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Old 01-29-2011, 05:00 PM
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Default "Rodent" odor question

I am having a bit of a problem with my Short Tailed Opossum, Reggie. His feces absolutely REEK (I should have expected this due to his diet, but for some reason it didn't even occur to me) and I am having a very hard time keeping the area around his cage from not smelling to high heaven. This wouldn't be a problem, but his cage is in my sister and I's bedroom and it just is NOT working. At all. He is 10x more stinky than my ferrets (+ six dirty litter boxes) could ever hope to be.

It is getting to the point where I need to figure out how to eliminate the smell, or he is going to have to be rehomed.

I think a large portion of the problem is that the only place he defecates in his cage is where his wheel is at...and since his wheel is mesh, when he poops and pees on it, it stays on the wheel and gets mushed around before it falls off. Then when he runs on it, the smell of the feces and urine (both on and under the wheel) gets fanned throughout the entire room.

I can completely clean his cage and scrub the wheel and it smells okay, but all it takes is for him to crap once (always on his wheel) and the entire room reeks again.

Do you think changing the type of wheel he is using (so the feces and urine either just slides right off or falls through wire baring) help with the odor? Is there anything else I can try?

He honestly doesn't smell *that* bad. Probably Sugar Glider stinky (similar diet), or male mouse stinky. But that combined with the ferrets and the fact that my room is shut up 24/7 to keep the ferrets in and the cat out...it just is not working. I would feel really horrible if I rehomed him just because he "stinks" (especially since other than that he is absolutely perfect), but I don't know what else to do.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:12 PM
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I feel your pain! I had sugar gliders, and they smelled HORRIBLE. We ended up rehoming them, and while it wasn't the ONLY reason, it was definitely part of the reason. I still feel really bad about that, but it wasn't my choice, it was my dad's. But I do know how you feel. I hope you don't have to rehome him!

The only advice I have is maybe clean his wheel every day? Or maybe try your idea of getting a new wheel, it's a cheap solution if it actually works. Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:20 PM
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Can you move his wheel to another area of his cage? I'm thinking he might pee & poo where the wheel is now. Don't forget to clean the wheel real good before moving it, tho.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:21 PM
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get rid of the wheel maybe?
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:25 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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I don't know that much about them, or their diet, but I had rats... If it were me, I'd take out the wheel all together
Is that possible? I can totally see where it would be fanning the smell bleh. How big is the cage? Would it help if you got a bigger one?

What kind of bedding are you using? What are you cleaning with (chemical wise)?
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
The only advice I have is maybe clean his wheel every day? Or maybe try your idea of getting a new wheel, it's a cheap solution if it actually works. Good luck!
Even when I do clean his wheel, as soon as he poops it is like I never cleaned it in the first place. :/

Quote:
Can you move his wheel to another area of his cage? I'm thinking he might pee & poo where the wheel is now.
I'll try moving it again, but I'm pretty sure he poops on the wheel. I've rearranged his cage before and he always would go to the bathroom wherever his wheel was. He will literally run down from the top of the cage, jump onto his wheel, and poo. STOs tend to pick a "corner" and apparently his corner is his wheel. lol

Quote:
get rid of the wheel maybe?
He ADORES his wheel, and I would feel really bad if I took it out. He runs in it literally all night long. It would be sort of like taking a wheel away from a hamster. lol I'm sure he could exist without it, but I'd much rather him keep it because it keeps him entertained. He could probably go without it if he were in a GINORMOUS cage (like, 55gal+) with lots of climby/hidey/interactive toys, but I don't have the room for something that big.

Quote:
How big is the cage? Would it help if you got a bigger one?

What kind of bedding are you using? What are you cleaning with (chemical wise)?
He's in a 20 gallon tank with a tank topper on it. I really don't think it would help if I got a bigger cage - the one he is in is already considered on the "large" size for STOs - he just didn't have room for all of his stuff in just the 20 gallon. LOL I thought about tanking the 29 gallon tank from my brother that he has his crested gecko in and setting that up as Reggies cage to see if that would help contain the odor, but 1.) I don't have room for the 29 gallon tank and 2.) I don't even know if I could find a screen top for it.
The wheel (and his bathroom corner) is in the right corner of the 20 gallon tank - he keeps everything else perfectly clean.

I was using Carefresh for awhile (white ultra), then I switched to the Carefresh shavings. I picked up a bag of aspen just the other day, because I was low on money and I needed more bedding.

Cleaning, I just suds it up and wipe it down. I do have Nature's Miracle.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:02 PM
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This will save your life/home/sanity!!!

Marshall Goodbye Odor for Ferrets - Ferret.com

Works on other small animals and not just ferrets. I have three ferrets and I swear by this stuff!!! Very affordable too.
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2011, 07:28 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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I never cared for Carefresh... but I don't know that much about Short Tailed Opossums so I don't really have any suggestions, I'm sorry.

But, I did find with the rats (but I still use it for the ferrets, too) that cleaning with vinegar made a big difference. It cleans really good, it doesn't leave a residue, and its like a natural odor neutralizer. At first I thought gross I didn't want the house to smell like vinegar, but it really doesn't

This link has a whole bunch of tips, I reference it all the time... I haven't tried them all, of course, but I've tried several things from here and they've all worked so far Plus, I'm a big cheapo and vinegar is a lot cheaper (especially in bulk) compared to a lot of those expensive animal cleaners. I don't know if it'll work for you/your case, but I hope you are able to try it and I hope it works for you as well as it did for me Mainly I use a half-and-half solution of water and white distilled vinegar, I mix it fresh before I wipe down cages (or whatever I'm cleaning)

Vinegar Tips - Cleaning with Vinegar
Quote:
White distilled vinegar is a popular household cleanser, effective for killing most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Cleaning with white distilled vinegar is a smart way to avoid using harsh chemicals. You’ll also be glad to know that it is environmentally friendly and very economical.

Make your own scouring cleanser by combining 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 tablespoon liquid detergent. Add just enough white distilled vinegar to give it a thick but creamy texture.

Clean counter tops and make them smell sweet again with a cloth soaked in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

Freshen air by spraying into the air a solution of 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar, and 1 cup water.
I have read somewhere that someone used to leave a bowl or plate on top of the cage to neutralize orders, but I can't remember where I read that, and I've never tried it But I thought I'd mention it just in case.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:35 PM
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I've never had a STO, but if they're like other rodents, even a tank with a topper on it is probably amplifying the smell. Tanks just usually aren't ventilated enough. I have used a large tank for a tiny robo hamster, but we cleaned it ridiculously often so it didn't smell 'hamstery'. I'd look into a large wire cage (you can find Critter Nations on Craigslist many times). I'd probably ditch the wheel too...a temporarily pouty opossum is probably better than rehoming.
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:58 PM
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He might be pooping on it because the exercise is what gets his bowels moving.

Have you seen this kind of wheel before? It would be a lot easier to keep clean than what you've got now, safer, and they're really quiet too.

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They're a bit pricey, but will last longer than he will . And if it's come down to rehoming him over the smell, this might really help. Not sure how large he is, but the smaller size wheel might be plenty large enough for him.

And this is going to sound weird, but adding a teeny tiny bit of food grade diatomaceous earth to his diet may make a big difference in smell too. We give it to our dogs as a mineral supplement and to keep their digestive tracks balanced, and their poo is waaaay less stinky than before. The particles work similarly to charcoal, trapping toxins in the digestive tract.

ETA: agree with Grab about the ventilation! Enclosed cages trap humidity too, and that fosters stinky bacterial growth.
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