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I've decided it might be worthwhile to document my process while I switch over my remaining pets to naturalistic setups. I'll be starting the hedgehog one for Finnick in the next few days, once I finish the Skink one.

This is going to cover 1) a breakdown of one of my tropical tanks and how the system works, 2) the concepts and images I'm working with to apply to my hedgehog enclosure, which will mimic African grassland and utilize several of the techniques from the tropical builds, 3) concerns and confusions regarding the process, and then 4) the build itself.

I thought I would start with what I know in case anyone stumbles across this and is interested in making an animal cage self-sufficient. I have no idea how what I know will apply to a different global region, but a lot of the same concepts *should* apply no matter what. My current goal isn't fully self-sufficient, so the stuff in the tropical section might help out someone looking to go for a full-on ecosphere.

Here goes.

Section I

I've built 5 different tropical vivariums now. This is the technique I used with the three that are currently operational. There are obviously other methods that different people prefer, but after some trial and error, I've settled on this one.

Materials:
-Several bags of Hydroballs or similar dried clay balls, to cover at least 2 inches of the floor of the enclosure. Gravel works as well but won't purify the water as thoroughly.
-Piece of mesh (ie screen door mesh) or pond liner, oversized by several inches (In case I want to recess it and make a pond) to the dimensions of the floor.
-Coroplast to block out the pump cubby.
-Potting soil, coco husk, moss, leaves to cover floor.
-At least 200 isopods
-Live plants suited to various levels of moisture but all well within the tropical range, with roots that are less likely to rot.
-Multiple pieces of lightweight cork bark, driftwood, or other tree barks, sanitized by baking or bleaching. I don't like using heavy materials in case something falls and someone gets squished.
-Artificial decor such as vines, filler plants, aquarium ornaments.
-Can or two of spray foam for making pond waterfalls. One can = 3ftx3ft of wall comfortably.
-Shallow water pump by exo terra or zoo med.
-Aquarium builder's silicone.
-Thermometers, hydrometers, temperature gun.
-Lighting appropriate for both plant growth and animal health.



#1 is the drainage layer. This both prevents the soil from being too wet and provides the supply for the pump that runs the waterfall. The drainage layer only has to be an inch or so unless you add a waterfall, then you need enough water to submerse the pump.

#2 you can barely see the pond liner I used sticking out here. This creates a barrier between the substrate and the drainage. Without the barrier the water in the hydroballs is cloudy, plugs your pump, and isn't very nice for the animals to drink.

#3 this is all the potting soil and coco husk mixed up. Make sure you use either amphibian-branded soil, or potting soil with no fertilizer. The fertilizer contaminates everything and the pets can die from even a slight interaction. The isopods have all been dumped into this mess.

#4 on top of the mix, there's some moss and some dried leaves for ground cover. You can see the leaves better on the right side of the tank.

#5 is one piece of cork bark. There are 4 pieces in this tank. One on the ground where the number is, a bigger one on the ground to the right that Grunt the crestie uses for cover, and two pieces glued with silicone to the back wall. These pieces are cork rounds, and are used to trickle water from the waterfall into a pond in the back of the cage. Grunt sits inside them to drink.

#6 Live Plants! This is my favorite part, but it's also the most complicated. Make sure you pick plants suited to the environment. In this case, they have to like a lot of water and a light source that emits 6700 kelvin. This tank has the one big bromeliad that I bought at Walmart for $5 and washed the fertilizer off of, several pieces of Hedera helix ivy, again from Walmart, the pretty green and yellow Codiaeum croton that needs full sun, the green leafy thing that's near the middle of the cage higher up that I bought from www.junglejewelexotics.com for my frogs and snipped a piece off of, and a few other odds and ends also stolen from the frogs.

Each plant has been placed in a location in the tank that has the moisture level in the soil it requires. It varies rapidly throughout the enclosure, so one of the first things I learned the hard way was plant each thing in the right spot. If you have a moisture gradient, everything WILL die on you once or twice. Buy cheap plants at first!

#7 fake vine and fake plant. I planted this as fast as possible because the cresties were an impulse buy by my boyfriend, so it hasn't had time to fill out. The vine provides a perch and the fake plant provides some added cover while the live stuff grows in.

#8 shows the cork round with the waterfall. The water is dripping just below the number 8, being caught by another piece of bark, and dribbled down in a different location, into a shallow pond.

#9 is both the cubby where the pump hides and a good look at the background. I cut the coroplast about 8 inches long x the height of the tank. I then slit it vertically through only one layer to make a bend in the middle, so I end up with 4 inches, a slit, and 4 inches. I cut a few 1/8th inch slits in the bottom, about an inch tall. Then I bend it and silicone it in place. The slits in the bottom allow water to enter the pump from the hydroballs. I don't put hydroballs where the pump goes, stick the pump's suction cups to the bottom of the tank, run a tube up to wherever my waterfall starts, puncture a hole in the coroplast and poke the tube through. I then coat the whole back wall and pump cubby with waterfall foam. That gives it the textured lumpy look. I pat some dry soil into it as I go so it looks more natural. You can also paint the stuff but I've never tried. When it's dry it feels like styrofoam and it cuts very cleanly, so it's easy to adjust for wall hangings and future water spouts.

Next time I go bother my dart frogs I'll take a picture of the pump section so you guys can have a visual.

#10 is reminding me to mention the lighting, which is off in this picture. This tank is using an exo-terra terrarium hood with space for two bulbs. It has one uvb bulb for the geckos, exo terra brand, and one bulb that I'm pretty sure "normal" people buy to grow marijuana. I found it at a small hardware store. It has an output of 6700 kelvin, which is what the long tube bulb I have on my frogs is as well. This seems to be the sweet spot for tropical plant growth. The bulbs sold by the reptile companies for plant growth aren't even close to strong enough, and consistently killed all of my plants.

So. The water is constantly flowing. The plants, soil, coco husk, and hydroballs purify the water. The pump cycles the cleaned water back up through the tank. The plants clean the air and use the gecko poop as fertilizer. The isopods digest the decaying plant matter and feces. The lights keep everything photosynthesizing. I have to pour water in once every two weeks and water one of the plants occasionally. If Grunt poops on a wall I scoop it off and throw it in the garbage. I wipe down the glass once a month. Rarely I have to trim a plant back. Other than that, it's self-sustaining.

If you have any other questions about that section, don't hesitate to ask! That's where me knowing what I'm talking about ends.

Section II

I've decided to focus my design around Senegal's inland. I checked the range of four toed hedgehogs and compared it with an average rainfall map, which resulted in a neat correlation. Both came up using a google image search.

I found that these wild hedgehogs live in the region of Africa where the average rainfall per year is between 100 and 650mm. The temperature range is 68-95 degrees F. (I didn't include Algerian hogs because I think Draenog is on to something and they may not be as much of a genetic influence as once thought.) So they like it pretty dry, and what we're used to giving them in the temperature range.

Another Google search gives images of Senegal's drier areas looking like this: https://magazine.cim.org/~/media/Im..._Geology_John Atherton.ashx?h=469&la=en&w=750

Very dry, with rocks, grasses, and some low trees. The ground is a sand/soil mix that doesn't easily support growth and is for the most part quite compacted.

I found this image of a zoo's display for their hedgehogs. It's a larger species, but I think the terrain is fitting. http://s3.zoochat.com.s3.amazonaws.com/large/p1260118-196859.jpg

Right now I'm thinking of doing a smaller plastic bin add-on that is set up like the zoo image, and seeing what Finn thinks. I'm going to use the layering substrate method from my tropical set ups, minus the hydroballs, because I won't be using a pump, and I won't be soaking the cage down regularly.

The plan is to do a layer of compacted potting soil, dampened, pressed, and left under a heat lamp to dry. Then a layer of fine sand or zoo med excavator clay, again moistened, compacted, and dried. That should make a decent foundation to start with. I'm going to use fake plants at first just for simplicity and in case he hates it. I'm hunting for artificial grasses right now. If he likes it, the plan is to use my finger to poke into the soil layer, plant the live plants, pack the area around their roots in tightly, water them, and add my final loosely-packed walnut shell layer along the whole floor of the cage.

After that I'll add some cork bark hides, just like what they used in the zoo image. I'm going to leave his food and water on the fleece side, and I'm also leaving a bare spot for him to roll around in the walnut.

If he loves that I may get him a bigger add-on tub, or I might remodel the whole thing. I'd like to eventually add more types of plant, and some different textures of wood. I'm not adding rocks because I'm terrified of the weight of them.

Plants I'm considering:
-Wild Alberta grasses
-Bothriochloa bladhii if I can find it, which is a grass native to Senegal but is often used as a decorative grass elsewhere.
-Sansevieria trifasciata, once I do more research into its toxicity. It is classified as mildly toxic when eaten, but it's the one plant I know I won't kill. It likely won't make the cut.

This list will grow and change as I learn more. My aunt runs a company that specializes in indoor plants for businesses so once she's got some spare time I'm going to have a good long chat with her about potential succulents that aren't spiky.

Section III

I still have no idea what to use in place of my usual isopods. Everything I usually work with is tropical. I'm starting to think there won't be anything locally available that will do this job, which really just means I need to scoop poop out of the cage daily, just like I do now. I'll also have to remove dead leaves from the ground.

Obviously my range of knowledge on potential live plants is lacking. I'll update with changes to the list or any major breakthroughs, but I don't mind having to water them.

I'm not going to run an underground water source for the plants unless I absolutely have to, because that means adding a port to access the water so I can cycle it. And that sounds like a lot of work.

And that's where I'm at right now. I'll start posting for section IV, which is the actual build, once I get started.

Who made it through the whole thing!? You get a cookie!
 

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Yay!! :D I was very, very excited to see this post at the end of my unread threads!!

I'm curious, do you have any thoughts on the issues with urine building up in the substrate? That's what I've been considering the biggest challenge since poop is so much easier to spot clean out if necessary.

I'm super interested to read anything you find out about plants as that's also my biggest challenge. I've been looking more for plants that will be salt-tolerant (in case of urine-related issues) & also tolerant to dry conditions & heat. These were the grasses I found so far
- bitter panicum (panicum amarum)
- sand cordgrass (spartina bakeri)
- zoysia
- seashore paspalum
- bermuda grasses

But I love the idea of having one that's actually native to their natural habitat, so I may try to find the one you listed first & keep the others as back up ideas, or maybe try a mix or several kinds & see what does best.

I've also been trying to find small shrubs or shrub-like plants that wouldn't take up all of the enclosure space, but that's been a bit more challenging. :lol: I have a list going (again, species that are salt & heat tolerant, and also small), but I still need to look more into each of them for toxicity issues.

I don't want to take over your post though, so I may start my own thread at some point! Maybe when it gets closer to when I bring Bindi home & actually have a chance to start setting things up.

Can't wait to see how it goes & what Finnick thinks! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
With the loosely packed crushed walnut layer on top, the urine should cause the substrate to clump where the pee lands, so I'll hopefully just need to scoop it out and refill the top layer as needed. But of course Finn refuses to pee in the test bin I have set up for him, so I have no proof of concept yet. When my kingsnake has a messy poo it causes the walnut shells to clump.

Those grasses all look awesome!

I couldn't find anything bush-wise I would trust myself not to kill, but I'm thinking of maybe planting a small Dracaena fragrans inside a piece of cork round and embedding that into the substrate like a pot so I can water it and not disrupt the dryness of everything else. It would naturally grow tall enough so that Finnick won't mess with it, and I can cut it down as needed. It would cause kind of a shady, covered spot on the floor of the cage.
 

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I'm following :)
Your temporary set-up sounds similar to what I've had before, except I didn't use sand as bedding. I hope he likes it! Plants & custodians seems to be the hardest ones to find... these grasses look interesting, I'm still debating whether I'll go for live plants or stick with the fake ones I have now.
I really need to try that walnut substrate. It sounds promising.

Just curious, why did you specifically pick Senegal, and not the area the hedgehogs are exported from?
As for temperatures, the range tends to be much broader than 70-80F (depending on location it can get well into the 90s). In general, we seem to keep our pet hedgehogs on the cool side (75F)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Honestly, I picked Senegal because I also own a Senegal parrot and I've been considering dedicating part of her cage to a more natural set up as well. It cut down on research a bit. I did take a broad look at the rest of the areas they're found in, and it seems to be rocky grassland for the most part.

Whoops! The temperature guide I was using is only for two months of the year. I'll have to change that info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update time!

Finn finally peed in my test bin of walnut shells. It doesn't "clump" per se, but it only sank in about a millimeter, and it stayed confined to a very small area, almost like with paper towel. I used my freshly washed snake pooper scooper - which is basically a glorified kitty litter scoop - to pick up the pee. It worked great! I left some to see what would happen once it was dry, and it caused some discoloration in the substrate, which made it easy to find and scoop. So that theory was proven to my standards.

I picked up the strangest shaped plastic bin I have ever seen, but it should do the trick. It's 1 foot x 3.5 feet. I'm going to cut a hole in the long side near one end and connect it to the main cage. The resultant cage will be an L shape, with the more regularly shaped bin holding his food, water, favorite hide, and wheel, and the weird bin being the naturalistic one. I'm going to cut the hole and start laying the soil layer in the bin as soon as I'm done posting.

I have a "Reptile and amphibian room" where I keep the snakes, the skink, the frogs, the day geckos and the hedgehog, since they all need the same temperature range on the cold side. Or in Finn's case the whole cage. So heating the new attachment shouldn't be a concern, but I do have a spare heat lamp ready to go just in case.

And a brief side-note I thought of while collecting supplies: If anyone decides to try this, do NOT use Zilla Jungle Mix. (http://www.petmountain.com/photos/product/giant/114420S584866/-/24-quarts.jpg) This stuff drives me nuts. I've used it a few times on reptile enclosures, and I always end up getting my hands covered in substrate. It looks like harmless soil, but really it has teeny little fibers that are RAZOR SHARP AND EVIL and get stuck all over my hands. I'm usually picking slivers out for days while cursing myself for forgetting why I hate this product. I can't even imagine the torment it would cause to a curious hedgehog nose.

I'll update again with pictures either tonight or in a few days, depending on how things are going. There's a Reptile show in Edmonton this weekend, so I'm going to pick up some cork bark for the cage, along with my usual supply of frozen dead things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I introduced the secondary bin with fake plants Friday night. Finnick seems a little unsure of it, but there are distinct roll marks where he's been, so I'm going to stick with it for now.

Here's a shot of the substrate layers:


There's a layer of plantation soil mixed with a bit of play sand at about a 6:1 ratio at the bottom. I figured if I do plant anything live it will like sandy soil, so I might as well get a head start on that. On top of that layer there's a thin strip of compressed play sand. I was hoping it would act as a barrier between the soil and the walnut and keep my future roots safe, but it didn't work as the following picture will show. The top layer is a nice big helping of crushed walnut shells. It's still working well for Finn, but he does roll in it and track it all over his fleece-themed bin, so I've been doing a little extra cleaning lately. However, it's also almost completely removed his nightly poop boots so I figure it's an alright trade off.

Here's the bin after the party that happened on night one:


From the streaks of dirt, you can tell where he's been. You can also tell that my more naturally-occurring compressed layer of sand didn't do the trick. I'll probably scoop the top layer off and lay down plastic screen door mesh instead. If it works, when I decide to get live plants I can poke holes where the plants go and it should keep the hog out of the roots.

From the dirt clusters on the surface of the substrate it looks like Finnick only went part way into the bin. I think he checked out the cork hut, rolled around a bit, and then left. None of the plants on the other side were disturbed either, while I found the dark green ferny-thing dragged into the hole that connects the two bins.

The connection point is a 4" wide circle on the far right of the new bin and the left of the top edge of the original bin. I stuffed a piece of pvc pipe in and duct taped it in place for now.

So I think it's going alright so far. I'm going to leave everything as-is for a week or so and see if I start finding roll marks all over the bin instead of just in the entrance. I might add a few more pieces of cork just as hiding spots, but other than that I'm just going to let Finn get used to it and keep an eye out for any substrate sticking to him. I'm also going to watch for dry skin, and any changes in bowel movements. he's still only going to the bathroom on or next to his wheel, in his "litter box".

And that's where we're at right now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, today the entire bin is destroyed. There are roll marks everywhere, every single plant is "uprooted" and not where I left it, and several of the loose orange leaves are in the other bin. The only thing unmangled is the cork hut. I must have missed one heck of a party last night! I'm going to add the mesh layer this afternoon and we'll see if that helps prevent my layering from getting so messed up.

And there's been an unforeseen side effect to this new bin. Finnick has lost about 25 grams. He was never big to begin with, so I'm going to have to add more fat to his food mix. He's not quite concave but dangerously close, yet the food dish still has five pieces of varied kibble in it, as usual. I guess he's getting more exercise with this new source of entertainment.
 

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I noticed the same thing with Reggie when I introduced the sandbox. Not only is he now rolling around in it, but he seems to take that energy all over the rest of the cage by spending more time running through tunnels, climbing on things, moving his toys, etc. I can only take that as a good sign, even though my wallet is suffering with the fattier worms I have to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I can only take that as a good sign, even though my wallet is suffering with the fattier worms I have to buy.
I find this is true of every pet you can get. Sure, there's the basic level of care, but once you start to realize you can give them so much more on a diet level, or an enrichment level, or what have you, that "insanely reasonable monthly cost" has skyrocketed xD. It's always well worth it in the long run though! Just seeing the cage completely trashed every morning is reward enough for me :lol:
 

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I'm so happy both of the boys are enjoying their sand areas so much! :D Reading all of this is so encouraging and making me so excited to try things out with Bindi. She's a sleepy girl & definitely has the typical hedgie tear-drop shape to her body. If she likes the natural cage set up & is more energetic & exercises more with it, that'll be fantastic. Especially because so far she likes the fatty bugs, mealworms and waxworms. :roll: I told her she needs to eat healthier than her mom. :lol: Plus, I'm heavily considering using mealworms as clean up crew in the cage, but was still hesitating as I don't know how many she'll eat if she can find them freely in the cage, and I don't want her gaining too much from eating lots of mealies. But maybe having to dig for them & being more active in a natural set up will help offset that.

And I totally hear you on the monthly cost thing. I've been sidetracked away from working on diet plans, but I have a feeling I'll be spending a decent amount on insects each month. Plus the cost of whole prey options (which tend to be pricey for small prey like pinkies, day-old chicks & quail chicks, etc.), whole grinds, and such. Though at least those things & veggies can be bought & frozen, so that it's not an every-month cost. And I'm hoping to do a variety of enrichment & such too, some of which may not be washable or reuseable, so that'll add to costs too. Oh well, it'll be worth it if she likes it! I'm really looking forward to expanding enrichment activities for all of my pets once I'm settled & have them home & can try out different things.
 

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Just out of curiousity, I went into my budgeting program and added together everything I've spent on Reggie since I got him. It averages out to $126/mth. That includes 1 emergency vet visit, hedgehog boarding for a week when I went on vacation (haven't done that in YEARS!), and some supplies I hopefully won't have to buy again (unnecessary heat lamp, travel carrier, CSW). If I cut it down to just "regular" costs (food, toys, vet check-up, sand), it's only about $28/mth. Not bad for a pet!

Of course, owning a pet is never "regular", is it? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Finnick loves waxworms too. I made the mistake of giving him one while I was feeding the skinny salamander and now he says mealworms are lame. I'm going to dump some mealies in the bin early next week along with one live plant and see how that goes now that he's pretending not to like them anymore.

My estimate for Finn is about $80/month right now, but I always round my prices way up so I don't run out of money. I'm a little crazy like that :).


The mesh is in and I moved all the plants around so the ones he prefers are on the more heavily used side of the bin. I also doubled the depth of the walnut because there were spots in the cage that were dug right down to the plastic. We'll see what he thinks tomorrow morning!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Alright, here's what's new!

I decided to visit my aunt the botanist over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, which means two things. One, I didn't get to change anything in the cage yet, and two, I learned a whole crapload about plants.

The cage is still the way Finn and I left it before we went away. The mesh doesn't work AT ALL so I'm thinking small embedded pots of plants. He took the entire 2x4 foot piece of mesh, dragged it into the other cage and set it in his wheel. I'm not going to sift soil from sand, so it's kind of a 2:4 ratio of soil to walnut shells right now, which is working fine for us. After seeing Skadi's cage set up I'm thinking I'll add a corner of straw for Finn to mess around in and leave the rest the soil/walnut mix. I'm also hoping the straw will act as a filter in the doorway to keep the sand on the sand side, and not everywhere. Yes, Natascha, it's a horrible mess, isn't it? ;). Still no sticking to toes, nose, eyes, or anywhere else.

Now, on to plants. My aunt took me into her greenhouse and picked me one decently-sized adult spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) and one messy, overgrown Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri'). She says the ferns on the asparagus fern are safe to eat but the berries may be dangerous to hedgehogs, as they are mildly toxic to cats, so to just pick them off as they come in, before they're ripe. The plant itself is African, which is a plus, but it's South African. So not quite, but at least the same continent. It does like rocky terrain so it almost, sort of fits in. Kind of. In Africa it's basically a weed, and it'll choke out other plants, so it should be pretty easy to grow. It likes filtered light and low to moderate watering.

The spider plant was just tossed in because they look a bit like low hanging grasses and they're safe to eat. They like filtered light as well, and more moderate water. Again, an African native, but not to the region our hogs are from. They live pretty much in a semi-circle around that region, and then farther south as well. It seems that very few native plant species grow in that specific zone to begin with, so little has been done with them in regards to exportation and cultivation. My aunt also suggested the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) that I was looking at, but it will get tall instead of bushy.

So I'm going pot hunting in the next few days and I'll pick up some rabbit straw from the pet store when I go to get mealies. Not sure how I'm going to divide the straw from the sand yet. Probably a tupperware container with low sides.
 

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:lol: Finn, you stinker. I burst out laughing at the mesh thing. How on earth did he do that? Glad to hear it's still working well otherwise! I hope the straw thing will help stop the attack of the sand. Can't wait to see pictures once you have the plants in!

I've thought about spider plants as well, I remember them getting mentioned several times in my bio-active group. I may add it onto my list in case most of the ones I have so far don't work out. I haven't had a chance to progress much on the plants yet. I did get some time for research this past weekend, but spent it on insect nutritional information instead.
 

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After seeing Skadi's cage set up I'm thinking I'll add a corner of straw for Finn to mess around in and leave the rest the soil/walnut mix. I'm also hoping the straw will act as a filter in the doorway to keep the sand on the sand side, and not everywhere.
So far every hedgehog I have seen loved hiding and plowing through piles of straw, so I think it is going to entertain him quite a lot! :grin: As for filtering the doorway: You should definetely try, but my experience says it's rather unlikely, since I have to pile the straw back together every morning and find straws everywhere. It's hard to say which straw was left by a guinea pig and which by a hedgehog, but they are definetely scattered inside their enclosure as well. Keep me updated on this one :)

I have not read this topic before (I'll admit it, the first posting took me to long :roll:), but it really is quite interesting! I have been sowing grass two weeks ago and it's almost fully grown. I put it inside bins similiar to their sandboxes and will see whether they like it or not (if not, the guinea pigs will love it, I guess). So far, Kea did not seem to enjoy the soil too much, but we'll see.

Live plants would also be a nice thing. I don't know about their preferred climate, but Callisia repens would have been my first guess. They are South-American, though.

PS.: Your signature was obviously inspirational to me and I just realized how much they are alike. I am sorry. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Kelsey, I have no idea how he did it. It was pinned down with at least two pounds of sand, plus the cork bark. But he did it anyway! I was pretty impressed with him.

Skadi, I was thinking about growing grass but Finnick is such a digger I'm pretty sure he'd just uproot it. Keep us updated on how that goes! My guinea pigs used to love grass! And don't worry about the signature, yours looks awesome!
 

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Apparently Finnick has found the greatest of all foraging toys!!! I'm sure this was mentioned before, but what was the purpose of the mesh? I wonder if we could come up with an alternative that might be a bit more Finnick-fool-proof.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I was hoping to use it to separate the plant roots and soil layer from the walnut layer to keep the little doofus out of the plants' roots. I was going to cut slits in it and poke the roots of my plants through. He definitely lifted it by an edge and then pulled it into the other cage, so if I could find a way to tuck the edges in... But I don't want it to be permanent in case my roots get out of control like they often do in my vivariums and I have to split a plant up. Right now I'm thinking just imbedded pots into the walnut layer, but if you have any ideas I'm open to trying them! I really want it to be as natural as possible and the pots detract from that feel a lot, even though I'll be the only one who knows there are even pots in there. And all of you, of course, now that I've told you! :lol:.
 
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