Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

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Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby Serpent » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:12 pm

A while back I read a thread on FBook, which I now cannot find. A seemingly well versed lady was explaining the fact that pine shavings are bad for snakes, it affects their lungs. Is this so? And if so does it mean that the pine bark I use in some of my cages is also bad for them?
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby Lillypod » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:22 pm

I know it so for rodents, but not sure about snakes, as a general rule I don't use pine shavings just to be safe.
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby Uromastyx » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:26 pm

Most of the care sheets that I have downloaded say that pine is bad for snakes.
I think it is the oil in the pine that is bad for the reptiles. If your bark is dry I don't think it will harm them.
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby Bushviper » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:49 pm

I have used pine shavings with no ill effect. There are numerous types of pine trees and some have more gum and resins than others. The shavings we get are from wood which has been dried in a kiln so they are pretty safe. If it smells strong just run it under some water and leave it in the sun to dry out. That should be fine.
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby jka » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:59 am

I have used pine shavings for my snakes for years now and have never had any problems because of it.

And I use pine shavings for all my rodents, they breed like flies, so again no Ill effect.

Even on Creature and Critters website I read that they use pine shavings, and they are one of S.A's biggest reptile breeders.
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby Lillypod » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:43 am

I'm talking about people who keep rodents as pets - those that want their pets to live as long as possible, people who breed for food don't really care if a rat lives more than 3 years or not because they will be fed to snakes after a while when they do not reproduce that much anymore. Pine shavings cause respiratory infections that cause your rats to sneeze and it irritates the lungs and eyes, any good small mammal vet will be able to tell you this. I have had rats all my life and those in the beginning (those that were kept in shavings) sneezed and had red stuff (not blood) on their noses and eyes, the rats I have now (I use a combination of cat litter, shredded paper and old clothes) barely ever sneeze and none have those red stuff. I got my first 2 (that I have now) from the pet shop, where they were kept in pine shavings, and they were sneezing a lot from the first day I got them. It also sounded like they had water on their lungs. I took them to the vet and the first thing he asked is do I use pine shavings. He said he could put them on Baytril, but it will clear up by itself because they are not in pine shavings anymore and it did clear up. I am a rodent lover and while I do like snakes, I do not have any, because personally I cannot feed them, so I won't be able to take care of them, I do love lizards though.
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby Smeegle » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:54 am

I once kept a rat as a pet and only ever used pine shavings in his cage. He eventually died a natural death after 3 years and during that time he never suffered any health problems at all.
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby ColinWa » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:09 am

I think as BV said, once it's been washed in water and dried out again it'll be fine, any excess wood dust will also be removed. My GF has never had a problem with pine shavings and rats / Mice either.
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Re: Pine shavings - Bad for reptiles

Postby Bushviper » Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:58 am

Lillypod wrote:I have had rats all my life and those in the beginning (those that were kept in shavings) sneezed and had red stuff (not blood) on their noses and eyes, the rats I have now (I use a combination of cat litter, shredded paper and old clothes) barely ever sneeze and none have those red stuff.


What you had was a type of mite than invades the soft tissues, and the rats or mice scratch themselves till they bleed. That is really poor stock to start with. They need to be treated or euthanased as it is really bad for your animals.

The quality of wood shavings is important when you are going to use it. The type of pine is also relevant although unless you harvest it yourself you will never know.
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