- The Best Snake Bedding
- 1. Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding
- 2. Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding Substrate
- 3. Galapagos Cypress Tank Mulch
- 4. ReptiChip Premium Coconut Reptile Substrate
- 5. Kaytee All Natural Aspen Bedding
- 6. Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding
- 7. Fluker Labs Repta-Bark All Natural Bedding
- 8. Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate
- 9. Zilla Snake and Lizard Litter
- 10. Zoo Med Eco Cage Carpet
Snakes are an increasingly popular choice of pet; with the right knowledge, they are easy to care for and are a low maintenance reptile to have in your home. And, as long as you get their environment right in their tank, snakes will live a long and happy life.
Getting the right type of bedding – or substrate – for your new pet reptile is key to meeting their needs and also to make cleaning out their tank quick and easy. And not all substrates are suitable for every type of snake. With some species liking to burrow and others needing a more humid atmosphere, choosing the right snake substrate can seem a little confusing. But don’t worry, we have your pet’s best interests at heart with our guide to the best snake bedding you can buy.
The Best Snake Bedding
Toxin-free natural Aspen shavings
Ideal for burrowers
High absorbency rate
Odorless and easy to spot clean
As an all-round substrate, Zoo Med’s Aspen Snake Bedding comes with many positive reviews and its 24 quarts per bag is good value too. Made from natural aspen shavings, there’s no toxins or nasties that can harm your pet and it creates a welcoming environment for most snakes, especially those who like to burrow. Odorless, it’s also a super-efficient bedding to use, with an impressive 191% absorbency rating to soak up all those toilet messes. And with its lovely, loose texture, this substrate is easy to spot clean, making it a cost-effect bedding that should last your snake bud a long time.
100% organic coconut fiber
Compostable after use
Breaks down odors and waste
Can be used dry or damp
100% organic, this coconut fiber bedding from Reptile Prime is a premium substrate that’s good for your snake and for the environment. Made from the husks of coconuts, this is a versatile substrate as it can be used both dry and damp, making it a cozy bedding for a wide range of snake species. There’s just enough give for burrowing and the fibers hold heat incredibly well, creating the right atmosphere for the humidity-loving reptile. Dust-free, it’s also good for your pet’s respiratory system and efficiently breaks down odor and waste products to keep the tank fresher for longer.
Effective in controlling humidity
Smaller bark for a natural bed
Made from sustainable Cypress timber
Washed and sieved before packing
With its high absorbency, this Cypress mulch from Galapagos is an excellent way to maintain the humidity in your snake’s tank. Free from oils, salt or parasites, the cypress mulch is a good size for spreading and can be effectively spot cleaned for daily hygiene. Made from sustainable timber, there’s also no odor to the mulch, making it snake friendly from the get-go. The bag is a little on the small side so make sure you get enough if you have a larger tank but for comfort, absorbency and reptile safety, this is a good bedding for snakes to try.
Creates the right humidity levels
Made from 100% organic coconut
Hygienic and odor absorbing
Cleaned prior to packaging
Made from premium coconut chips, ReptiChip is a substrate for snakes that can also be used for a whole host of humidity loving reptiles. Ball pythons in particular will love to make this quality bedding their home, and with a little added moisture is good to use, straight out of the box. Pre-cleaned before packaging, this dust, mite and fiber-free bedding is an easy way to keep your snake terrarium clean, hygienic and comfortable. Odor-absorbing, the coconut chips are also 100% organic, making it a safe and sustainable snake substrate for your favorite reptile.
All-natural aspen shavings
Dust, mite and debris free
No artificial additives or colors
Excellent odor control
Made from natural Aspen shavings, Kaytee’s small pet bedding is a delight for your burrowing snake. Specially processed to remove all dust and debris from the finer shavings, this is an easy to use substrate that can be quickly spot cleaned for snake hygiene on the go. The bag is large enough to cover 8 cubic feet, so should last a smaller snake some time, creating a lovely reptile home from home. And with no artificial colors or additives, Kaytee Aspen Bedding is a safe choice for your pet and will help to control those odors until it is time for a full terrarium clean.
Made from natural cypress
Smart ‘forest floor’ look
Retains moisture and odor
Light enough for burrowing
We like the natural ‘forest floor’ look of this quality cypress mulch substrate, meaning you can create a realistic looking environment for your snake. But this bedding from Zoo Med is more than just looks, it’s a high-performing substrate, with excellent moisture retention properties to create the right humid environment for your pet. And with its light flake texture, it spreads easily, giving good coverage for your snake to nestle down into. It is good choice for the burrowing reptile too. Add in excellent odor absorbing qualities and you get a high-performing, attractive snake bedding substrate for your money.
Made from natural orchid bark
Ideal for high humidity-loving snakes
Maintains moisture levels
Larger chunks for reduced dust
Ideal for high-humidity loving snakes, Fluker’s Repta-Bark is made from natural orchid bark. Designed to absorb excessive moisture, it helps to keep things comfortable, and prevent your snake getting too damp, which can lead to fungal skin infections. It also comes in bigger pieces of bark which reduces the chance of accidental ingestion by your snake and also reduces the amount of dust forming in their tank. The bag size is decent too, and while it may not be the easiest substrate to spot-clean, with regular cleaning it creates a comfortable and hygienic space for your pet.
Made from loose coconut fiber
Add moisture for tropical species
Odor absorbing and easy to spot clean
Makes up to 8 liters
Our Best Value pick from Zoo Med is excellent value for money as you get a compressed brick that can make up to eight liters of snake substrate. Made from coconut husks, you simply need to break the brick up to release the loose coconut substrate which can then be used damp or dry. With a little moisture added, you can create a comfortable environment for humid loving tropical species, but it’s soft enough for the burrower too. And the natural absorbing properties of the coconut fibers suck up odors and waste products too.
Made from white aspen
Heat-treated and hypo-allergenic
Contains no colors or oils
Fresh scent for odor control
These aspen chips from Zilla are a quality buy, and ideal for more sensitive snakes. Heat-treated and made from premium white aspen fir, you also get a pet-safe and natural eucalyptus scent for a fresh odor. The ability to absorb moisture to help maintain the right humidity is impressive and the whole product is hypo-allergenic and contains no harmful colors or oils. We also like the size of the wood chips, not too fine but easy to spot clean without clogging. And, when it comes to a full tank clean, this environmentally friendly wood chip substrate is also biodegradable.
Carpet made from recycled plastic
Pet, safe, washable and reusable
Good for desert species
Use with other substrates for burrowing snakes
Our final snake bedding is this absorbent, non-abrasive carpet that’s ideal to line the tanks of snakes and other reptiles. In a two roll pack, it also has excellent green credentials as it’s made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Used as a protective layer, this carpeting works well, and can be also used alongside another substrate to create the depth a burrowing snake will need. As a tank bedding and cover, the Eco Carpet is soft to the touch and it cannot be ingested by your curious snake so is super safe. And when it comes to tank cleaning time, it can be washed and reused, again and again.
Best Snake Bedding Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look For When Buying a Bedding for Snakes
Snake species – the type of snake you are buying bedding for is an essential consideration as different species will have specific environmental needs. What you are looking to do is recreate as close to their natural habitat and behavior as possible and their bedding is key. A ball python, for example, needs a dense bedding with a higher humidity whereas a corn snake likes to burrow so needs a looser, drier substrate to get down into.
Pet-safe – ensure the bedding you are selecting is free of artificial odor or any additives or oils that could be harmful to your snake. Also look for a product that has been washed to remove any parasites, wood debris, dirt or bacteria before packaging.
Absorbency – a good substrate will have proven absorbency abilities as well the ability to break down and retain odors and waste products.
Cleanliness - you also need a substrate that is easy to clean out. You should be able to spot-clean the tank to keep on top of your snake’s hygiene, but as a bedding it should be able to last a week or two before you need to do a full muck out.
Cost - the cost of a bedding needs to be factored into your purchase, but how long the bag will last also needs to be considered as these can often be the best value for money in the long run.
Types of Substrates for Your Pet Snake
There’s a wide choice of bedding for your snake, from organic mulch to home-made solutions, including paper towels, newspaper and carpet. We give the lowdown on the most popular types of snake beddings you can use:
Cypress Mulch – this mulch creates a comfortable bedding that also lets snakes burrow deep. It looks natural and has a gentle, pleasant smell. Cypress mulch is also good choice for humidity loving snakes as it holds moisture well and helps to create the right conditions inside the tank. However, cypress mulch can harbor mites, which can lead to an infestation in your pet, so always check the packaging for information on how it has been cleaned.
Coconut fiber – another popular bedding is the fiber from coconuts which helps to break down your snake’s waste and is easy to change and clean. It's also good at absorbing odors and is dust-free so won’t aggravate any respiratory issues in your reptile.
Aspen Shavings – ideal for smaller snakes that don’t need high humidity, aspen shavings are also good for the burrowing species. Wood-based, the shavings are lightweight and naturally control any odors in the tank, just check that they are 100% natural with no additives or colors.
Bark – fir bark is a good alternative to cypress mulch as it works in very much the same way, retaining the humidity some snake species need. It's also good for burrowing and is easy to clean, although it can be susceptible to mites so ensure you buy a quality product.
Snake Bedding to Avoid
There are some substrates to avoid as they can contain toxic chemicals or give off too strong an odor. Some types of bedding also have a texture which can be harmful to your pet. The main ones to avoid are:
- Sand. While sand may look lovely, it's not recommended for any snake. Yes, they can burrow down, but the sand particles are a risk, as they can swallow them causing potential impactions in their gut. And the abrasive particles in sand can also get under their scales.
- Pine and Cedar. These shavings should be avoided as they can contain oils and toxins which can be fatal for your snake.
- Cat Litter. Much coarser than recommended snake bedding, cat litter is a no-go. The texture can lead to impactions if ingested and the litter is susceptible to both mold and dust, as well as artificial fragrances or treatments and so potentially harmful for your pet.
- Walnut shell. On paper this looks a good snake bed – it’s easy to clean and doesn’t clump. But the ground-up walnut shells are an impaction risk for your snake, and as a bedding it does not hold moisture or odor very well.
Benefits of Using Reptile Bedding
The best bedding for your snake will not only keep their tank looking neat but will also create an environment that will make him feel at home. By recreating as natural environment as possible, reptile bedding will ensure their health is maintained and support their overall wellbeing. And for any snake owner, reptile bedding makes the care and maintenance of their pet so much easier, cleaner and sweeter smelling.
Our Top Pick
Well-priced and with a large volume bag, Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding is an excellent all-round substrate that easily scoops our review's top pick. Free from odor, toxins or wood oils which can be harmful for reptiles, Zoo Med have produced an effective aspen bedding to support most snakes, especially burrowers. The shavings are super-absorbent but light enough for snake owners to easily spot clean, creating a lovely, natural environment for your pet that will last.
Q: How often should I renew my snake’s bedding?
The frequency of cleaning out your snake’s terrarium depends on the type of substrate you're using and the type of snakes you have. For all substrates, daily spot-cleaning is essential to maintain a healthy environment for your pet. Then you need to factor in a regular full tank clean out to remove all the soiled bedding and replace with fresh. Every few weeks for a full-clean out is recommended, more frequently for heavier soiled tanks.
Q: Are there snake bedding alternatives I can use?
Several items around the home can also be used as snake substrates and can be a good back up replacement should you temporarily run out of your usual bedding. Newspaper is a cheap alternative, although it does hold moisture and isn’t suitable for burrowing snakes. Paper towels are fluffier and can be shredded but they are still highly absorbent. Carpet remnants or artificial turf can be used for non-burrowing snakes and can also be washed, although they will get dirty quickly so are high up on the maintenance scale.