Snakes 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 10 reviews feature the best options for snake bedding!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Zoo Med Forest Floor Natural Cypress Mulch Reptile Bedding||
|Best Value||Zilla Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding||
|Premium Choice||Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark Natural Fir Reptile Bedding||
|Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding||
|ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate for Reptiles||
The 10 Best Snake Beddings
1. Zoo Med Forest Floor Natural Cypress Mulch Reptile Bedding — Best Overall
Made from 100% natural cypress mulch, the Zoo Med Forest Floor Natural Cypress Mulch Reptile Bedding is the best overall snake bedding and will give the floor of your terrarium the appearance of a natural forest floor, making most tropical snakes feel right at home.
Many snakes, particularly tropical species, have rather strict humidity requirements, and it can be difficult to keep the cage at the proper humidity, but this cypress mulch bedding retains moisture, keeping your snake’s environment humid and healthy for them. Simply moisten the bedding whenever the humidity dips too low. Your substrate will continue to release the moisture, humidifying the enclosure.
Desert-dwelling snakes and non-tropical species will require this bedding to be dried out before you use it in their habitat. Since it retains moisture so well, it will take a few days of drying before it’s ideal for these snakes. However, once dry, it will do the opposite, sucking the moisture out of any terrarium, which is perfect for desert snakes.
2. Zilla Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding — Best Value
With just two main ingredients, aspen and eucalyptus chips, Zilla Lizard Litter Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding is 100% natural. It’s even suitable for composting when you remove it from your snake’s cage at the end of its usable lifespan. There are also no additional resins or oils added, ensuring that it’s completely safe for all snakes and reptiles.
In this blend, the eucalyptus chips provide a fresh, natural scent that’s effective at combating foul odors. The aspen chips are highly absorbent, keeping the environment dry and making it perfect for desert dwellers. Alternatively, if you mist it with water, it will retain the moisture, helping to keep your snake’s enclosure humid for tropical species.
While this bedding is good for burrowing, it won’t retain its shape once burrowed. Some snakes prefer it this way, but others prefer for their burrows to hold once dug. Either way, this is an affordable snake substrate that works for a variety of situations, which is why it’s the best snake bedding for the money.
3. Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark Natural Fir Reptile Bedding — Premium Choice
Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark Natural Fir Reptile Bedding is crafted purely from 100% fir tree bark. Like other great snake substrates, it’s highly absorbent. This means you can use it to keep an aquarium dry for a desert species, or you can mist it down to help keep the terrarium humid. Since it’s not heat treated, it provides excellent moisture retention.
One great thing about this bedding compared to others is that it’s washable and can be reused. Every 2 months or so, you can simply soak the substrate in hot water to wash it. This helps save you money in the long run because you won’t need to constantly replace your substrate.
This bedding is ideal for tropical snakes. It’s a great replication of their natural habitat, and it helps with shedding. It’s also great for burrowing and digging species, as it’s the right size and consistency for easy burrowing but will hold its shape to a certain degree once dug out.
4. Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding
Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding is natural and made from a renewable source. Moreover, it’s 99.9% dust free, making it safe for your snake’s respiratory system. This product is also odorless and free from toxic oils that you’ll find in many other wood shavings, such as cedar. According to Zoo Med, this is the number-one snake bedding preferred by herpetologists.
Many snake beddings are designed to hold moisture so they can aid in keeping an enclosure humid. But this bedding tends to mold when it’s left wet. Still, it’s priced quite affordably compared to many other beddings, and it’s a particularly good choice for snake species that don’t require a humid enclosure.
5. ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate for Reptiles
The ReptiChip Compressed Coconut Chip Substrate for Reptiles is available in large sizes, meaning you won’t have to repurchase it all the time, making it more affordable Even better, you get a money-back guarantee, ensuring your satisfaction with the product.
It’s 100% organic, sustainable, and made entirely from coconut chips, so it’s completely safe for snakes. It’s also extremely absorptive, as it not only soaks up your snake’s waste but also helps maintain humidity within the enclosure.
But there were two major drawbacks to this bedding. First, it has far more dust than many other substrates, which is not great for your snake’s respiratory system—or yours, for that matter. Worse, some customers have found several foreign objects within the substrate, including plastic pieces, cloth fibers, and parts of other plants.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
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.
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.
Many options are available for filling the bottom of your snake’s enclosure with a suitable substrate. They can be made from a variety of different materials, as seen in these reviews, which can make it difficult to choose just one.
Our favorite snake bedding is the Zoo Med Forest Floor reptile bedding. It’s made from 100% natural cypress mulch, so it looks like a forest floor, keeping your snake’s habitat as close to their natural habitat as possible. It can help maintain humidity in your aquarium, or it can help dry it out, depending on your needs.
We think that the Zilla Lizard Litter reptile bedding represents the best value. It’s 100% natural and even suitable for composting, and the eucalyptus chips keep the enclosure smelling fresh and natural.
For a premium option, we suggest the Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark reptile bedding. It’s made from 100% fir tree bark, making it natural and safe for snakes. Plus, you can wash and reuse this bedding, saving you loads of money in the long run.
Featured Image Credit: Left Handed Photography, Shutterstock