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Home > Snakes > 10 Best Snake Substrate Bedding Options of 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

10 Best Snake Substrate Bedding Options of 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

saw dust for snake bedding_Left Handed Photography_shutterstockSnakes are diverse creatures, ranging from tropical reptiles that love the humidity to desert dwellers that prefer it dry. They require a substrate that will absorb the odors of their waste but won’t be ingested accidentally or stick to their face, body, eyes, or mouth.

There are plenty of substrates that you could use for your snake’s bedding, but testing them all can be risky. You never know what you might get along with the substrate. For instance, mites can infest certain reptile beddings, which you definitely don’t want to introduce to your snake.

Fortunately, the following reviews feature the best options for snake bedding!

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber
  • Great for maintaining humidity
  • Naturalistic look
  • Eco friendly
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Zilla Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding Zilla Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding
  • Inexpensive
  • Great for burrowing
  • Absorbent and odorless
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate
  • Great for maintaining humidity
  • Easy to store
  • Long lasting
  • Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark
  • Great at moisture retention
  • Maintains humidity well
  • Washable and reusable
  • Zoo Med ReptiSoil Zoo Med ReptiSoil
  • Great for bioactive terrariums
  • Fantastic for burrowing
  • Drains well
  • The 10 Best Snake Beddings

    1. Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber – Best Overall

    Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber

    Zoo Med’s Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber gets our pick for the best overall substrate for snakes because it is great for retaining moisture and maintaining proper humidity levels within the enclosure, which is a very important part of husbandry.

    The fiber is very natural looking, allowing you to create a more naturalistic setup for the snake that can be enhanced with other terrarium décor. It also encourages burrowing for the snakes that like to hide away underground.

    Coconut fiber is moderately priced, long-lasting, and often touted as having a low risk of impaction if swallowed. It’s also great at naturally absorbing and breaking down odors within the enclosure. It’s also eco-friendly and can easily be composted or recycled.

    The downside is that some keepers have reported that their snakes with heat pits, such as ball pythons, have gotten the fibers stuck in their heat pits.

    Pros
    • Great for maintaining humidity
    • Naturalistic look
    • Eco friendly
    • Low risk of impaction
    • Naturally absorbent
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Can become stuck in heat pits

    2. Zilla Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding – Best Value

    Zilla Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding

    Don’t let the name fool you, the Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding from Zilla is a great option for snakes, especially if you are looking to get the best value for your money. Aspen chips are a reptile keeper’s go-to for affordable bedding, and they do not contain any harmful oils like other types of wood chips.

    This substrate is heat treated and great for snakes that thrive best in a dry environment and like to burrow, especially corn snakes, hognose snakes, milk snakes, and other various species of kingsnakes. Aspen won’t give off any strong odors, either, as it is considered odorless.

    While this substrate is absorbent, aspen chips as a whole are not the ideal choice for snakes needing higher humidity, as it’s hard to maintain humidity levels and aspen can easily rot when left damp.

    Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Great for burrowing
    • Absorbent and odorless
    • Free from toxic wood oils
    Cons
    • Not ideal for species needing high humidity
    • Messier than other options

    3. ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate – Premium Choice

    ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate

    ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate comes in at our premium choice because it is excellent at retaining humidity and is a great option for more tropical species and those requiring higher humidity levels. This comes in a convenient, easy-to-store compressed brick that will expand when water is added.

    This product is considered one of the top choices among reptile breeders and hobbyists for its great quality and multifunctional use. It may be more expensive as far as upfront cost goes, but it goes a long way and will last quite a while. It is made from organic coco chips and is considered sustainable and environmentally friendly.

    ReptiChip is great at absorbing odors and makes for a naturalistic environment within the snake’s enclosure. Other than being pricier than some other options, the biggest complaints were regarding difficulty breaking apart the compressed brick.

    Pros
    • Great for maintaining humidity
    • Easy to store
    • Long lasting
    • Sustainable and environmentally friendly
    • Naturalistic look
    • Naturally absorbent
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark

    Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark

    Zoo Med’s Premium Repti Bark is made from 100 percent fir bark and is a great option for snakes and other reptiles, especially those needing moderate to higher humidity, as it’s great at retaining moisture and will slowly release it into the surrounding environment.

    This substrate can last a very long time, as it is considered washable and reusable. Zoo Med advises that you can soak it in hot water every 2 to 3 months while you deep clean your enclosure. This is another option with a nice, naturalistic look and can promote burrowing.

    It’s important to note that this substrate has a bit more of a rough texture, so you want to be careful of splintering. There were some reports of mites being found in bags of Repti Bark, which can happen with any bedding, so it’s important to look it over.

    Pros
    • Great at moisture retention
    • Maintains humidity well
    • Washable and reusable
    • Naturalistic look
    Cons
    • Reports of mites in the bark
    • Rougher texture

    5. Zoo Med ReptiSoil

    Zoo Med ReptiSoil

    ReptiSoil is a wonderful choice of substrate for many reptiles and makes a great option for those that like to use bioactive terrariums. This blend consists of peat moss, soil, sand, and carbon for aeration. It’s best suited for tropical setups but can be used for a wide variety of species.

    This substrate allows for the best burrowing of them all and also provides a nice, comfortable place for egg-laying and other natural behaviors. While ReptiSoil drains very well, it can get quite messy and muddy. It is going to be much more difficult to clean than the other options.

    Overall, this is a top choice among many reptile keepers for being reasonably priced and great for multi-purpose use. Not only can it house reptiles and plants, but it’s also a good option for those that keep invertebrates.

    Pros
    • Great for bioactive terrariums
    • Fantastic for burrowing
    • Drains well
    • Reasonably priced
    • Multi-purpose
    Cons
    • Messier
    • More difficult to clean

    6. Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Reptile Substrate

    Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Reptile Substrate

    The Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Reptile Substrate works equally well with tropical and desert-dwelling snake species. If you use it dry, it will help remove the moisture from the air in your snake’s terrarium, keeping the humidity level low. If you wet the substrate, it will retain moisture, helping to maintain the humidity level in the enclosure.

    We like how effective this product is at absorbing odor and breaking down waste. It lasts longer than many other substrates because it’s so effective at eliminating the foul odors associated with snake waste. It’s also completely natural and organic, so it’s safe for your snake and the environment when you have to throw it away.

    However, this bedding tends to get stuck around the opening of a snake’s mouth, caking on, which is clearly unpleasant. Also, after a few days of being wet, this substrate starts to smell strongly of mildew.

    Pros
    • Can be used dry or damp
    • Excellent humidity retention
    • Absorbs odor and breaks down waste
    Cons
    • Coats a snake’s mouth
    • Strong smell of mildew

    7. Fluker’s 36005 Repta-Bark All Natural Bedding

    Fluker's 36005 Repta-Bark All Natural Bedding

    Fluker’s 36005 Repta-Bark All Natural Bedding is made from 100% natural orchid bark. This material is great for tropical snake species that require high-humidity environments to be healthy. It’s extremely absorptive, designed to absorb excess moisture and maintain the humidity in your snake’s terrarium.

    But this product isn’t a great fit for desert-dwelling species that need a drier enclosure. A major reason for this is the high amount of dust that this bedding releases when dry. This could cause respiratory problems for your snake. When it’s damp, though, you don’t get the same problem.

    This orchid bark is quite effective at eliminating odors, but the consistency isn’t great. If you rub your hand across the surface of this substrate in your snake’s enclosure, you’ll likely pull away with a handful of splinters. Of course, your snake’s skin is much tougher than your own, but you may not like the idea of your snake slithering across a splinter-infested substrate.

    Pros
    • Made from 100% natural orchid bark
    • Great for high-humidity tanks
    • Good at neutralizing odors
    Cons
    • Not great for desert-dwelling snake species
    • Dusty formula
    • Leaves splinters in your hands

    8. Exo Terra Coco Husk Brick Tropical Terrarium Reptile Substrate

    Exo Terra Coco Husk Brick Tropical Terrarium Reptile Substrate

    Exo Terra Coco Husk Brick Tropical Terrarium Reptile Substrate is one of the most affordable bedding options for snakes. It’s crafted from compressed coconut husk, which is naturally resistant to fungi and bacteria, helping to keep your snake safe from infection. This blend is great for keeping your snake’s enclosure humid, but it can also be used to maintain a dry living area for desert-dwelling species.

    Unfortunately, this substrate is only available in small volumes, so you’ll have to purchase several to fill a sizable aquarium. It also has large chunks of coconut husk, which don’t make the best substrate. We prefer the smaller pieces that come in other blends.

    For snakes that burrow, this is a poor choice of bedding. It doesn’t hold the shape of their burrows at all, instead collapsing around them. The large chunks can also impede your snake’s ability to burrow.

    Pros
    • Dirt-cheap pricing
    • Crafted from compressed coconut husk
    • Naturally resistant to fungi and bacteria
    Cons
    • Not available in large volumes
    • Large chunks
    • Doesn’t hold shape for burrowing snakes

    9. Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate

    Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate

    The Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate is made from 100% organic coconut coir, so it’s completely natural, free of chemicals and fragrances, and non-toxic. Moreover, it’s dust-free, which makes it healthier for your snake’s respiratory system. Plus, it offers excellent odor control, eliminating and absorbing foul odors for a fresher tank.

    But it tends to stick to the moisture around a snake’s mouth, which can be an annoyance. Also, the bag may not have quite as much substrate as it is supposed to. Additionally, some customers complained that their bags contained mites.

    Pros
    • Excellent odor control
    • Free from dust, chemicals, and fragrances
    Cons
    • Gets in snake’s mouth
    • Doesn’t contain as much as advertised
    • Some bags contain mites

    10. Carib Sea SCS00211 Coco Soft Reptiles Bedding

    Carib Sea SCS00211 Coco Soft Reptiles Bedding

    Carib Sea SCS00211 Coco Soft Reptiles Bedding is non-toxic with no aromatic oils, no chemicals, and no pesticides. Just as importantly, it’s free from parasites. This blend is made from coarse chips of coconut husk that have no sharp edges.

    Unfortunately, it’s easily ingested. It’s non-toxic but can still cause obstructions that are harmful to your snake. This bedding also creates an incredible amount of dust, which can cause respiratory issues in snakes.

    Pros
    • Non-toxic
    • Free from pesticides and parasites
    Cons
    • Too easily ingested
    • May cause obstructions in your snake
    • Dusty

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    Buyer’s Guide: Purchasing the Best Snake Substrate Bedding

    If you’re still unsure of which snake bedding to choose, we’re here to help. The truth is that most snakes will do fine with any high-quality bedding that you choose, but this short buyer’s guide will help narrow your options.

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    Bedding for Desert Snakes vs. Tropical Snakes

    Your decision relies on one vital factor: whether your snake is a tropical species or a desert dweller. While certain substrates will work for either, each species has specific needs that you’ll have to consider when purchasing bedding.

    Bedding for Desert Snakes

    Desert snakes require a dry environment. If the humidity gets too high, it can cause skin problems and infections. They’re just not suited for a high-humidity environment. As such, you’ll need bedding that won’t contribute to the humidity in your snake’s enclosure.

    However, the bedding will still need to be highly absorptive so it can absorb your snake’s waste quickly. This will also ensure that if water spills or your snake makes a large enough mess, the substrate will absorb it so your snake isn’t sitting in the moisture.

    But you have to be careful, as many of these substrates tend to be dusty. You’ll be using them completely dry, so there’s no moisture to contain the dust. Look for a dust-free formula because the dust is terrible for your snake’s respiratory system.

    Bedding for Tropical Snakes

    Naturally, tropical snakes need the opposite of what a desert-dwelling snake species need. These snakes require a humid environment and can be prone to health issues if the humidity gets too low. This means you’ll be using substrate in a very different way for tropical snakes.

    Instead of putting the bedding in dry, you’ll want to wet it down. This means you’ll need a highly absorbent substrate that can hold onto the moisture, slowly releasing it over time to maintain proper humidity within the enclosure.

    However, you’ll need to be careful to avoid mold and mildew. Some beddings are susceptible to bacterial growth and mold, which isn’t healthy for your snake.

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    Conclusion

    We hope this list has given you some insight as to which will be the best substrate for your snake’s home. There are a lot of options on the market and it can be hard to narrow down some of the quality ones.

    Our best overall recommendation for snake substrate is the Zoo Med’s Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber for its quality moisture-retaining properties. If you are on a budget, our top value choice is Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding from Zilla. Their wood is oil-free and odorless. Lastly, if you have a bit more to spend, we recommend ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate as our premium choice.

    Good luck and happy shopping!


    Featured Image Credit: Left Handed Photography, Shutterstock

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