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Breeding/Egg Production & Care Any topics concerning breeding of the cornsnake, brumation, egg laying, or issues concerning problems in any step along the way.

BEWHARE OF SPHAGNUM MOSS
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Old 08-31-2022, 06:34 PM   #1
Vinman
BEWHARE OF SPHAGNUM MOSS

BEWHARE OF SPHAGNUM MOSS

I will never use Sphagnum Moss again to incubate my eggs . Over the last 5 to 8 years I been getting a lot of kinked hatchlings, DIE and clutches that just don't hatch. The corns have been effected the worst by this.

At first I thought it was temps that been fluctuating that maybe got to hot. So I kept between 76 to 82 , Still had the same problems

Next year I thought incorrect thermometers so I got new thermometers which the old ones were 2 degrees off . Problem solved right? NOPE

Then A ex friend of mine from NY said maybe it is your mice you feed them dog food. So I went for rodent block for a full year that was last year till this year.
This year I bought Coco Fiber I set all my clutches on it except 2 of the first clutches. The first 2 on 50%50 coco fiber and Sphagnum Moss

THE RESULTS
The first clutch that hatched 9 eggs 1 perfect Blood Red corn 7 kinked in vary degrees and 1 DIE.
2nd clutch1/2 were laid in water so I got only 6 good eggs 5 died in incubation and one hatched with no imperfections.
The next clutch all hatched in pure coco fiber only 2 had the slightest kinks and I mean barely noticeable
All the other clutches after that were prefect so far.

I had one young female het blood red that gives me 20 to 26 eggs per clutch the first 2 years I bred her both times the whole clutch never hatched. They went almost 90 days to find undeveloped snakes that looked no more than a month through development. I was going to off her as a pet but I said lest see how she will do next year as I will try a new substrate This year is the 3rd year I bred her and I have one blood red hatching out.

What kills me is I never had problems before hatching snakes except if the temps went too high. I Could not figure out why this was happening to me. I was doing everything I always did.
IDK if the sphagnum with an contaminate ( natural or chemical ) or pathogen. I got it from an orchid grower that had it is a storage room and he said it is all natural with not chemicals to make it retain water and that storage was free of any chemicals
 
Old 08-31-2022, 09:20 PM   #2
Caryl
I'm so sorry that you've been out through this awful wringer. I'm sure you've isolated the cause to your moss. It must have been contaminated in some fashion. There's no way without expensive chemical analysis to know what it contained but it's obviously something teratogenic. Heck, if it had been stored in a grower's shed it could have even absorbed chemicals from the air in the same way it absorbs humidity.

If I were you, I'd never use sphagnum again either.

That said, I have to add that's sphagnum moss is my preferred medium by far. I buy it with no additives in small, well-sealed bags meant for orchids. Since my first clutch in 2010, I've used sphagnum, vermiculite, perlite, and peat. Hands down, I've had the best results from sphagnum. I'm fortunate that I haven't had the sorts of troubles you've suffered. I say that only to convey my gratitude. I am truly sorry for what you and your animals have experienced.

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Old 08-31-2022, 09:44 PM   #3
Vinman
I have to say I like the coco fiber, like how dense it is as it insolates in case of heat spikes.

I had good results with it in the past but after this I will never use it again. I lo0st thousands and thousands of dollars.

Being Sphagnum moss come from nature we have no idea what natural toxins or pathogens it was exposed too.
 
Old 09-02-2022, 06:25 AM   #4
Caryl
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinman View Post



Being Sphagnum moss come from nature we have no idea what natural toxins or pathogens it was exposed too.
That's an excellent point. At this point I still plan to continue to use the specific brand of sphagnum moss I have used for years but if I cannot source that brand I might well try coco fiber.

I live in a very humid area and air circulation is important. Do you find that the coco fiber is more or less airy/fluffy than moss?



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Old 09-02-2022, 05:32 PM   #5
Rich Z
Just use coarse vermiculite. I used it for decades and never had any issues from it. Just don't get it too wet, and use COARSE instead of fine or medium. That allows better airflow between the granules.
 
Old 09-02-2022, 10:32 PM   #6
Vinman
I could not find it up here any more so I went back to sphagnum. I'[m going to stick to the coco fiber from now on. It did me right this year
 
Old 09-02-2022, 10:39 PM   #7
Vinman
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caryl View Post
That's an excellent point. At this point I still plan to continue to use the specific brand of sphagnum moss I have used for years but if I cannot source that brand I might well try coco fiber.

I live in a very humid area and air circulation is important. Do you find that the coco fiber is more or less airy/fluffy than moss?



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Depends how much water you mix with it. I like mine to be just slightly moist. When the eggs hatch it is still slightly moist but a lot dryer than when you first put in the eggs. Just like nature would have it. After 5 weeks eggs don't need a lot of moisture. slightly damp is fine after 5 weeks. If the eggs dont dent your fine. The only thing is the moister the substrate the more the egg expands making the eggshell thinner
 
Old 09-11-2022, 06:10 PM   #8
dave partington
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinman View Post
I have to say I like the coco fiber, like how dense it is as it insolates in case of heat spikes.

I had good results with it in the past but after this I will never use it again. I lo0st thousands and thousands of dollars.

Being Sphagnum moss come from nature we have no idea what natural toxins or pathogens it was exposed too.
Hey Vinnie
Good to see you're still in the hobby. my first couple of years I used a lot of different substrates to figure out which incubation material would work the best for me; different things work for different people, each of us sort of "has a relationship" with whatever works best for us.

I've used the Florida sphag moss, it's usually loaded with pine straw oaak leaves sand mud and other gunk, totally great for orchids staghorn ferns and sprouting bromeliad seeds, but absolutely horrible for reptile eggs.

I saw "compressed chilean sphagnum moss" at a growers supply store and gave it a try, it's pure long strand golden moss, hand harvested in Chile, not machine harvested in Florida. I had excellent results with it. If I didn't use all of the wetted material for eggs then I'd use it for garden projects. Single use product. Kind of hard to come by, I think Josh's Frogs online carries it. I also see a lot of other sellers mis-labelling their other products as chilean.
Anyways, thats what worked best for me.

For the coco fiber, I suspect you're getting it in bulk compressed bales/cubes and not in half opened old material in an gardeners storage house. Best intentions, not arguing. Do what works the best for you. I haven't had pets since 2015, thinking about it again. You always did produce some premo exceptional critters.
dp
 
Old 09-12-2022, 09:20 AM   #9
Vinman
Thanx for the kind words Yes I had good luck in the past but after getti ng this bail that killed me for a few years I'm jaded .

If you get back into it hit me up I still got the same prone number but better off calling my cell from 10 am to 11 pm 347 736 3997
 
Old 09-12-2022, 06:27 PM   #10
Rich Z
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinman View Post
Thanx for the kind words Yes I had good luck in the past but after getti ng this bail that killed me for a few years I'm jaded .

If you get back into it hit me up I still got the same prone number but better off calling my cell from 10 am to 11 pm 347 736 3997
Bail? I must admit I am curious.....
 
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