Beware of Moldy Wood

There are many sources that sell wood chew sticks for chinchillas. Many in the chin community sell wood and larger companies offer a variety of safe wood toys. However, know your source and how the wood is processed. The wood should be boiled, scrubbed and baked until nice and dry, but not burnt. There should never be any form of mold on any of the wood. Even the smallest spot of mold means the wood was either not dried properly or was not stored properly after being dried. Either way, the wood is unsafe to give to your chinchilla. ALL the wood in a package, no matter how small or large, is no longer good. You need to throw away all the wood.

Mold is a form of fungus. There are two types of mold; Black mold and Green mold. It can range from a small black dot to green or gray mold with fuzzy fur growing on it. This can cause sickness in both humans and animals. Black mold is found outdoors on hay/leaves and indoors on tiles/walls. It grows in places that are warm, damp with high humidity. Green mold is caused by the fungus Penicillium. It is found most often growing on spoiled or rotten fruit. The mold spores are spread by the wind. If you receive even a single piece of moldy wood in a package, DO NOT let the seller tell you that rest of the wood in the package that has not shown signs of mold (yet) is ok to use. It is not! All the wood is contaminated at that point. Whether you can see it or not, there are mold spores on all the wood. The wood will also smell bad. I was told by a vet that it is like shaking salt and pepper over the entire package and that all the wood is unsafe to use. Bad wood does occasionally happen to good sellers. It can be a one time incident in which a reputable seller will give you a full refund. If it happens with the same seller more than once, find another source for your wood.

Above are photos of moldy wood I received from a large company who sells chew sticks. I received not one, but two large orders which had moldy wood with the second order being much worse. The wood was only in transit a couple of days and was during a cool, dry time of the year. A good 1/4 of the boxes were filled with moldy wood. All of the wood had to be properly deposed of and removed from my home because of safety issues for myself and the animals. I was able to dump the wood a few days after I received it in a wooded secluded area . When I dumped the box out, it was filled with green fuzzy wood! The mold was clearly visable on all the wood at that point. Always check wood products before giving to your chinchilla.