Top 10 Best Bearded Dragon Substrates

A substrate is a material used to cover up the floor’s surface. The other name of the substrate is bedding. Whether you want to control humidity or stinking smell from bearded dragons’ enclosure, it is always an essential consideration for all dragon owners.

The selection of substrate directly impacts the health of dragons. With the correct choice of their bedding, you can get rid of their impaction and diseases.

Mostly wild dragons can live on different surfaces like sand, rocks, fallen branches, trees, grasses, and even artificial objects such as fence posts and roads. On the other hand, Dragons kept in captivity are quite delicate and require a comfortable environment in their enclosure. So, hundreds of options regarding the substrate of bearded dragons are available.

As already mentioned, selecting a substrate for your dragon is essential as it has long-lasting effects on your pet’s health. Therefore, you should do proper research on different types of substrates available commercially and buy the best one according to the needs of your dragon. If you are exploring answers to various questions regarding substrates for bearded dragons, don’t look further! This complete guide on the bearded dragon substrate mix is present below, which will surely help you choose the right one out of hundreds of options.

Why do Bearded Dragons require substrate? 

Some of the top reasons to utilize substrate for your reptiles’ enclosure are presented below.

1.      Create a Natural Look 

By using substrate at the bottom of the terrarium, we can create a natural look at the habitat of bearded dragons. It also makes enclosures very beautiful and aesthetic for your reptiles. Therefore, every pet lover prefers to use it.

2.      Provide a Walking Surface 

Without placing a substrate for dragons, they walk on the terrarium’s glass. It is not favorable for a walk. They feel unpleasant, and their feet may get damaged by walking on glass. So a substrate is necessary to eliminate any danger for them and give them a healthy environment.

3.      Temperature Maintenance 

The substrate proves good for regulating the temperature inside the enclosure. For example, it lessens heat when the temperature gets high by absorbing some of it. On the other hand, it maintains heat when the temperature is low. In addition, it also maintains the humidity in the terrarium.

4.      Prevent Stinking Smell

Different kinds of odors take birth in the enclosure of bearded dragons. There are many reasons behind all this. To eliminate these smells, particular substrates incorporating enzymes can help dragon lovers control these odors.

5.      Relieve Boredom 

A wide variety of substrates helps bearded dragons to relieve boredom. On the natural substrate, they can play, dig, and burrow. The fine texture of the substrate makes them feel happy and comfortable living on the floor having a substrate.

Different Types of Substrates for Bearded Dragons

Several choices are available for substrates of bearded dragons. For example, we cannot tell you a single product name is the best for your dragon because your pet’s requirement varies according to age, cleansing process, and maintenance factors. The top substrates that you can use are explained below.

1. Sand Substrates 

This substrate gives a natural look to bearded dragons’ enclosures. It is an obvious choice among dragon lovers. However, some experts do not recommend it because dragons ingest these substrates which can create gut impaction.

However, you can choose calcium-based sand and non-silica sand. Both are quickly metabolized in the body of dragons. Sometimes, they may cause impaction too. So the recommendation here is that you should not use this substrate except in exceptional cases.

2. Reptile Carpets 

Cage liners or reptile carpets are credible substrates for your pets. You get them in the shape of a roll and cut them to put them on the glass surface of the terrarium. So, its adjustments are straightforward. Moreover, dragons cannot ingest carpets because of their tight surface.

The drawback of these carpets is that liner loops can damage their nails. However, their claws can also be ripped off, and they may get infected because of these wounds. If you want to choose this as the dragon’s substrate, make sure to select a liner with tight weaves.

3. Paper Towels/Newspaper Lining

Do not worry if you do not have enough money to purchase high-quality substrates for reptiles. If you have a newspaper, you can use it as a substrate. Dragons will not feel any difficulty walking and won’t even get infected. Their feet will remain safe too. However, their enclosure will look untidy.

Paper towels can also be used as substrate. They are prepared by recycling newspapers. Dragons can dig into paper towels and get amused. The negative point regarding these substrates is that they may create humidity problems for your dragons.

4. Bark and Mulch Lining 

Many bearded dragon enthusiastic lovers use this, but we do not recommend it for you because it creates a large amount of moisture within their enclosure.

On the same side, humidity levels become very high using bark or mulch lining substrates. It may be suitable for other pets but not for bearded dragons.

5. Ceramic Tiles Lining  

These ceramic tile linings are getting popular day by day. You can use bathroom or kitchen tiles for this purpose.

These substrates can easily be cleaned and look very charming. It eradicates risks of impaction and excessive humidity too.

Know About: Top 5 Best Hygrometers For Bearded Dragons In 2024

Things to Keep in Mind Before Purchasing Substrate 

When you buy substrate for your bearded dragons, you have to consider some crucial points. Some of the top points are presented below.

a)  Loose or Carpet 

The loose substrate can give a wild look. Bearded dragons can burrow and dig in it. It may contain compaction dangers in itself. On the contrary, you can cut carpet for a terrarium, but dragon’s feet can get caught by these carpets. So consider both things before your substrate selection.

b)  Safety 

The safety of bearded dragons comes first. DIY substrate for bearded dragons is not suitable for them. In addition, a substrate made up of chemicals is also not beneficial for your dragons. So try to pick an eco-friendly substrate.

c)  Cleaning 

You can clean carpets by rinsing them with water and putting them back. On the other hand, you have to pick up solid wastes from the sand or sand-like substrates with the help of a spoon or scoop. Therefore, you need to choose which substrate you pick for your dragons.

d)  Humidity and odor Control 

Many carpets are prepared by using specific enzymes. They can control humidity levels and odor. When you buy substrates for your bearded dragons, pay appropriate attention to these factors.

e)  Replacement

Before choosing a substrate, think about how many times you want to replace the whole product annually. If you select an expensive substrate, it may long last for one year. On the other hand, if you buy a cheap substrate, you have to change after months. Hence, make a decision smartly.

Some Of The Best Bearded Dragon Substrates

We all know that a large variety of substrates of bearded dragons exit. Therefore, the top ten products of substrates are given below. Bearded dragon substrate pros and cons are also present here to help you. You can analyze all these types and select anyone from them who suits your budget and dragon’s enclosure.

1. Zilla Terrarium Liner

10 Best Bearded Dragon Substrates

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One of the best-bearded dragon substrates is the Zilla terrarium liner, made of non-abrasive material, and reptiles do not feel irritation. However, it can remove unpleasant odors because of biodegradable chemicals.

This bearded dragon bedding is easy to fit. You roll it out and can cut it in your desired size. It is also available in brown and green color and looks very attractive.

Furthermore, the maintenance of this substrate is easy, so you can quickly rinse it with tap water whenever you feel it dirty and use it again.

Sometimes, your bearded dragons start to eat substrate when they fail to find food for themselves. In this scenario, this bedding is perfect as it does not contain loose material, so reptiles cannot accidentally ingest it.

The weight of this substrate is 6.4 ounces. The best point is that it is certified by the United States Association of Reptile Keepers.

2. Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark Natural Fir Bedding 

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Do you want to provide a natural substrate for your bearded dragons? If yes, this product is made for you. The material used for making this bedding is the bark of fir trees.

With its hygroscopic quality, it has the property to absorb moisture in itself and create humidity in the enclosure of dragons.

It creates an environment for dragons that they feel in the wild. For example, they can dig and burrow. Moreover, this substrate distributes heat equally and sucks waste that keeps dragons away from wasted things. It looks like a rainforest where dragons live.

You can wash it with hot water every three to four months and reuse it for cleaning. It can be perfect for use at least for one year. After that, you have to replace it with a new substrate.

3. Zoo Med Forest Floor Natural Reptile Bedding 

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This dragon bedding is an excellent choice for any bearded dragon enthusiastic with soft and comfortable characteristics. Cyprus Mulch is used to make this natural reptile bedding.

Whether you wish to retain moisture or a high level of humidity with your pet enclosure, this substrate assists you in doing this. Moreover, it gives a natural floor look to a terrarium.

It will suit your bearded dragon. It prevents mold growth and is not harmful to your pet’s skin.

Its weight is approximately nine pounds. The best point about this forest floor is that it is available here at a very reasonable price.

4. Exo Terra Sand Mat Mini Desert Terrarium Substrate

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This sand mat is perfect for providing a desert environment to your dragon and works as a terrarium substrate. It is hygienic because it limits bacterial growth.

Bearded dragons feel safe when they walk on the sand mat. The reason behind their secure walking on sand carpet is that they can grip to its floor.

Its actual size is 47.5 inches by 17.5 inches, but you can cut it suit to your dragon enclosure. Its whole weight is 2.7 pounds.

Another feature is that bearded dragons cannot ingest these desert terrarium substrates because it does not comprise loose particles.

Furthermore, you can easily put in and take out. You can also rinse it with water whenever it gets dirty. After washing, you can use it again.

5. Zoo Med Eco Carpet 

10 Best Bearded Dragon Substrates

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By recycling plastic bottles, this eco-friendly Zoo Med Eco Carpet is prepared. This product is top-selling because of its environmentally friendly characteristics.

If you are an owner of bearded dragons, this bedding is easy to handle for you because this carpet fits at the bottom of the enclosure of your reptile.

Like other substrates, this does not contain any loose particles that can adversely affect your bearded dragons. Therefore, its use is very safe.

The approximate weight of this carpet is 5.6 ounces. In addition, you can cut this bearded dragon eco carpet according to your needs.

6. Zoo Med Excavator Clay Burrowing Reptile Substrate 

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This clay substrate is the best choice for your bearded dragons because they like to dig and burrow in their enclosure.

This reptile substrate material helps your pet make different shapes like hills or terraces. It can maintain these shapes easily.

Also, do not forget to add water to this Zoo Med Excavator Clay when you put it into the dragon’s terrarium. It is crucial for burrowing. In addition, you should add water bottles or balloons to create tunnels within their enclosure. These things help in giving a natural look and feel to their enclosure.

For its cleansing, you can remove soil from there. Again, it is a natural product, and no chemicals or dyes are involved in its manufacturing process.

7. Zilla Ground English Walnut Shells Desert Blend 

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This English walnut shell substrate is prepared with natural resources, with its 6.8-pound weight, it is suitable for larger enclosures too.

It further encourages bearded dragons to continue their favorite activities like digging and burrowing. This eco-friendly substrate appeals to instincts.

Bearded dragons get help from this substrate to maintain their health and well-being. They feel cheers and happy with this product because it has heat-conducting quality.

Its ideal bedding depth is one to two inches in the dragon’s enclosure. It would help if you replaced or removed bedding monthly.

This walnut shell desert substrate does not scratch the glass of the tank of your bearded dragons, it is a sustainable option among other substrates.

8. Zoo Med Vita-Sand All Natural Carbonate Substrate 

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It consists of calcium carbonate with fortified vitamins. There is no addition of artificial color sealers in it that makes this substrate completely natural.

Whether you want to deliver calcium vitamins or beta carotene, this bearded dragon sand proves very helpful for fulfilling this need.

It is a fact that fat-soluble vitamins create many health hazards in bearded dragons when they intake them in heavy amounts. Therefore, this natural carbonate substrate does not contain any fat-soluble vitamins.

We can say that it promotes the overall health of your reptiles. This substrate is also suitable for Uromastyx Lizards and Monitors with its ultra-fine texture.

9. Zoo Med ReptiFresh Odor Eliminating Substrate 

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If you are an owner of dragons and do not want to buy substrate for them many times, this substrate is made for you. You can use it for a long time.

This is a natural substrate without any artificial coloring or dyes and stimulates digging and burrowing behavior in your bearded dragons.

The best method to use this dragon’s substrate is to pour it on the terrarium floor. Make sure the thickness of the substrate should be approximately two inches.

For its cleaning purposes, you can eliminate its soiled portions with the help of a scooper. You have to change it after one year approximately.

10. SunVilla Artificial Indoor/Outdoor Grass Substrate 

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Its non-toxicity point works as a substrate for your bearded dragons very efficiently. Your pets feel a natural environment if you utilize it.

Alongside grass, bearded dragon substrate tiles are also a combination of this floor. It also allows you to create many options with tiles and grass equally.

The cleaning process of this grass substrate is hands-on without any hard and fast rules. You take off this substrate and pour all waste into the dust bin. After that, you can again put it into the terrarium of your bearded dragons.

When you buy grass substrate, keep in mind a point that chooses a turf with a solid backing. Loose strands can create a choking hazard for your dragons.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What loose substrate is best for bearded dragons?

The best loose substrates for bearded dragons are Exo Terra Sand Mat Mini Desert Terrarium Substrate, English Walnut Shells Desert Blend, and Zoo Med Excavator Clay Burrowing Reptile Substrate. The loose substrate consists of different chunks of various components. Loose substrates comprise several particles like Reptile sand and gravel, Granulated alfalfa, Crumbled walnut shells, Coconut Fiber, Millet, Clay, Mulch, etc.

Q2. What is a bearded dragon substrate mix? 

The substrate made up of many ingredients is known as substrate mix. For making a substrate mix, you can gather different fibers, sand, or soils in one place. This kind of substrate is not expensive, and you can get all of its manufacturing materials at your home or near it. Another name of this product is a DIY substrate for bearded dragons.

Summing Up

Substrates are necessary for bearded dragons, and you must purchase them to provide the best environment for your dragon.

This article describes the importance of substrates, key points to consider before buying, and significant products that you can buy. We hope you enjoy this reading and have learned some valuable tips from this piece of information.

Read More: 3 Best Bearded Dragon Breeders Of 2024