Repti bark/ bark in general

nickeeyy

Member
Those new to the game be careful with or don't use the stuff at all. Thinking it was a good substrate proved wrong (I'm new to the game too) ! Our cham. was feasting on crickets, saw one on the bark, shot her tongue & connected w/ a small piece of bark instead. I just so happened to see the event taking place & when I saw her tongue connect w/ the bark & not the cricket, I immediately threw my hand in the enclosure to create some chaos. Luckily, upon seeing my hand coming at her quick she hissed & consequently spit the bark out! Bad, bad bad ...

We all know the procedure had she swallowed it ...

So many of you already know & this is just to reaffirm the fact that bark can be deadly (impaction) & therefore don't use it. We use paper towels & nothing more, nothing less. Works great ...
 

salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
You are right!! If you want to use substrate, cover it with screen and fasten the screen down
 

Ruthless

Avid Member
It’s always more safe not to use any substrate. As you just learned first had and also with no substrate makes it easier for cleaning and and keeping sanitary. The only time I would ever consider using substrate is if u was going bioactive.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
So this post got me thinking. :unsure: While I am on board with bioactive or bare floor being best, in terms of posing risk for impaction, how is this prevented with a bioactive vivarium? I have river rocks covering the dirt of my plants, yet have nice big lay bins full of sand and soil. Just curious about the inconsistency regarding impaction risk. I’m guessing there isn’t any real answer here.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
My top layer is Reptisoil and then a layer of oak leaves on top of that. I never even see my chameleon use the bottom vines/branches of the enclosure except for bedtime.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
So this post got me thinking. :unsure: While I am on board with bioactive or bare floor being best, in terms of posing risk for impaction, how is this prevented with a bioactive vivarium? I have river rocks covering the dirt of my plants, yet have nice big lay bins full of sand and soil. Just curious about the inconsistency regarding impaction risk. I’m guessing there isn’t any real answer here.
That's a good question, nothing about it being bioactive affects the impaction risk. It's just that a good bio substrate usually takes into account using appropriate substrate. You could have a layer of just plain peat and there wouldn't be anymore of a risk. The main impaction risk is eating simply ridiculous things in large amounts, like pieces of reptibark or gravel, just like that wouldn't be good for a person. Like @Tony_S mentioned having reptisoil, I like to have a thin 1" layer of small particle sifted soil/mushroom compost/etc... anything with small grains. Also, the only time impaction tends play a large role is with dehydrated/ill animals.

Impaction in general is one of those things that gets passed down even though the risk for the average knowledgeable keeper is very low. IMO the benefits of bio substrate and cons of barebottom outweigh the very small chance a mouthful of dirt causes a problem. If you noticed, most European keepers keep all of their animals this way(on bio). It's only caught on more recently in the US.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
That's a good question, nothing about it being bioactive affects the impaction risk. It's just that a good bio substrate usually takes into account using appropriate substrate. You could have a layer of just plain peat and there wouldn't be anymore of a risk. The main impaction risk is eating simply ridiculous things in large amounts, like pieces of reptibark or gravel, just like that wouldn't be good for a person. Like @Tony_S mentioned having reptisoil, I like to have a thin 1" layer of small particle sifted soil/mushroom compost/etc... anything with small grains. Also, the only time impaction tends play a large role is with dehydrated/ill animals.

Impaction in general is one of those things that gets passed down even though the risk for the average knowledgeable keeper is very low. IMO the benefits of bio substrate and cons of barebottom outweigh the very small chance a mouthful of dirt causes a problem. If you noticed, most European keepers keep all of their animals this way(on bio). It's only caught on more recently in the US.
Interesting...thanks for the explanation.
 

JackRipper

Avid Member
I've always used Pete moss in its dirt form not the green stringy form and sand mix as a top soil I tried Calci sand/petemoss in my males enclosures cause they love eating dirt so I figure the extra calcium would be of benefit as I'm sure they are seeking minerals in the dirt. Red earth-(clay dirt) is a favorite as it has all the minerals that they are craving same as some parrots do, I don't use it due to possible contaminants and i try to deter dirt binging.. I've always done bioactive, as long as you minimize the risk of impaction and choking on larger chunks of bark or any other substrate and keep your chams hydrated you shouldn't have any problems. Most cases of impaction are caused by bark chunks, aquarium rock (smh) and fake leaves. Some keepers give a small drop of fish oil monthly to aid in breaking up impaction. I've never had a problem with it but I feed a very wide variety of feeders and vegetables. I've been breeding for over 15 yrs and have only ever seen one death by impaction a baby veiled I sold to a girlfriend that ignored my advice and used bark. I've seen another baby chameleon that choked to death on a piece of bark, upon examining the body still green black eyes and a strange black shape at the base of the throat that outlined the small chunk of bark wich somehow became wedged in the airway. This was at pet smart Or *Petdumb.
 
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