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Hi,
So I've been wanting to create a dig box for my four rats to give them some foraging options as well as giving them more things to do.
I've been doing some research on dirt to use, but I haven't really found anything useful. I heard you can use reptile sand for the dirt, but from the reviews, it's really expensive and seems like it's bad quality.
I was wondering if I can take sand or soil from my garden, boil it to sterilize it and use that?
What are the risks of using that? Will rats eat the dirt? If that is not an option, do you guys have any suggestions of what dirt or sand I can use to put in the dig box that is not too expensive?

As for plants, what plants do you think I should put in? Do you have any plants in your dig boxes that your rats particulary enjoy?

Thanks in advance
 

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A lot of people use coconut coir substrate. You can purchase it in the reptile section of pet stores or at some garden centers. It's usually cheaper at garden centers.

It comes in dried bricks and it expands in water. I think it's a decent "clean" soil option for foraging and digging but it can be either too sloppy or too dry for tunnelling.

If you know that no fertilizers or insecticides are used in your yard, you could just take dirt from your garden and sterilize it. I believe baking is a preferred method for sterilizing soil but if you want to research it more, I'd suggest looking on vivarium forums for information. Baking dirt might stink up your house.

Plants don't last long in a dig box. Rats destroy stuff really quickly. When I do a dig box, I'll sprout some wheat berries or mung beans for around a week before giving the dig box to my boys.
 
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