When it comes to choosing a substrate for your iguana’s home, there are a lot of products out there to choose from. What you may not realize is that many of the products marketed as reptile bedding are not safe for iguanas. Iguanas can accidentally or intentionally consume their bedding, making things like many types of barks and sand unsafe because they can lead to intestinal impaction.
To make it easier for you, we’ve put together reviews of the 7 best substrates for your iguana. These will help you make an educated choice on the best substrate to meet your iguana’s needs. No matter what you choose, you’ll need to closely monitor your iguana with its new substrate to ensure it’s not trying to consume it!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Zilla Terrarium Liner||
|Best Value||Zoo Med Eco Carpet||
|Premium Choice||Exo Terra Sand Mat Desert Terrarium Reptile Substrate||
|Zoo Med Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber||
|Exo Terra Moss Mat Terrarium Reptile Substrate||
The 7 Best Substrates for Iguanas – Reviews 2023
1. Zilla Terrarium Liner – Best Overall
The best overall substrate for your iguana is the Zilla Terrarium Liner. This liner is available in 8 sizes from 10-125 gallons. It can also be cut to fit irregularly sized tanks.
The benefit of using this liner as substrate is that it’s reusable and easy to clean. When it’s soiled simply remove solid waste, rinse with cold water, and allow it to dry before putting it back into the tank. If it becomes torn up or begins to smell over time, it’s cost-effective to replace. This liner has a non-abrasive texture, so it won’t harm your iguana’s feet or belly. It’s treated with a biodegradable enzyme treatment that helps control odors. This product is made from recycled materials, making it eco-conscious.
Unfortunately, this product is not biodegradable and may not be recyclable in your area. You’ll need to check with your waste company to verify how to dispose of it. It’s possible for your iguana’s claws to become stuck in this liner, so you’ll need to keep the sharp tips trimmed to prevent this.
2. Zoo Med Eco Carpet – Best Value
The best substrate for iguanas for the money is the Zoo Med Eco Carpet. This product is available in one size to fit 10-gallon tanks. It can be cut to fit or overlapped for larger tanks.
This substrate liner is non-abrasive, so it will not scratch your iguana. It’s absorbent, reusable, and easy to clean, needing just a shake, rinse, and dry before putting back into the tank. This liner has a thick, soft texture that allows your iguana to have a natural-feeling environment without being able to ingest substrate. It’s made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, making it eco-conscious.
This liner is not biodegradable and my not be recyclable in your area. Your iguana’s claws can become stuck in this liner, so make sure to keep them trimmed. This product does not have an odor control chemical.
3. Exo Terra Sand Mat Desert Terrarium Reptile Substrate – Premium Choice
The Exo Terra Sand Mat Desert Terrarium Reptile Substrate is the premium choice for substrate for your iguana. It’s available in 7 sizes from 11 inches to 47.5 inches in length.
This mat has a sand-like texture but cannot be consumed like sand or gravel. It’s absorbent, reusable, easy to clean, and sturdy. This liner also helps control humidity levels within the tank. It has a natural desert sand appearance, making for an attractive tank addition. The texture of this mat means you do not have to worry about your iguana’s nails becoming stuck and it may help keep the nails trimmed.
It’s a good idea to shake off the mat before use to remove any loose sand so it does not get into your iguana’s tank. The sand can come loose over time, so you’ll need to closely monitor for this and keep the mat clean. It’s not made from recycled materials and does not have an odor control addition.
4. Zoo Med Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber
The Zoo Med Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber substrate is a brick of compressed coconut fiber that can be expanded with moisture. It’s available in a 3-count pack and a bundle of four 3-count packs. It can also be purchased in a loose option.
This substrate is great for absorption and one brick can expand up to 8 liters of substrate, which should cover a 10-15 gallon tank with 1-inch of substrate depth. Coconut fiber is made from the husks of coconuts and is a renewable resource and eco-friendly to produce. It can be used dry or dampened. It has natural odor control properties and can be composted or recycled.
This substrate can be difficult to use dry since it will require a significant amount of being broken apart into smaller pieces if purchased in bricks. If allowed to stay wet for long periods of time, it will begin to mold, so it should be replaced frequently when wet or damp. This substrate can be consumed by iguanas, so if you notice your iguana attempting to eat this bedding or accidentally eating it, you’ll need a different product.
5. Exo Terra Moss Mat Terrarium Reptile Substrate
The Exo Terra Moss Mat Terrarium Reptile Substrate is a natural-look substrate mat. It’s available in 5 sizes from 12-35.5 inches in length.
This mat is absorbent and can help control humidity levels. It can be cut to fit if needed and can be cleaned easily, just rinse and allow to dry before putting back in the tank. The soft material is non-abrasive and shouldn’t scratch your iguana. The moss on this mat would be extremely difficult for your iguana to consume but watch them closely while they get used to it.
This mat can catch your iguana’s nails, so you may need to keep them trimmed. The faux moss is dyed green and may bleed some color, so it’s best to rinse well and allow to dry before use. This product is not made from recycled materials.
6. Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate
The Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate is made from 100% coco coir, or coconut fiber. It’s available in one bag of loose bedding that is 20 liters or 21 quarts, which should be able to fill a tank that is 20-30 gallons.
Coco coir is naturally absorptive, controls odors, and is dust free. This substrate is eco-friendly and made from renewable resources. It’s biodegradable, can be composted, and is packaged in recyclable plastic. This bedding should be fully replaced every 30-45 days, so you will get a lot of use out of one bag. It will help control the humidity within your iguana’s tank and can help with heat distribution as well.
This substrate is fine grade so it can be consumed by iguanas, so you’ll have to watch for this closely. This product is a premium price when needing to be replaced every month. It will mold if left damp for too long, so you’ll have to keep an eye on this and change out small amounts as needed.
7. ZeeDix 3pcs Natural Coconut Fiber Reptile Carpet Mat
The ZeeDix 3pcs Natural Coconut Fiber Reptile Carpet Mat is available in two mat sizes of 19.7 by 15.7 inches and 31.5 by 15.7 inches. Both sizes come in a pack of three mats. These mats are made from 100% coconut fiber.
These mats are absorptive and have natural odor control properties. They are eco-friendly and made from renewable resources. They contain biodegradable enzymes to help with odor control and are flame-retardant. These mats cannot be consumed by iguanas and are reusable and easy to clean. These mats have all the benefits of coco coir without having to break apart bricks or worrying about your iguana eating it. They are cost-effective for routine replacement if needed.
Since these are coco coir, they can mold if left wet so they should be cleaned regularly. These mats may end up with frayed ends and edges if cut to size, so it’s important to purchase according to your tank size. If you are not getting enough absorption from these mats, you may need to add a second mat underneath.
Iguana Substrate Options:
Substrates to Avoid for Your Iguana’s Safety:
After seeing these reviews on the top 7 substrates for your iguana, have you found something you want to try? The best overall product, the Zilla Terrarium Liner, is both effective and cost-effective. The best value for iguana substrate is the Zoo Med Eco Carpet and the premium choice is the Exo Terra Sand Mat Desert Terrarium Reptile Substrate.
Choosing a substrate for your iguana doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing, but knowing what to avoid can save you time, money, and potential heartache. An appropriate substrate can keep your iguana healthy by providing a more hygienic environment, and some substrates offer the bonus of looking and feeling natural, making your iguana more comfortable. You can change substrates whenever you need to, so if you try one and it isn’t meeting your iguana’s needs, it’s easy to pick a new product to try.
Featured Image Credit: Bergadder, Pixabay