Wood/branch question

Ares05

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am hoarding plants and supplies to setup Amaro's cage once he is parasite free.. and I wanted to incorporate some actual branches. I know to avoid cedar and pine and things with sap. How would I go about sanatizing the wood? Do I have to remove the bark? Does the branch have to be dead, or can it be broken off the tree directly? (as you can see I have no idea lol)
 

Sammy Grigio

Established Member
There are a few different ways to skin this cat. No one way is better than the other so long as it renders the appropriate end result. Here's what I do:

1. Find branch - From live trees, driftwood (PREFERRED), dead wood etc...
2. Remove the bark - This is a preference and not a necessity. SOAK THE BRANCHES IN SALT WATER, peel the bark off.
3. Bake the branches in the oven to fully sterilize - You can also let them dry under direct sunlight for a day or two. I set the oven to 200 degrees. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!!
4. Arrange the branches to your liking in the enclosure.

Hope that helps.
 

JacksJill

Moderator
Staff member
I cut my branches directly from the tree and then let them dry. I soap and water wash them and then treat them with bleach, rinse very well and let them dry. I'm just trying to eliminate any E. coli or salmonella birds or other creatures may have left on them.
I prefer oak and other hard wood branches. Mulberry and ginkgo branches have not worked well for me.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
So, I'm of the bioactive persuasion. I don't clean any branches beyond a quick rinse and scrub if it's visibly dirty.

Rule of thumb that I use for foraging is to avoid fresh aromatic softwoods (pine, spruce, etc etc) or anything with visible sap. Anything else is fair game. I primarily harvest deadfall, but if you gather something green I'd recommend letting it dry out for a week or two. Just make sure where ever you get the wood from is pesticide/contaminant free, and you're good to go. Haven't had any issues in either of my bioactive vivs!
 

Ares05

Chameleon Enthusiast
We have alot of oak around the house, along with a ridiculous amount of pine. Its easy to tell the difference, though.

As for baking branches, would pouring boiling water over them multiple times work as well?
 

Sammy Grigio

Established Member
It would actually. I would however recommend that if you do that, rotate between HOT water and COLD water flushes. The drastic changes in temperature work to sterilize the branches......or anything else for that matter. I would say do three hot and three cold. Better safe than sorry.
 

nickeeyy

Member
I am hoarding plants and supplies to setup Amaro's cage once he is parasite free.. and I wanted to incorporate some actual branches. I know to avoid cedar and pine and things with sap. How would I go about sanatizing the wood? Do I have to remove the bark? Does the branch have to be dead, or can it be broken off the tree directly? (as you can see I have no idea lol)
Because we have an oak tree and it remains green year round, I break branches off abt. 18 inches w/ greenery and put mult. pieces in enclosure all which way. The branches are just a little wider than the 9 month old veil's grip so they are perfect not to mention strong and won't crumble under his weight. In fact, he loves them and b/c there are multiple leaves per branch there is a gazillion hiding places for him which he demands, ha
 

The Wild One

Chameleon Enthusiast
I go through tree trimmings (ours or the neighbors lol) and pick the ones most sturdy. I peel the bark off wash and soap them and let them dry in the sun.
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree totally with what @GoodKarma19 said.
I've never peeled, baked, bleached, etc branches ever and I don't think any chameleon I had suffered from it.
I never used branches from one cage to the other though...if the chameleon died...the branches were turfed...even if it died of old age.

Further adding onto this - very few of the microorganisms we have in NA, UK or Europe stand a chance of affecting our exotic pets. In fact, if anything it promotes a stronger immune system! The trick is foraging in safe areas. I do the same for my birds, and my parrot straight up strips branches. Adding all of these extra chemicals into the mix, in my mind, will do more harm than a few microbes or a couple bugs.
 

Sammy Grigio

Established Member
I should note that the process I employ is almost entirely for the aesthetic appeal it creates. I don't think I've ever thought twice about a bug or a critter in Alaska being harmful to an animal from Madagascar. The cold up here sterilizes EVERYTHING that touches the outside world. It was a toasty -10 degrees this morning. That's a few degrees warmer than average this time of the year.....
 

ZEROPILOT

Avid Member
I am hoarding plants and supplies to setup Amaro's cage once he is parasite free.. and I wanted to incorporate some actual branches. I know to avoid cedar and pine and things with sap. How would I go about sanatizing the wood? Do I have to remove the bark? Does the branch have to be dead, or can it be broken off the tree directly? (as you can see I have no idea lol)
I see you are in Florida....
If you're in south Florida, I have about a zillion feet of grape vine. Some straight. Some twisty. Some with varying diameters. You are welcome to cut off and take as much as youd like.
I've cut up the plants and will be chain sawing the whole thing apart soon.
 

Ares05

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yeah im like, as far away from south Florida you can possibly get, and still be in Florida. :(

Honestly though, you can never have too many branches :unsure:
 

Tinytort

Established Member
We have alot of oak around the house, along with a ridiculous amount of pine. Its easy to tell the difference, though.

As for baking branches, would pouring boiling water over them multiple times work as well?
I bake mine at 350 for 30 min check every 10 and let cool for 15 min or so. Easier and quicker than the other methods and also a sure easy to kill any bacteria etc.
 
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