The Best Substrates For Reptiles – Detailed Guide Of Each

The Best Substrates For Reptiles – Detailed Guide Of Each

Are you in need of finding the best substrates for reptiles? Not sure what the best one is to go for or need to compare the different ones available? Then this article is for you! We’re going to talk about the different types of substrates that can be used for reptiles and have a look at some available online. If this is something you think you need, then keep reading.

Different Substrates For Reptiles

Substrates are the material used for lining the floor of your reptile’s home, which allows them to burrow and can easily be cleaned and changed when needed. There’s even a neat study on substrates and color variation in toad headed lizards. Here’s a look at some of the different substrates available for reptiles:

  • Aspen: Aspen is a soft, loose material that can provide soft bedding for snakes, lizards and tortoises. They’re great to use for a dry enclosure and the reptile species that like to burrow. The material is made from wood from an Aspen tree, meaning it’s 100% natural. With it being a natural material, it encourages the reptile’s natural burrowing behaviour and also holds it shape. Some reptiles who would love aspen are bearded dragons and blue tongue skinks.
  • Bark Chips: Bark chips are an absorbent and loose substrate material. This is also a soft bedding and great for a reptile in a humid enclosure, due to the material being absorbent. The bark chips are best for a tropical species of reptile.
  • Beech Woodchip: Beech woodchips are a versatile flooring for most reptiles, that are essentially wood chippings. It’s a dry substrate so great for a reptile living in a dry environment and great for the arid species of reptile.
  • Carpets and Mats: Carpets and mats can be used as flooring for some reptiles, as long as they are special reptile carpets. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles. These are especially good for reptiles that are recovering as they are soft and more comforting to them. This type can be used in both dry and humid conditions.
  • Clay: There are a wide variety and range of clay substrates that can be used either loose or sculpted from moisture. This a great material for arid environments and the reptiles that like to burrow. It’s a good option if you’re wanting a material that can be used loose or sculpted into a shape by just adding some water to it.
  • Hemp: Hemp is a soft type of bedding used in a dry environment, which is great for snakes and tortoises. This is similar to wood or bark chippings, meaning they can be very easy to maintain and clean.
  • Pebbles and Gravel: This may not be the first or obvious option to go for when choosing a reptile substrate. They can be used for flooring though particularly for tortoises and aquatic species. They’re easy to clean and maintain, but may not be the most comfortable type of flooring for your reptile.
  • Soil: There a variety of soil based substrates that can be used for any specie that likes humidity. As it’s natural, it’s great for those reptiles in a naturalist environment. It’s easy to prepare, clean and maintain as well.
  • Straw: There are also a range of straw based substrates that are great for tortoise enclosures. They’re easy to keep clean and maintain, being popular for the tortoise species.
  • Moss: Moss can be used as flooring for those reptiles in need of a lot of moisture. The moss is great for producing and being in a moisture type of environment. This type is particularly popular with frogs and geckos, such as the crested gecko. They usually live in this type of environment with this type of natural material. Like most others, they’re also easy to keep clean and maintain.
  • Sand: There are a variety of sand based substrates that can be used for flooring for reptiles. It’s a good substrate to use for the reptiles that would normally be in the desert. The fine sand design will give them a feel of their natural habitat. These are also easy to clean and maintain. Leopard geckos and Bearded Dragons will love sand!

Those are some of the main types of substrates available for reptiles. Some being more targeted at certain reptiles than others. Others may also be easier to maintain and clean than others are. it best to shop around to find the right one for your reptile. Always make sure to look for one that is best suited for the reptile. It should give them a natural environment feeling.

Best Substrates For Reptiles

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Now we’re going to take a look at some substrates that are easily available online to purchase for your reptile. These are only a few, but you can find many more online too!

Zoo Med Reptibark

Available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 6 litres to 28 litres of beech chips, also ranging in coarse or fine chips. This type of substrate is perfect for bearded dragons, tortoises, corn snakes and chameleons. The beech chips are made from beech tree, meaning it is longer lasting than other substrates for these types of reptiles. It’s also great for reptiles that need an arid or semi-humid environment to live in. With also having the option of fine or coarse chips, it caters to more reptiles, so you can find the one that’s perfect for your reptile and what they like.

The bark is a great option for those reptiles needing an arid or semi-humid environment to live in. This type of substrate is easy to clean and keep maintained, so you won’t spend a lot of time constantly trying to keep on top of it and keep it clean for the reptile. Also, available in different types and sizes, you can find the best one for the reptile and its enclosure.

Komodo Aspen Bed Terrain

best substrates for reptiles

This type of substrate ranges in sizes from 6 litres to 12 litres and is a very affordable type of flooring. Perfect for snakes and any kind of burrowing reptile. It’s important when buying substrates for your reptile, that you buy the best one for them in terms of their natural environment and behaviour. This will make them a lot happier. Also, a good option for reptiles needing a humid or dry habitat to live in as this creates just that. The aspen is 100% natural, ecological, absorbent and encourages burrowing. Along with this, it’s also to keep clean and maintain.

If you have a reptile that have natural burrowing behaviour and needs a dry or humid environment to live in, then this is a great option. The natural aspen makes them feel at home and allows them to burrow and continue their normal behaviour. Also, available in different sizes and at a very affordable price, it’s a great option to consider, especially for snakes.

Standlee Wheat or Barley Straw Bedding

Straw bedding is a soft type of substrate, ideal for tortoises, large snakes and lizards. The straw is in the form of pellets which natural break down when in the reptile’s environment and is completely dust free. It is 100% biodegradable and eco-friendly, which is a great added bonus to this type of flooring. This is also an eco-friendly substrate. It’s a natural product that is absorbent and easy to clean and maintain. Also, coming in a variety of sizes from 6 litres and up to 28 litres, also at a very affordable price.

This is a great option for a biodegradable, eco-friendly and easily maintained substrate. As long as it is suitable for your type of reptile, it’s an affordable option that’s easy to clean and good for the environment.

Komodo Forest Terrain Orchid Bark Chips

substrates for reptiles

Bark chips are the perfect substrate for forest and tropical environments and reptiles. This type of bedding can be used in both wet and dry habitats and is best suited for geckos, snakes and frogs to live in. The bark chips require a daily check to remove any soiled chips. Also they need replacing every 2-3 weeks or when it is heavily soiled and wet. These bark chips are a 100% organic renewable resource. They create a realistic environment for the reptile. If your reptile comes from the forest or tropical habitat, these are perfect for creating that home feel. That can encourage their natural behaviour and make them happier. Ranging in size and prices, but with it requiring more cleaning, you may find that it uses more bark chips and actually costs a lot of money to keep replacing them.

This is a great option for those reptiles needing a forest or tropical type of environment and is also an organic and renewable source. However, it may require more cleaning and maintenance and may not be the most affordable option to have all the time.


Thanks for checking out the best substrates for reptiles! I hope you learned about the various types of substrates that your reptile can have! We hope you find success in picking the best bedding for your reptile. Please leave comments down below and we will be sure to reply back to you.


Having grown up with geckos and a bearded dragon as pets, my passion for reptiles has sparked once again! When I'm not writing about reptiles, I can be found gaming and maintaining physical shape.

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