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I'm building my gecko a new moist hide, since I didn't like the shop-bought ones very much. Without going into all the details, the lid consists of two thin, flat pieces of wood I have shaped and now need to fix together.

I don't have wood glue any more so I was thinking of using PVA glue to stick them. I would leave it for 24-48 hours to dry fully before putting it in the terrarium.

I know it's a relatively safe type of glue as it's the main type of children's glue. But I want to be sure before putting the glued wood in the terrarium. Are there any kind of fumes that could be given off (even after the glue has dried) in a warm terrarium?

What other alternatives are there?

  • Why don't you just go buy some Elmer's school glue? – James Jenkins Jul 10 '14 at 19:35
  • @JamesJenkins Elmer's is just a US brand name for PVA, isn't it? – starsplusplus Jul 10 '14 at 23:32
  • @JamesJenkins PVA is that white glue you get in schools for craft projects, for absorbent surfaces like wood or paper. I don't really care what particular brand I get. We don't get Elmer's here. I'm asking about the type of glue. – starsplusplus Jul 10 '14 at 23:40
  • According to Wikipedia and several other references, you are correct Elmer's is a brand name of PVA glue. – James Jenkins Jul 11 '14 at 10:46
  • A google search on the words 'polyvinyl acetate reptile toxicity' finds some reference discussing possible toxicity in mammals 1 2 mostly as a possible carcinogenic. – James Jenkins Jul 11 '14 at 10:56
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I've done some reading and PVA glue is generally recommended as a safe non-toxic glue for children to use. This page says it has little fumes whereas this one says it does not emit any harmful fumes.

Multiple pages say it's only toxic when ingested. So I'll be careful not to let any spills get on any of the rest of the hide in case the gecko manages to find a flaky bit.

I wish I could find something that specifically said that it is safe for reptiles, but I've seen a few references to people using it as a sealant on wooden vivariums (to seal the wood itself if you didn't buy pre-sealed pieces - not to seal the joints, which would be done with aquarium sealant) and this forum thread where someone says they knew someone who'd been doing it for a couple of years with no ill effects.

Finally it does go back to liquid when immersed in water, but I think that should be okay between the two layers of the lid, even though it's for the moist hide not the dry one.

Please do post your own answer if you know more.

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