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Old 26th December 2012   #1
Doug
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Default My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

After a super worm dinner, my tiger salamander got a bigger tank for Christmas with brand new coconut husk fiber substrate. Knowing that a lot of herps don't like their cage furniture around, I tried to put things back where I thought he'd expect them. I think I did okay because after some hard looking and sniffing about, he started his new substrate routine. He walks around as if he walking on something really yucky.. It's a hesitant walk, a slow(er) placement of each foot, punctuated at times by slow-mo foot flicking. He'll park himself on a rock or a piece of wood for a while before moving on. Eventually he just stops doing it.

Tomorrow, he'll be back to crash diving and surfacing for food. It's fun to watch this animated walk but it's puzzling. I have no idea what's going on. I searched the forums for an answer but found nothing, as I couldn't come up with decent search terms. So, I've got to ask: Has anybody else seen this behavior? Does anybody have an idea about what's going on? Maybe the coco is still too moist. Just let me add that I soak compassed coco blocks in the same rain water that I use to moisten the tank. Then I really wring it out. Meanwhile, me 'n my tiger hope you all had a real nice Christmas too.



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Old 26th December 2012   #2
Kaiseric
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Default Re: My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

Can't say I've seen this, but it sounds hilarious. Such personality tigers have..



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Old 1st January 2013   #3
Kristina
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Default Re: My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

My tiger salamander, Muffin does a similar thing. I use ecoearth (and Muffin LOVES it!) and notice that every time I do the whole tank cleaning deal- Muffin is a lot more happy, active and a little bit crazy with excitement. When I do the tank cleanings it's like she knows- she watches and waits, and when I put her back in she runs around, climbs everywhere, dashes into her tub area and then dives right into her food dish to sleep/ wait. I have changed her furniture and plants before, she didn't really seem to care or mind much as longs as her food dish is there within reach and visibility, which is the first thing she looks for when put back into her tank. That seems to be the only thing she cares about. When I take it out to clean it (due to the fact she tracks the ecoearth everywhere) she like CLINGS to me as if it were to never return. I also notice after the first week of the tank cleaning and change so she often burrows and sleeps under the food dish rather than in it- so I often think it is a matter of getting used to the newer substrate (perhaps it is more damp and wet than previously).

What I often do with the ecoearth now- is I let it set overnight. I noticed it is a lot more softer and stays damper for a longer period of time by doing this. The first time I worked with the ecoearth I let it set for the reccomended time (which is a half hour to hour) and noticed it clumped up and there were very large pieces which stuck out, making it rather uncomfortable for Muffin with hunks here and there- she would just plop herself on top of it and sit there awkwardly. Even with me misting the tank- it dried out rather fast and was almost completely dry within a month. I have been soaking it over night for the past 3 tank cleanings and it would stay it can stay damp and moist well over 2-3 months and counting (depending on how often you clean your tank). Then again that has just been what I witnessed from my own experiences through trial and error. You can also cover it with saran wrap to keep the moisture in. Then again I'm by no means a professional hah. I've gone by many recommendations by people in this forum for the different products and brands to try, which have helped me out a lot. Plus I observe Muffin a lot- she's quite the social little critter, and I know her habits.

It could just be your tiger salamander is more observant/ selective/ sensitive of his substrate? I know at first Muffin didn't like the ecoearth when it was settled for only an hour with the chunks sticking out (I didn't really know back then either). She often wiggles her toes into new substrates and pokes around, so I always assumed it was becoming more aware of the surroundings/ getting used to the new feelings. They do have their own funny little personalities- so it could just something along that line.



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Old 2nd January 2013   #4
Scott
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Default Re: My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

I have an A. lugubris that had an interesting change in personality when I switched to using ecoearth. His species is supposed to like climbing (they even live in trees) all over the place but ever since I switched to coconut husk fiber he has been burrowing in it like crazy and not climbing at all, which is odd because my other A. lugubris doesn't burrow at all. They didn't seem to like the ecoearth when I first filled their cages with it, perhaps because it was sticking to them. My burrowing specimen would only walk backwards on it for a while for some reason. I am going to try to make it more wet on one side and see if he chooses to go there instead, but I think that whats going on is just normal behavior because of a substrate change. They can sense the soil around them and detect many different toxins, so I imagine they can 'smell' their new substrate. I know its a very different species, but my cat loves to play in its litter box after it has been changed so maybe something similar is going on.



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Old 2nd January 2013   #5
Dinky!
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Default Re: My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

Judging from people's experiences and responses, I can only assume its quite a common occurance. When my tigers were smaller they were kept on moss; due to being advised this was the best substrate to use and at the time, it did make it easier keeping their small tank moist and clean. Once they had grown significantly I used my own initiative; bought a great 3 ft tank for the pair and decided to change their substrate to husk. Their initial reaction was seemingly "and what the hell are we supposed to do with this stuff?!" They sat around on the surface looking glum for a few days then suddenly, they got it! "Yay, we can burrow in this lovely, crumbly brown stuff!" I just think it takes time for them to get used the new surroundings, like any creature! The odd, hesitant "robo-walk" is new to me though, I have to say! Here's hoping he adjusts and has great fun in his new home!



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Old 2nd January 2013   #6
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Default Re: My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kms124 View Post
.........

What I often do with the ecoearth now- is I let it set overnight. I noticed it is a lot more softer and stays damper for a longer period of time by doing this. The first time I worked with the ecoearth I let it set for the reccomended time (which is a half hour to hour) and noticed it clumped up and there were very large pieces which stuck out, making it rather uncomfortable for Muffin with hunks here and there- she would just plop herself on top of it and sit there awkwardly. Even with me misting the tank- it dried out rather fast and was almost completely dry within a month. I have been soaking it over night for the past 3 tank cleanings and it would stay it can stay damp and moist well over 2-3 months and counting (depending on how often you clean your tank).
That has been my experience as well. I've heard many indicate that coco-fiber (Bed-A-Beast or Eco Earth) dries out too quickly and has to be misted frequently. I let my blocks soak 24 hours to equilibrate to same temp as enclosure, then break up any clumps. The substrate will stay moist for a couple months.



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Old 6th January 2013   #7
Benny
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Default Re: My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

one time i put a corner of my old tiger's tank a coconut husk substrate. He completely ignored it for weeks.He would just push it further and further into the corner and pack it down then stay away from it, I dont think he liked it one bit.



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Old 10th January 2013   #8
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Default Re: My Tiger's Reaction to Substrate Change

I noticed the "robo" walk when I put my tiger into a new tank with only the "plantation soil" instead of a mix of soil and moss. I'm guessing that its just because it takes a bit for them to get used to. He has now dug all sorts of tunnels and seems to enjoy having so much room and dirt to dig through.
On another note hs has become slightly more aggressive in his new tank. With any type of movement near in the tank he lunges towards it attempting to bit it.



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