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Old 04-28-2005, 05:14 AM   #1
eating substrates or verm

hello all i have a question about my breeding female raya or any leopard for that matter. i have seen her picking up vermiculite in her mouth, chew it up, and spit it out she is also ingesting some as i can see from her feces.

my questions are why and is it bad for her? (it hasnt seemed to be a problem)
is she looking for more vitamins/miminerals than im providing?(i dust evrythng)
is it just behaviour?

i have seen in any cage set up with a substrate whether it be sand or even fine gravel (ive seen in one cage where the leo seemed to drop mostly the substrate) that they just tend to eat the substrate.
i only use paper towels and vermiculite only in my lay box/moist hide but i imagine they see the verm the same as the others see their bedding/substrate
Old 04-28-2005, 05:52 AM   #2
That doesn't sound too good. Not sure what to suggest though as they have to have a particle substance in the lay box. It will be interesting to see what comes up here.
Old 04-28-2005, 11:46 AM   #3
I had problems with the eating the vermiculite too so I switced to eco earth coconut fiber and haven't had any more problems.
Old 04-28-2005, 12:34 PM   #4
Originally Posted by dragonflyreptiles
I had problems with the eating the vermiculite too so I switced to eco earth coconut fiber and haven't had any more problems.
I have never used vermic in my lay boxs, but with the coconut fiber I have never had any probs either.
Old 04-28-2005, 01:05 PM   #5
Scott Nellis
Talking substrate for Leos

Try using chicken grit (calcium carbonate), available at feed stores. It has the consistancy of medium fine gravel....the Leos can dig in it if they want...and if they ingest it, it's calcium so it shouldn't be a problem. It's also very cheap...about $3 for a 50# bag!!

Scott Nellis
Old 04-28-2005, 01:23 PM   #6
Scott, Ill have to check that out, we have tons of feed stores here! thanks!
Old 04-28-2005, 01:30 PM   #7
Noooooo, that is just wholesale Calci-sand! We all know why calci-sand is not good, right?

Eating up the substrate can definitely mean they are craving minerals, and not just calcium. Sticky Tongue Farm's Miner-All has calcium plus a lot of trace minerals that might help their craving. I suggest giving them Miner-All "O" (without D3) in their calcium dish. I'd also switch from vermic to coconut fiber. I've never had any trouble with coco fiber in the lay boxes either. Other than they make a mess
Old 04-28-2005, 01:35 PM   #8
ooooo cali sand sucks, won't call the feed store then lol
Old 04-28-2005, 01:42 PM   #9
Scott Nellis
Talking I beg to differ...

Um, no I don't think so....That Cal-sand stuff is different. Chicken grit is pure calcium carbonate.....just like the little calcium vitamin pill you swallow if you don't get enough dairy in your diet. There is no silica in chicken grit. By the way, I was told to use calcium carbonate by a breeder that raises TONS of far, I haven't had any problems. Oh, also....I do agree that coconut fiber is also a good substrate. I use it for my day gecko tanks. I also agree that the Leos in question are probably lacking some minerals other than calcium and that using Miner-all (or similar products) is a good idea.

Scott Nellis
Old 04-28-2005, 01:51 PM   #10
Scott, there is no silica in Calci-sand, it is pure calcium carbonate, just the size of medium fine gravel as you describe. Many people have had problems with their leos kept on Calci-sand getting impacted with it, including me. It seems that if the leo eats too much of it at one time, which they readily do, it can sit partially digested in their stomachs like a giant Tums, halting further digestion and creating a cement-like blockage. Leos have died of it. But I don't want to get into an argument with you over it, becuase yes, some people (including breeders like you say) use it and have had no problems. I just wanted to point out to Wendy (whom I know doesn't want to use Calci-sand) that that is what you were describing...

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