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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran Luvyna's Avatar
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    How to disinfect a 4-foot branch

    My neighbour was cutting down their hedge and had some nice branches so I picked a few up for my ball python. Two of them are 4 feet long and I want to use them as perches for my BP's PVC enclosure but I'm not sure how to disinfect them since they won't fit in the oven.

  2. #2
    Registered User Erie_herps's Avatar
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    You could wash it down with bleach and water and then spray it well. However with all that spraying it would almost defeat the purpose of sanitizing because of everything in the water. I've never tried this before so I'd wait to try it until someone else weighs in, it might be possible to "spray" it down with a blowtorch which would kill many things quickly and should be almost​ as effective as putting it in the oven.

  3. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    What I do with branches is use a wire brush to remove loose bark & debris, then thoroughly spray them (turning to reach all sides & crevices) with the same diluted chlorhexidine that I use to wipe down my tanks & all. Let them thoroughly dry in hot sun if you can, & not on the ground or bugs may move in. Should be good to go after that (no rinsing needed).

    Do NOT use bleach, as it soaks into the wood & the fumes remain, & they'll harm your snake. (very irritating/toxic to lungs etc)

    Blowtorch? Sounds like a great way to start a bonfire... I wouldn't do that either. If you have a steam-cleaner, you could probably do that instead, though.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 06-10-2021 at 07:20 PM.
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  5. #4
    Registered User Erie_herps's Avatar
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    Re: How to disinfect a 4-foot branch

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Do NOT use bleach, as it soaks into the wood & the fumes remain, & they'll harm your snake. (very irritating/toxic to lungs etc)

    Blowtorch? Sounds like a great way to start a bonfire... I wouldn't do that either. If you have a steam-cleaner, you could probably do that instead, though.
    Good point about the bleach, I didn't even think about that. I was thinking using the torch a few feet away (depending on the torch) so the temperature was only a few hundred degrees at the most, rather than over 500*. But the steam-cleaner would likely work better.

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    Re: How to disinfect a 4-foot branch

    Quote Originally Posted by Erie_herps View Post
    Good point about the bleach, I didn't even think about that. I was thinking using the torch a few feet away (depending on the torch) so the temperature was only a few hundred degrees at the most, rather than over 500*. But the steam-cleaner would likely work better.
    You might be able to use a torch IF you get the branch real wet first? Then it would essentially be a "steamer".

    When I've baked small enough branches in my oven, I also got them wet first- last thing anyone needs is for this stuff to catch fire. And any "baking" is only on a very low oven, like 150*, anyway- fyi.

    Bleach is a very effective (& toxic) disinfectant, but you ONLY want to use it on non-porous* materials. If wood cage furnishings retain ANY bleach odor, remember that in most cases, your snakes (or other herps) will be breathing those fumes "24/7", especially since many enclosures have minimal air-flow in order to retain the humidity desired. That makes it more than just unpleasant for them, it becomes irritating & toxic.

    *and by non-porous, that's like glass. Many plastics will retain bleach (odor+) too- & that's also why empty bleach bottles are never supposed to be re-used, so be careful what you use it on, or in what concentration you use it.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 06-10-2021 at 08:43 PM.
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  8. #6
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: How to disinfect a 4-foot branch

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    What I do with branches is use a wire brush to remove loose bark & debris, then thoroughly spray them (turning to reach all sides & crevices) with the same diluted chlorhexidine that I use to wipe down my tanks & all. Let them thoroughly dry in hot sun if you can, & not on the ground or bugs may move in. Should be good to go after that (no rinsing needed).
    This is my method as well. The last time I worked with larger pieces of wood was when a local reptile shop was remodeling and getting rid of some stuff. The only difference is I hung my pieces from my patio awning.. whatever that thing is called, after I sprayed them down. Left them hanging for a few days in the GA heat in the the middle of summer, and they were good to go.

    Now of course this was wood meant for reptile tanks. Hedge clippings make me a little nervous because typically hedges are in flower beds up close to the house, and get sprayed with weed killer or something meant to keep unwanted plants from growing in those beds. If your neighbor doesn't spray though you should be fine, I would just double check.

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  10. #7
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    Re: How to disinfect a 4-foot branch

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugsplox View Post
    This is my method as well. The last time I worked with larger pieces of wood was when a local reptile shop was remodeling and getting rid of some stuff. The only difference is I hung my pieces from my patio awning.. whatever that thing is called, after I sprayed them down. Left them hanging for a few days in the GA heat in the the middle of summer, and they were good to go.

    Now of course this was wood meant for reptile tanks. Hedge clippings make me a little nervous because typically hedges are in flower beds up close to the house, and get sprayed with weed killer or something meant to keep unwanted plants from growing in those beds. If your neighbor doesn't spray though you should be fine, I would just double check.
    Thanks for catching that about the risk of pesticide exposure in "hedge clippings"- I agree, it's essential to make sure there's no pesticide exposure.

    Where I used to live, I had an old-fashioned center pole clothesline, & I hung out the sprayed branches & driftwood across the parallel lines for sun-drying. Use whatever ya got.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  12. #8
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    Take the trays or selves out of the oven. Wet branch an bake it at 225 for two hours.


    Good luck!

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