I cut some branches off of a tree on my property that I would like to use in my boa enclosures. Can I just remove anything sharp, quick wash & dry, and use? I’ve watched just about every YouTube video out there on this topic, and there is very conflicting information on what is best for the animals. Some say don’t do anything, soaking in bleach or other chemicals cause more harm than good and others say you have to treat the wood. Baking it is not an option, the limbs are too big.
Remove everything sharp and then rinse in bleach water, it’s what you would use for cleaning enclosures so it won’t be harmful. Then rinse it well and soak it in water, dry it and then it should be usable.
Get boiling hot water, put them in the tub, and soak them in it. So long as you get the internal temp of the sticks hot enough it will kill any harmful creatures living in them. It isn’t just about cleaning the outside of them that matters. It is about killing any bugs that could be carrying detrimental things or pathogens from wildlife.
Just want to chime in that the issue is very different for insectivores (versus your boa). If any insect prey are loose in a tank with branches, they will often snack on the branches. I strongly advise that ‘found’ materials not be used in the enclosures of insectivores (edit: and aquatic animals as well) unless you know exactly what you’re doing (as in, you can identify the species of tree & you know it’s not been treated with anything & you know that it’s not toxic, etc, etc.).
I get a lot of flak for my opinion on this, but I’ve seen so many reptiles die that way that I just don’t understand why people won’t spend a few extra bucks to get safer stuff that is easier to sterilize anyways.
I’m totally with @t_h_wyman & @lumpy on the baking, if you’re going to go through with it. That’s how I always used to pre-treat the substrate I purchased for my hermit crabs. Just be careful about fire safety.
So what flora/fauna that would naturally exist in tree limbs actually be detrimental to our reptiles? I’m just curious whether it’s more of the “eww bugs” verse any actual detriment to our pets. Couldn’t it actually be beneficial especially in terms of a bioactive enclosure?