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Posted by Doug T on January 27, 2003 at 06:47:16:
In Reply to: Re: I have to completely disagree with you on this... posted by Chris Ken on January 26, 2003 at 16:44:52:
: I didn't realize (no one specified) that we were talking about "peat" soil. There are different types of moss.
Sphagnum and peat moss are different and I should have made that clarification. So to Greg: If you are using Sphagnum moss in your snakes hide, stop. In my experience in using it for hide boxes, well, I don't know, I've never used sphagnum in a hide box. If you are using peat moss, do continue. It is an ideal substrate medium to use that will mimic what Eastern Indigos spend most of their lives in, a damp hole in the ground.
: I have had completely healthy snakes that occasionally soak before a shed and I don't believe this is necessarily a warning sign that something is wrong with the snake, although I don't rule it out.
Specifically speaking of Eastern Indigos, soaking is a sign that something is wrong and it is almost always too much heat. As for “snakes”, I have some that will soak for weeks on end and I consider that a good sign. If an Eastern Indigo is soaking, it is time to re-evaluate your husbandry conditions.
: Also I find it amazing that your snakes never pass feces or urates in their hide boxes. I wish I could teach mine to exercise such discipline.
They come out of the hide and use a corner or water dish, then go back into the hide. Maybe it’s a drymarchon thing. There’s no trick, they just don’t do it often. Even when they do, it's an easy clean up.
: Lastly, if there are urates in the peat that you are keeping damp or wet, how would you know?
I’m starting to suspect you don’t keep Eastern Indigos. How could you NOT know an indigo has passed? The thing that keeps indigos from being “perfect” is that their turds smell like all things unholy mixed with a sprinkling of nuclear fallout and skunk dung. Their urates are just as bad. Of course you would know.
: I guess my point is that I can't remember the last time I had a problem with snakes going through bad sheds (retained eye caps especially) and I've never had to use specialized tricks or habits to help them shed.
Damp peat moss in a hide box is not a specialized trick or habit. It’s simple, cheap, safe and extremely effective. It creates a living condition that is as close to identical as an Eastern Indigos natural hide, Gopher Tortoise Burrows, as you can get inside a cage.
:If you keep the humidity/moisture level in the surrounding atmosphere of the snakeroom (humidifier?) at a comfortable level, you should be able to eliminate the problem.
Are you trying to say that running a humidifier everyday is easier and more effective than keeping a tub of damp peat moss in the cage, that the indigo will go to instinctively...
I live in Seattle…I vent my clothes drier directly into my house. I keep my indigos in cages that have large, 8-12 quart, water dishes. If I keep my indigo cages damper, the aspen starts to mold (unlike the peat moss in the hide) and mildew begins to grow on the ceiling of the cage. The damp hide is the easiest and best way to solve a problem that Eastern Indigos are specifically prone to.
I have also tried damp peat in the hidebox with my Texas Indigo and found it unnecessary. The ambient humidity was adequate to provide for good, complete sheds.
:It is my experience that most snakes will lay in their waterbowl if they are either too dry to shed or too hot.
Like you said earlier, I’d like your snakes to teach that to my indigos. I suppose you could get an indigo to soak prior to a shed by turning the heat up too high…that is unless you ever want them to breed…wait, what about winter when there usually is little to no supplementary heat in a cage. Hmmm…seems we have a problem…
:It's important to have a sufficient amount of clean water at all times. Usually if I want more moisture in the cage, I'll place a larger water supply close to the heat source.
And in winter your cage will STILL be too dry because you keep the heat off. You also create a situation where mold and mildew will grow on the sides and ceiling of the cage.
: Moss also encourages the growth of mildew and fungus in a very short period of time.
Pretty sweeping statement, and quite incorrect. Come on over to my house and look inside the hide boxes of my indigos who have been sitting in hide boxes with damp peat moss…and have been doing so for almost their entire lives.
: If you are adamant about using moss, you should change it every day.
Pure and absolute hogwash. I’ll admit it to EVERYONE right here for you. I never change the peat unless I see urates or feces. I moisten it and mix it. Not every day mind you, but only when it’s dirty. Since my indigos don’t usually pass urates or feces in their hides often, that means I change it a couple times a YEAR. The damp peat in the hide will last many times longer than the rest of the substrate in the cages.
Chris, honestly tell me… Do you keep Eastern Indigos?
I’m asking this because you are telling a new keeper of that specific species to NOT do what has proven to be effective for many successful Indigo keepers. I have had indigos for quite a while and more than a few keepers out there are keeping their indigos exactly like I do and having successful daily care and reproduction.
Your claims about the dangers of peat are proven wrong daily in my snake room and in the cages of folks who use my caresheet as a platform for the care of their indigos. It is a proven "cure" for retained eyecaps.
But what would I know.