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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I know that this is a problem with reptile products, companies making bedding out of Cedar and Pine and completly disregarding the fact that it is toxic and causes a plethora of repritory and mouth problems including oral cancer. Now the info that I am providing does come from a site based on Rat keeping, but it is a good example of the problems associated with these beddings/products made from Cedar/Pine Wood/Bark.

Anything wrapped in [....] tags in the quote was added by me, but all credit for any of theses quotes will be provided at the end of the post, and the numeric system provided is so I can put down the sources for each individule quote.

1.
Many pet owners, breeders and pet retailers favor wood chips as pet bedding for a variety of reasons. Most wood chips are inexpensive and depending on the wood used, wood chips can provide natural insecticidal, bactericidal or bacteriostatic properties. Such bedding can often kill or inhibit the spread of fleas, mites or other pests, and the resins and other aromatic chemicals emitted by the chips help to control pet odors. With all of these advantages, pet stores often sell prepackaged starter kits for housing small pets [Yes even reptile starter kits] complete with a supply of wood chips for bedding. Many people have used cedar and pine chips as bedding for these reasons. Wood from western red cedar (Thuja plicata) has one of the most potent insecticidal compounds, which accounts for its popularity to repel or kill clothes' moths.
2.
There is strong scientific evidence that pine and cedar shavings are harmful to the health of rodents [And reptiles]. Both these softwood shavings give off aromatic hydrocarbons (phenols) and acids that are toxic. The phenols, which give the shavings their scent, are the reason that cedar repels fleas and moths and why pine-oil is the major ingredient in Pine-sol brand disinfectant [Also why a lot of these products are sold, Phenols are good at covering up the smell of feces]. In the laboratory, autoclaved pine and cedar shavings have been shown to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms (Reference 1). When animals are exposed to softwood shavings the aromatic hydrocarbons are absorbed through the respiratory tract and enter the blood.
3.
Phenols are caustic, poisonous, acidic compounds. These compounds cause constant irritation to the nasal passages, throat, and lungs of small animals giving bacteria an easy opening, thus commonly causing pneumonia. Phenols also affect organs such as the liver and kidneys, because these organs are responsible for filtering toxins out of the body. When presented with a large amount of toxins over time, they are unable to filter it all out and begin to fail. An animal with a damaged liver will have a depressed immune system, which can lead to other medical conditions.
Also there is a fair amount of evidence that it does not only affect small animals/reptile, but can also cause health problems in humans.

4.
Pine and cedar toxins also affect humans and other animals. People who work in cedar and pine sawmills have a much higher incidence of asthma compared to workers in other dusty environments or those without any dust exposure (3, 4). Another study found that chickens kept on softwood shavings had a higher incidence of respiratory infections (5).
Keep in mind most of the info provided in these quotes is based apon research done on small mammals not reptiles. However I think it does help us gain a basic understanding on HOW Cedar and Pine are toxic and WHY we shouldn't be using them in our reptiles enclosures. The risks associated with pine and cedar greatly out weigh any positives they may have for small animal enclosure. A lot of companies have Pine and Cedar based beddings/products out for reptiles, which seems to be a way of making money off people who have not done their reading. Also if you are asthmatic having pine or cedar shavings in your house that you have to work around everyday is not a good idea anyway.

Thank you for reading and I hope this thread can help at least one person decide against using one of these harmfull beddings.

Sources:

Quotes 1, 2, and 4 from: Rat Fan Club
Quote 3 from: American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association
 

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Ok, thats shredded/shaved soft wood flesh. How does this relate to the bark?

ALL reptibark/orchid bark is made from pine/ceder bark AFAIK. Ive been using commercial reptibark/orchid bark for all of my humidity loving species ever since I have been keeping snakes (9 years) and seemingly there have been no problems. (Yet).

Maybe I'm wrong and some brands are made out of other stuff? Or maybe the same doesnt apply to the bark in the same way?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, thats shredded/shaved soft wood flesh. How does this relate to the bark?

ALL reptibark/orchid bark is made from pine/ceder bark AFAIK. Ive been using commercial reptibark/orchid bark for all of my humidity loving species ever since I have been keeping snakes (9 years) and seemingly there have been no problems. (Yet).

Maybe I'm wrong and some brands are made out of other stuff? Or maybe the same doesnt apply to the bark in the same way?
I would assume that this does not apply to bark in the same way. Bark would have a different chemical break down then the actual flesh does.
 

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I would assume that this does not apply to bark in the same way. Bark would have a different chemical break down then the actual flesh does.
Ah ok, if that is the case, I have never seen any wood shavings being marketed as reptile bedding?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ah ok, if that is the case, I have never seen any wood shavings being marketed as reptile bedding?
No they are not marketed as bedding for reptiles, but people still try and use them in some arid tanks. I recall a local case with a beardie who ended up with servre R.I. from being on cedar bedding. Alos it applies to the raw wood which some one may try to build a tank or item for the tank out of.
 

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