Cedar bark bad for some reptiles and amphibians?

sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)December 4, 2004

I just noticed that the FAQ says not to use cedar bark in vivariums, because it can really harm some of these critters. Is this true? If I had known that, I wouldnt have gotten cedar bark mulch for my substrate when i was re-doing my terrarium! I got it because it has those nice anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and it smells great, so I thought it would be so good, helping to keep the little future PDFs happy! I haven't come across this anywhere else though. And isn't that repti-bark sold in stores cedar bark chips? Does anyone know? Paul, since you wrote the FAQ, can you tell me more?

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brhdn(z6 TN)

Cedar and pine are toxic for reptiles. We don't have a terrarium but my husband is a reptile nut. What type of animals do you have in it? Some can use cypress mulch. My husband has snakes that live on it. You have to be really careful, little things you would never think about can seriosly harm your reptiles.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2004 at 10:52PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

I don't have any animals now, but I'd be getting amphibians, not reptiles. Is it safe for them?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2004 at 7:11PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Hello? Anyone know?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2004 at 7:40PM
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paul_(z5 MI)

Hi sahoy,
The warning against use of cedar chips is something I have come across both at kingsnake.com as well as various herp books. I had been doing a lot of reading back when I was researching geckos and snakes to not only decide which ones I wanted to keep but also to find out more about their cultural needs. All sources stressed not using cedar chips due to their toxic nature. Pdfs & other amphs, as I understand it, are even more succeptible since -- as I know you're aware -- they absorb things through their skin.

As I recall, the cedar chips I have seen offered in pet stores locally all indicate their use for litter in cages with mammals. Haven't seen any cedar recommended for herps.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 6:49PM
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brhdn(z6 TN)

I have a small zoo. My husband uses cypress mulch for his ball pythons and we can use cedar for our guinea pig and dogs. Have a turtle, had a frog once, and you can buy soil for them at PetSmart, and similar stores, that comes in a pkg about the size of a brick, just add water and it will expand to several times its size. This usually has listed on pkg what type of animals it's good for. Everything my husband has researched for his herps says that cedar is very toxic. So just as a rule of thumb we stay away from the use of cedar with any of our herps. By the way if you are able to use the cypress go to Lowe's or Home Depot to get it, bigger bags and MUCH cheaper. If you still need to research, go to kingsnake.com they have forums on just about any herp you could think of.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2004 at 10:26PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

I've never seen cypress mulch here in Canada. Only pine and cedar. both of which are bad. Blast it. . . now I have to replace it all before I can add any animals! And i don't even remember reading that anywhere when i was researching PDFs. . . as for the peat bricks, I don't want to use those. They decompose much too quickly. Thanks for all the help though. Now I know. . . =P

    Bookmark   December 13, 2004 at 9:43PM
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brhdn(z6 TN)

Try researching coconut bark. You can buy it in pet stores, though not as cheap as the mulch($10.00/bag here in TN). We quit using it because of the cost. I've noticed that several stores around here use it for their substrate. Might be worth checking on.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 2:31PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Yeah, I know that's good stuff, but too expensive for me. I'm on a newlywed budget. =) Been married two years, but whatever. . . I only use CHC with some of my orchids, because it really is great, and very environmentally friendly.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 7:25PM
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brhdn(z6 TN)

Is there a reason that you do not have cypress mulch in Canada? I know that there are sometimes regulations on certain items like that being taken into other countries. Check into this, if you are able to have the cypress let me know, would be willing to give up a bag or two that we have if you'd want to pay shipping.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2004 at 1:11AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Thank you for the offer, but I think the shipping would be exceedingly expensive! There probably isn't a specific reason that it's not common up here, other than that it's not a common wood up here. Pine and cedar are much more plentiful. I will have to look more closely this spring. If Home Depot doesn't have it, perhaps one of the more 'posh' nurseries will. Or landscaping companies.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 12:59AM
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brhdn(z6 TN)

Sorry, didn't think of that. Good luck with your search!!!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 9:55AM
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Do any of the stores up there sell the fake green carpeting material? It has to be changed about two or three times a month but it is a lot safer than cedar bark or pine bark. It also probably wouldn't be expensive to ship. My poison dart frog is okay with it.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2004 at 9:22PM
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viv_guy(z9 CA)

your best bet for PDF Vivariums would be to use soil; super soil is great as it's just that, no perlite or anything toxic or dangerous, also, milled sphagnum peat moss; this lowers the pH for that nice moss action and also hold water. use sand to make soil drainable.

you should want to establish the nitrogen cycle which will do a few things. one, help break down waste and two: feed the plants.
also you should be sure that your soil doens't come with animal waste or wormcastings.
if you opt for repti-bark or other off the shelf products, save your money instead. research soil mixes by looking at google.com for key words: Naturalistic Vivariums"
also, i've been adding to the soil a single layer of oak leaves. i wash them very good of course. they have tannins that help the soil, and some PDF's just love hiding and breeding in the liter.

what species are you interested in?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 4:14AM
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