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Thread: Curing branches etc. for your enclosures! DIY

  1. #11
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    I frequently search roadsides for someone cutting back trees. I use a lot of limbs (mostly for my Uroplatus). I can say I never cook any of them in the oven or soak them in bleach. I get them right when they are cut off the tree. The only thing I do is wash them down with the hose to get some of the grit and dirt that covers the bark. After theat I put them down in the basement where they dry out until I need them.

    I think if you are using the method above, you are really limiting what you do with the enclosure, as not all branches fit into an oven (I have a lot of branches 4+ feet long). One has to realize these geckos are wild animals, no one is out there in New Caledonia sterililizing every branch. You don't have to do in in captivity. Just use fresh wood, don't be using a branch that has been decomposing on the ground for any length of time.
    Derek Dunlop
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDReptiles View Post
    I frequently search roadsides for someone cutting back trees. I use a lot of limbs (mostly for my Uroplatus). I can say I never cook any of them in the oven or soak them in bleach. I get them right when they are cut off the tree. The only thing I do is wash them down with the hose to get some of the grit and dirt that covers the bark. After theat I put them down in the basement where they dry out until I need them.

    I think if you are using the method above, you are really limiting what you do with the enclosure, as not all branches fit into an oven (I have a lot of branches 4+ feet long). One has to realize these geckos are wild animals, no one is out there in New Caledonia sterililizing every branch. You don't have to do in in captivity. Just use fresh wood, don't be using a branch that has been decomposing on the ground for any length of time.
    Very true. I do the same as Derek, sometimes a oven bake smaller ones but big ones that don't fit and I fresh cut mine I just let dry out and let nature do its own work.

  3. #13
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    But the thing I worry about if the fact that but bringing branches in from outside, we're exposing the geckos to pathogens they would never be exposed to in New Caledonia...the level of pollution, toxic chemicals, lead, etc, car exhaust...that accumulates in the trees through their normal respiration, and stuff they may be laying in on the ground.

    I'm sure that New Caledonia is at least a bit cleaner than the US.

    That's why I prefer to soak and bake.
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  4. #14
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    With the amount of tourism in New Caledonia, I'm sure it's probably about the same as the US in terms of human pollution and waste products. And many pathogens native to the predominately temperate region of the US require different settings to be biologically active and healthy, for example, a period of dormancy in the host animal. There is also a gap between target species of the pathogen, and as the US lacks Rhacodactylus, I'm sure most pathogens are specific to native-host species.

    However, as with any potential threat, it should be minimized, thus curing branches (etc) is always recommended. Honestly, very little can survive at the elevated temperature ovens bake, or in the presence of high levels of sodium chlorite (bleach), alcohol, or under other conditions listed above.

    Chemicals are also easily neutralized, and bleach itself does not last long as a solid compound with excessive rinsing, nor will alcohols, but rather "fume off".

    Also* - If desired, you can always neutralize any hazardous chemicals by soaking the branch or whatever it may be in a solution of water with activated carbon. There are other methods as well, I'll add to this.

    K

    *Sorry if this is somewhat illegible. Posting this quickly before a class.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by samanthajane13 View Post
    But the thing I worry about if the fact that but bringing branches in from outside, we're exposing the geckos to pathogens they would never be exposed to in New Caledonia...the level of pollution, toxic chemicals, lead, etc, car exhaust...that accumulates in the trees through their normal respiration, and stuff they may be laying in on the ground.

    I'm sure that New Caledonia is at least a bit cleaner than the US.

    That's why I prefer to soak and bake.
    The geckos are already being exposed to a wide variety or things they wouldn't be exposed to into the wild. New Caledonia is not as clean as one would think. Noumea (the capital) is a HUGE tourist destination, mainly for French people wanting to to to a tropical island where French is spoken. The rest of the forest in New Caledonia is under extreme pressure from surrounding development (just look at a google satellite map). There are huge mining operations, fires burning down land for more mining/roads, and more and more foriegn contaminants coming in close contact with these geckos. Its not as desolate as one would think.

    If you are worried about your trees carrying pollutants then just walk a little further into the woods

    Not trying to step on any toes here, Panther put together a very good post here, but I just don't think its absolutely necessary to "shotgun" every piece of wood with a ton of chemicals.

    Thanks Derek
    Derek Dunlop
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  6. #16
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    I don't use bleach to soak my branches...just scalding hot water, but thanks for the tip on activated charcoal!!!

    I also worry about bacteria, etc. from the branches laying on the ground, so I bake after the soak.

    My favorite branches come from my neighbor's Catalpa tree-Indian Cigar-which has really contorted branches. The trees are much to high to be trimmed, except when the city comes through with the cherry-picker, which is very seldom.

    I usually grab up what I can after storms.

    Unfortunately, I live in the city of Buffalo, so the nearest "forests" are well over an hour away.
    Last edited by samanthajane13; 10-20-2009 at 02:18 PM. Reason: forgot something...
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    Bump!
    Eric
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    This is just a bump of an old post I found very helpful and I thought some of the newer members would benefit from.

    The one thing I wanted to add was that I have been using lilac branches for mine and have been very happy with the fact that they seem resistent to mold plus the bark seems to stay on and not peel off after aging. Plus, when pruned properly adult Lilacs actually like a hard prune of specific larger branches (not all of them) to allow new growth to form which long run leads to more flowers. Since you are pruning larger branches you can cut for larger tanks. If you have a mature Lilac do a little research before pruning - prune right after flowering.
    Eric
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    i've been using a much simpler way for years.i simply follow the directions on a can of polycrylic.once dry and cured for 24 hours it is now water proof-making for easy cleaning,it makes the wood pretty,and all pathogens are sealed inside.it especially makes it easy when using large branches.

  10. #20
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    I soak the branches in the tub with HOT HOT salt water for branches that wont fit in the oven. Let them soak till the water is cool and then spray them down with a home made cleaner. This consists of Borax, white vinegar, lemon, lemon grass and sweet orange essential oil and water. Let it sit over night then rinse. The oils are natural disinfectants, anti bacterial, anti fungal and antiseptics. Just make sure you rinse well, all essential oils can be dangerous if not diluted properly.
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