recommend a different course of action. Sevin Dust.

          While I have used, and many people recommend, PAM, I am not entirely comfortable with it. It is a neurotoxin, and will kill anything in high enough doses.

          Sevin Dust is also a pesticide, but an entirely different type. It is a Carbolic, which is harmless to Vertebrates. After conversations with several FDA licensed Pest Control Experts, Sevin Dust is harmless to anything that has a liver and kidneys, and the ability to filter it from its system. Invertebrates are unable to do this.

          I'd just sprinkle some over the mulch to get rid of any creepy crawlies. And the nice thing is: As long as it's present, its effective.
          "It is not my responsibility to live up to other people's perceptions of who I am. I am only responsible for living up to the standards I set for myself, to be the person I want to be."

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          • #6
            Re: Cypress Mulch

            Two words for ya:

            Aspen

            Newspaper

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            • #7
              Re: Cypress Mulch

              I use the cypress mulch from the garden store for over a year now and havent had any problems. I switched due the bugs I found in the repti bark I was using. The mulch I use says on it used for playgrounds, landscaping and animal use. it IS treated and like I said, I havent seen any bugs what-so-ever in any of the bags.

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              • #8
                Re: Cypress Mulch

                Anthony, you just gave plenty of reasons to NOT use mulch wthout even realizing it. Playgrounds, landscaping, and animal use? I highly doubt that it is used for SNAKES and I personnaly don't want my boas on somthing thatis safe for playgounds and landscaping! ha! Then you say it IS teated, what's it treated with? Don't confuse her, it's not recommend. Don't use it!

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                • #9
                  Re: Cypress Mulch

                  Here is a thread back from 2003.
                  It is the same stuff (same bag and all) that pet stores use and is is $5.
                  Same thing just marked up in price
                  http://www.redtailboas.com/forum/cag...en-center.html


                  As a matter of fact, this is exactly the brand. It says decay and insect resistant

                  http://www.kamlar.com/KamSMplaycyp.html

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cypress Mulch

                    Cypress Mulch is great. I use it for both my balls and boas. I use a brand that is double shredded. It's great for keeping the humidity up too.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Cypress Mulch

                      i've got ONE word for you...

                      newspaper






                      doesn't smell NEARLY as bad, it's cheap, and easily replaced.

                      i used cypress mulch for a while, and the smell just became unbearable; even with frequent spot-cleans and regular deep-cleans. mulch just smells funky, especially at higher humidities.

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