We’ve been using Care Fresh® for over a decade. In the mid-1990s, we noticed that the nares of several of our snakes were regularly plugged, resulting in oral difficulties. We found a lot of substrate dust in the mouths and nares when we inspected them. We were using pine shavings as a substrate for our snakes at the time. The nares obstruction and mouth difficulties were alleviated with the second shed when we placed the animals on paper toweling or newspaper. The hunt was on for a new substrate that didn’t generate a lot of “dust.” A close friend in Texas recommended CareFresh® to us. This substrate did not generate a lot of dust. We began using CareFresh® in our gray-banded kingsnake cages (Lampropeltis alterna). Any mouth and nasal issues were resolved once that animal shed. CareFresh® was also useful in keeping our Western Green Rat Snakes healthy (Senticolis triaspis intermedia). These snakes need a damp hiding place. CareFresh® works effectively in these hidden regions since it maintains moisture well but does not easily mold. CareFresh® has many of the positive properties of pine shavings, but not all of the drawbacks. We also use CareFresh® in our rat colony with great success due to its exceptional absorbency and ability to minimize smells!
We’ve observed a few issues with CareFresh® throughout the years. The most serious risk is the desiccation of the animals housed on CareFresh®. A snake may easily lose water to CareFresh® due to its enhanced water absorption properties. Keeping any animal on CareFresh® necessitates that they have constant access to water. Because CareFresh® is excessively desiccating for neonates, it should not be used. CareFresh® is also more costly than pine shavings. There are methods to cut costs. One option is to purchase the material “factory direct.” Some consumers find CareFreshdismal ®’s gray hue unappealing. A bleached white CareFresh® is now available at a little higher price. We’ve become used to the natural hue and never use the more costly bleached product. CareFresh® has also switched to a less appealing packing approach. The new blocked bags are simpler to stack nowadays, which may be the goal of the new packaging; but, the extremely densely packed stuff is difficult to pull out of the bag without producing a major mess at first.
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