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Feed, Caging, Supplies & Services Discussions concerning the feeding requirements of any of our critters, the cages they need to live in while in our care, and all of the supplies and services needed to do this right.

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Old 06-30-2009, 06:13 PM   #1
Substrate question

Hey guys. I have been trying different types of substrate for years now, and I have stuck to old fashion newspaper for a while now. Whats new out there? What is the BEST, cheap substrate? Any ideas? I know the toxic ones, like pine, cedar etc, but what about aspen, cypress etc?

Old 06-30-2009, 06:48 PM   #2
I use Aspen Sani-chips and haven't found anything that works better for me.
Old 06-30-2009, 07:05 PM   #3
I use bath towels.

They hold moisture well, but don't retain it for so long that it grows things. They're washable. They come in a million different colors.

The only thing you have to watch out for is the detergent you use to wash them. You must use a hypo-allergenic no dyes, no perfumes detergent. I also use a cup of bleach, even though they're darks, I'll still use the bleach to make sure any unwanted bugs are dead.
Old 07-01-2009, 05:02 AM   #4
I like using the newspaper. For the species that like to bury themselves I use the aspen.
Old 07-01-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
I have used aspen for my BP's untill my mom started working at a printing comp. She gets dibbs on the rolls of paper that are to small to leave in the printer. I have access to several sizes as well as grades. Since I now get the paper for free I will be getting less aspen as i am switching my animals over to a rack and I have rolls of paper that hit like a glove. I had no problem with the aspen however.
Old 07-01-2009, 03:10 PM   #6
Over the past 20 years, I've used several different types of materials and have found the following results:

•Carefresh - tends to mold and have too much dust for my liking and cost is much higher than most other substrates.
•Carpets - way too much time and effort in cleaning and difficult to properly disinfect to prevent the spread of diseases.
•Newspaper or paper products – this is the best alternative as far as cost and maintaining a disease free environment but more time intensive with larger snakes since you often have to remove the snake to clean the cage.
•Aspen chips - very effective and can be cleaned in clumps but I’ve had issues in the past with items being stuck between the lips and the boas teeth when feeding. Since I breeder many boas, it’s not possible to feed outside the cage and therefore, I’ve stopped using this product. Others have claimed good success and may be a good alternative.
•Pellet pine shavings – This is used by horse breeders and appear to be a good cheap solution but it’s heavy and as it breaks down tends to have a lot of dust. I used it for approximately a year.

So what do I use now?
•For large Boas – I use shredded aspen and look for the ones with larger 1/2 in particles which have less amounts of dust and stay away from the fine shredded aspen like Harlan. This is also the preferred choice of many of the larger Boa breeders.
•For babies and snakes kept in anything in containers up to a CB70, I use Chipboard pads cut to the appropriate size. I purchase mine from but I’m sure it can be purchased from many other places. This product is a great liner that maintains its form and provides quick and easy cleanup. Most of the time, the urine doesn’t pass thru to the container. I don’t prefer it with larger Boas as I prefer to leave my breeders undisturbed and especially pregnant females and why I prefer the shredded aspen on them.

One final note, regardless of substrate used, I disinfect cages with Par-volan 128 according to directions to ensure that pathogens are destroyed. This stuff is great and used by many vets. For most applications it can be wiped off without rinsing. For previously used tubs and cages that are going to have a new occupant, I use Tek-Trol 256. The Tek-Trol requires a ten minute application and thorough rinsing but is much more effective at penetrating crevices for disinfecting pathogens. There’s another disinfectant called F-10 which is as effective as the other two items but safe enough that it can be inhaled. In fact, it’s used with a nebulizer to treat respiratory infections in reptiles and birds. Very expensive, otherwise, I’d use it exclusively.
All three items destroy pathogen common to reptile keeping including Salmonella. Since its effective against the AIDS retrovirus, its assumed that this would be effective against IBD.
Hope that helps.
Old 07-02-2009, 02:03 PM   #7
Aspen is what I have been considering, I used it a long time ago but I can't remember quite how it worked. I thank you all for your advise. I am going to give aspen a try since I have mostly larger boas anyway. It is hard to remove the snake completey each time to clean its enclosure.

Old 07-03-2009, 09:38 PM   #8
Originally Posted by DAND View Post
I use Aspen Sani-chips and haven't found anything that works better for me.
Were do you get it at?
Old 07-04-2009, 05:20 AM   #9
Originally Posted by reptile_jones View Post
Were do you get it at?
Through a friend of mine.
Old 08-11-2009, 01:48 PM   #10
Aspen is working great so far. A little messy when pulling out the snake(s), but I am customizing my cages to better suite the aspen.



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