Does coconut coir irritate eyes easily?

RussianTortxo

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I've been using cypress mulch mixed with coconut chips but wanted to switch to something that wouldn't irritate his eyes. I boiled water and followed the instructions on the coconut coir packaging and my tortoise seems to really like digging in it and moving it around but when I picked him up it looked like some of it was getting on his eyes and so I gave him a warm water bath and used veterinarian eye wash safe for tortoises. That helps keep his eyes from being irritated but am worried about the long lasting effects of using the coco coir and how badly it will keep bothering his eyes.

Thanks for your help.
 

Tom

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If its loose and or dry, it can irritate the eyes. I keep mine damp and hand pack it.

I'm raising 20 russians right now ranging in age from 18 months to 6 months. They have been living in coco coir the entire time I've had them since last June. They all burrow into the coir daily and I have yet to have any eye issues.

Hope that helps.
 

RussianTortxo

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I've been keeping it moist but rung out most of the hot water (was boiling water when first put in bucket) and he seems to love it. I tried the natures care potting mix that was recommended to grow his food but he took a bite so I immediately removed that. I just worry if he tried to eat this coconut coir or if it will bother his eyes while he's digging around. I guess I just worry to much that he'll get sick. My biggest fear is losing him. I know the pet shop used wrong products for everything so I'm just trying to reverse whatever sickness has happened.

Thanks Tom for your reply. I will continue to keep the coir moist.


Also I did hand pack it down but he loves to dig and move it around so I just worry :/
 

Tom

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Mine dig it up all the time too. Every once in a while when they are outside sunning, I go through and reset their food and water bowls into the substrate and repack it all down. Even when it goes a week or two between re-packings, I have not had any eye problems.

Fresh coir seems to be very messy. After it "settles" in for a couple of weeks or months, it seems a lot less messy, even when they burrow down into it.

I frequently dump large amounts of water into my coir to keep it damp enough in my dry climate. Others might not need to dump as much or as often.
 

RussianTortxo

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Okay thank you for replying, I definitely feel a lot better about it now. Glad to have bought something he won't try eating but is easier to dig in without being harmful to his eyes!

Thanks for your help!
 
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