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Old 06-24-2020, 10:03 PM   #11
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster skin lesions

Cat grass and soil are both unacceptable substrate choices. They can harbor parasites, put you at risk of fungus etc as souffle mentioned, and they hold far too much moisture. Hamsters need lower humidity in the cage. Even organic soil also has unsafe ingredients - fertilizers, even organic ones, are just one tiny example of things that are completely unsuitable for hamster use. Just in case, live plants in general should never be placed inside a hamster enclosure either. These also end up adding moisture to the environment and provide all sorts of potential issues of their own.

You'd unfortunately need a deep clean to get rid of all the unsafe substrates but a pure paper substrate(no baking soda, odor control additives, etc) would be a good choice for the entire cage. Hemp is another great option, but be careful of the brand as some hemp substrates will have unsafe additives such as citronella. Aubiose would be an excellent choice though as it is pure hemp!

I know there have been people saying soil is fine especially with popular hamster youtubers even recommending it, but it is just not safe and really needs to be removed completely from any hamster enclosures that have it. A high quality pure coconut fiber can be a suitable alternative - if and only if given in very small amounts in a container in a cage with excellent ventilation as well as not being kept too dry or too moist.
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Old 06-25-2020, 05:31 PM   #12
gettons_1980
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster skin lesions

Apologies, I may have not been clear.
I do not use cat grass as substrate.

The substrate I use is made of soil (which I checked it does not contain fertilisers and such within the ingredients) and paper substrate.

Cat grass I use it as an ornament, along with coconut chips (not sure how they are called), timothy hay and apple hay.

The cage has very good ventilation as half cage is glass and the other half is just a grid.


Not sure if that changes things or not, but I will keep investigating about the soil as, just as you said, some people do recommend it.
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Old 06-25-2020, 05:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster skin lesions

Even without obvious fertilizers, don't use soil. It is not worth the risk for so many reasons - stick to paper only and remove the soil completely through a full and very thorough cage clean. It'll be temporary stress, but it is far better to add a small amount of stress now than have to deal with an endless list of serious problems that can come from using soil.

Cat grass shouldn't be live in the enclosure in any form, substrate or otherwise, so that point is still very relevant. You could technically clip off a few very small pieces from a plant grown outside the cage but it wouldn't be all that beneficial for hamsters.

When it comes to soil in the cage and products with similar issues, even with the best ventilation possible it still isn't safe. I'd have to say we as a forum have been the most honest and accurate place especially recently in terms of how unsafe soil actually is and to say the least I would not trust other sources saying it is safe in any way!
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Old 06-26-2020, 04:32 AM   #14
gettons_1980
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Default Re: Dwarf hamster skin lesions

All right,

thank you very much for your elaborated explanation.
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