Pine for enclosure use

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Seiryu

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So I don't see a thread here in the debatable topics about use of Pine.

I am curious of peoples opinions on the subject of using NON - Polyurethaned pine for an enclosure. No I have not done this, but I am curious what others think.

I just quickly did some google searches of "Is pine wood toxic to tortoises" and a lot of websites said yes it is. However, NONE of the sites (or any I've ever read while researching my basilisk from 3 years ago) ever actually stated why it is or how it hurts them.

Some say the oils (which btw, wood you buy from Home depot etc, are free of oils). Some say the fumes, which I don't buy. Some others say just contact alone. Most of it being the shavings (pine dust getting into system) / raw pine that are bad. But with no evidence as to why it hurts tortoise.

Purpose of this is. Pressure Treated Lumber, that doesn't rot in rains, is a type of pine. However if pine is toxic, I would have to Polyurethane what I use, making getting pressure treated pointless.

And what woods do people use outside that you don't need Polyurethane for? (Non toxic wood that doesn't rot in rains).
 

Yvonne G

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You usually run into trouble with pine when you use it as substrate. Either mulch or chips or shavings, etc. Its the oils in the pine that cause the problem. It effects the tortoise's eyes. Lumber that you buy is usually dried and the oils are no longer a problem.

Yvonne
 

Seiryu

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emysemys said:
You usually run into trouble with pine when you use it as substrate. Either mulch or chips or shavings, etc. Its the oils in the pine that cause the problem. It effects the tortoise's eyes. Lumber that you buy is usually dried and the oils are no longer a problem.

Yvonne

That is what I thought, ty Yvonne.

Do you happen to know if Pressure Treated wood is toxic to them? Like does it give off bad fumes? They technically won't be in contact with it since i'll be using a liner in the enclosure as well.
 

galvinkaos

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pressure treating wood is actually injecting the surface of the wood with a chemical to make it insect and fungus resistant. I would not recommend using it. you would be better off using standard wood and either sealing it or lining it. The pressure treated wood does contain chemicals.

Dawna
 

Crazy1

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A liner would help I would think but personally I would not chance it as the fumes will escape and if the tort scratches through the liner you have the same problem.

Thanks Dawna (Nice to have a pest control person in our family), I wondered what they did in the pressure treating process. I knew it wasn't just drying the wood or putting it under pressure to get rid of the sap.

Seiryu is their a reason you don't want to use polyurathane (sp?)
 

Seiryu

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Crazy1 said:
A liner would help I would think but personally I would not chance it as the fumes will escape and if the tort scratches through the liner you have the same problem.

Thanks Dawna (Nice to have a pest control person in our family), I wondered what they did in the pressure treating process. I knew it wasn't just drying the wood or putting it under pressure to get rid of the sap.

Seiryu is their a reason you don't want to use polyurathane (sp?)

Not a big one, except it is a bit cheaper than buying Pine and Polyurethaning it with 3-5 coats. I plan to do a large 10x10 foot enclosure or bigger.

In terms of pressure treated, I know the old stuff had CCA (Cropper Chromated Arsenate) which you can no longer buy and that was highly toxic.

The new stuff Alkaline Copper Quaternary was supposed to not be nearly as toxic and would only be toxic if you basically ate the wood lol. Except it's supposed to be fine if dogs/cats drink rain water outside that was exposed to the lumber. Which of course, the only thing the tortoise would be doing is touching it and that would rarely happen (if he got through the liner). So to me if dogs/cats can drink water that was hitting the wood and on the ground then it would be ok.

However I probably won't chance it. I was just curious to see people's thoughts.
 

Crazy1

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I think it was/is an excellent question. And I would like to hear what others have to say.
 

tortoisenerd

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Hmm this is interesting. I did quite a bit of research last summer before building my pressure-treated pine board enclosure with polyurethane coating, although I did not choose the polyurethane to protect the tort from the pine, only to waterproof it more. At the time I came to the conclusion is was ok. I also ran it by my vet and another forum who said it was ok. I will now look into this more, although I have not had problems in the 6 months the tort has been in the enclosure (which also does have a liner).

I had always though the pine oils from the substrate were the issue, not dried enclosure boards. Also, I had thought pressure treated wood did not do anything toxic because it is allowed to off-gas for so long at the yard and store, and the tort does not come into direct contact with it either (the way I built it). Anything you get at a home improvement store supposedly is pressure treated. I will however find some research to back me up as right now all of this is hearsay...

I think the outdoor-treated wood is the type that has more chemicals (even arsenic) than the stuff made to build furniture and such like I bought. Isn't lumberyard wood also cured? I thought that seals in the oils or similar.

Marine sealant is another option for something heavy-duty, as is aquarium sealant for the corners.

I have not found any research yet that says the pine enclosure is bad. I know many people use it, and many also sell pine enclosures. The link given was about substrate, and the other one was only toxicity. Great links though.

My liner is definitely scratch-proof. Hard to even fold or cut with scissors. Building-grade shower pan liner.

I'm not going to worry about this personally until someone shows me something about the pine enclosure, not substrate. I definitely agree the aromatic substrate is very bad--I have seen some pictures and stories about it too.

If you Google "pine tortoise table" you find a lot.
 

Seiryu

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tortoisenerd said:
Hmm this is interesting. I did quite a bit of research last summer before building my pressure-treated pine board enclosure with polyurethane coating, although I did not choose the polyurethane to protect the tort from the pine, only to waterproof it more. At the time I came to the conclusion is was ok. I also ran it by my vet and another forum who said it was ok. I will now look into this more, although I have not had problems in the 6 months the tort has been in the enclosure (which also does have a liner).

I had always though the pine oils from the substrate were the issue, not dried enclosure boards. Also, I had thought pressure treated wood did not do anything toxic because it is allowed to off-gas for so long at the yard and store, and the tort does not come into direct contact with it either (the way I built it). Anything you get at a home improvement store supposedly is pressure treated. I will however find some research to back me up as right now all of this is hearsay...

I think the outdoor-treated wood is the type that has more chemicals (even arsenic) than the stuff made to build furniture and such like I bought. Isn't lumberyard wood also cured? I thought that seals in the oils or similar.


If you Google "pine tortoise table" you find a lot.

Tortoisenerd - Did your vet say the wood was ok because you Polyurethaned it? Or the vet said Pressure Treated was ok even without Polyurethane? Because any wood is ok if you Polyurethane it. Seals everything and you can just reseal every few years (If it's outside in rains).

Not all wood you buy at improvement stores is pressure treated. Most of it is not. The pressure treated stuff has a greener color to it and feels heavier than the normal stuff and at Home Depot specifically it will say "SYP .2 or .4" (Southern Yellow Pine). Or it may say PT (Pressure Treated). If it is pressure treated.

A friend of mine works at Home Depot which is why I know these specific names and such. He seems to think that it's fine because as I said earlier, the stuff in stores now can no longer have Arsenic because it was banned. Gone for over 4 years. But he really doesn't know if it could be toxic per-say to reptiles.

And as I said earlier, if dogs/cats can drink it and not even get sick, I imagine it'd be ok. It's so dilute now. And since it's outdoors (the minimal if any fumes it has, he doesn't think it has fumes like normal pines) it would be so dilute and be outside where it's not concentrated that it'd be fine. But again, we are just not sure if it could be toxic to tortoise, even though it's not to humans, dogs, cats and other mammals you'd find outside.

That's my big concern and why i'm asking for opinions. Keep them coming!
 

tortoisenerd

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I said pine. She said ok. I didn't go into too many specifics actually. So, especially with both the poly. and the liner I have felt 100% ok with it, although actually I would be fine without either safety-wise as well in my mind, until someone proves otherwise. Thanks for the additional info!
 

Crazy1

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I use pine in my pens (exception not in the hatchlings pens), it is cheap and easily available. But I do coat with polyurethane. My torts are too precious to take the chance of something like a few coats of polyuethane being their downfall. JMHO. The inside pens are also lined.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I don't know anything about building stuff and pressure treated wood etc. What I know is I used a pine mulch substrate and ended up with one dead yearling and one blind one. I paid a lot of money over the next few years on Tony's eyes. He constantly had trouble with them being infected and painful to him. His eyes would hurt him so bad that he would drool and foam at the mouth. Tony is a young Sulcata. At times it was so obvious that he was in serious pain and it would make me cry because I caused that in him. I used that substrate and for the next 2 or 3 years of his life I spent a buncha money on Vet visits and medicine and treatments for his eyes. He'd go to bed fine and he'd wake up looking like this...No pine for my animals in ANY form! Do you want to take the chance your tortoise could look like this? And be blind?
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Seiryu

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maggie3fan said:
I don't know anything about building stuff and pressure treated wood etc. What I know is I used a pine mulch substrate and ended up with one dead yearling and one blind one. I paid a lot of money over the next few years on Tony's eyes. He constantly had trouble with them being infected and painful to him. His eyes would hurt him so bad that he would drool and foam at the mouth. Tony is a young Sulcata. At times it was so obvious that he was in serious pain and it would make me cry because I caused that in him. I used that substrate and for the next 2 or 3 years of his life I spent a buncha money on Vet visits and medicine and treatments for his eyes. He'd go to bed fine and he'd wake up looking like this...No pine for my animals in ANY form! Do you want to take the chance your tortoise could look like this? And be blind?
Ya, I am probably just going to Polyurethane all the wood anyways. I have plenty of time to get the money sorted. But Pine wood and substrate is very different. I'd never use the substrate of pine. The substrate they don't Kiln dry and the oils are still in it. The wood they Kiln dry and basically no wet substances are left.
 
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Maggie Cummings

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tortoisenerd said:
It's so sad to see that Maggie.

It's especially bad knowing I did that to him. It's just awful for me and him both.
 
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