The substrate is what lines the bottom of the bearded dragon enclosure. There are a number of different types of substrate available for bearded dragons. There are a lot of totally different opinions when it comes to the best substrate for bearded dragons. Some people are against certain substrates while others claim they are the best ones.
Bearded dragon Substrate can be a flat newspaper, paper towels, butcher paper and reptile carpet. A substrate should be selected based on the age of the bearded dragon and ease of cleaning.
Do not use anything that is lose such as wood chips, cedar shavings, and crushed corn cob, etc.
Top 3 Best Bearded Dragon Substrates
Below are some of the substrate that can be used in a bearded dragon cage.
1. Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner
This substrate is available in 8 different sizes ranging from 10-gallon to 125-gallon. It can be easily cut to fit the enclosure. One of the reasons why we love Zilla Reptile Bedding so much is that it cannot be digested and is safer for bearded dragons.
2. Tfwadmx Reptile Carpet Mat Substrate
This substrate is made of high-density tech fiber material that is durable and can be washed very easily. It’s also perfectly safe for your bearded dragon. If it doesn’t fit the enclosure, you can simply roll it and cut it with a scissor.
3. Zoo Med Excavator Clay Burrowing Substrate
This substrate will make your bearded dragon feel right at home. It allows bearded dragons to borrow and dig tunnels just like they do in nature and the best part is that the tunnels will hold position and won’t collapse.
Types of Bearded Dragon Substrates
Since there are so many different types of substrates in the market, there is hardly a consensus on the “best substrate” in the bearded dragon community. Some people have gone to the extent of vehemently opposing some substrates and insisting that there is only one bearded dragon substrate to use. The following is a list of popular types of bearded dragon substrates.
Sand and Gravel
In the wild, bearded dragons spend all their time scurrying on the sand. That’s why some people consider bearded dragon sand to be the most “natural” substrate. However, most people believe that sand or gravel increases the risk of gut impaction. Some people who have adult bearded dragons even prefer to use special forms of sand such as Non-silica sand or Calci-sand. However, using “special” sand as a substrate for baby bearded dragons is still a bad idea.
Reptile Carpets / Cage Liners
A Cage liner is a special synthetic carpet that is made to simulate natural bearded dragon habitats such as grass and desserts. A carpet is really easy to use; all you have to do is spread the carpet across the floor of the bearded dragon enclosures. However, many people worry that the beardie’s claw may get caught in the loops of the carpet causing it to get ripped off.
While old newspapers aren’t as aesthetically appealing as sands, they are really easy to maintain. Moreover, the risk of impaction is completely eliminated making it the perfect substrate for baby bearded dragons. If your bearded dragon loves to dig, you can buy washed and shredded newspaper substrate from the pet store. The only major problem with newspaper substrates is that they retain humidity.
Ceramic tiles are relatively a new addition to the list of bearded dragon substrates. Lowe’s or Home Depot that are usually used in bathrooms or kitchens can be used as a substrate for dragons. These tiles are easy to clean and look nice. They also eliminate the chances of impaction problems.
Though the above bearded dragon substrates aren’t exactly perfect, there are some substrates that you should avoid at all costs.
Substrates That You Need to Avoid
Shredded Bark and Mulch
Bark and Mulch can also be used as a substrate for bearded dragons however they are not highly recommended. One of the downsides to bark and mulch is that it retains humidity causing the humidity level to raise above the appropriate level.
Crushed Walnut Shell
It has sharp and jagged edges and it can cause severe impaction if ingested by the pet lizard.
It is hard and highly indigestible.