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The 10 Best Snake Substrate Bedding Options

Diverse species of snake exist, ranging from humid-loving tropical reptiles to desert-dwelling species that favor arid conditions.

They require a solution that can eliminate the smell of their poop without making it stick to their face, body, eyes, or mouth or causing them to unintentionally eat it.

There are several substrates you may use for your snake's bedding, but testing all of them can be dangerous. You never know what could emerge from a given substrate.

Some of the reptile bedding we've bought has even had mites, which you should never give to your snake.

In our search for the best substrate for snakes, we have already tried and rated some of the most popular substrates.

Obviously, we don't want to keep this information to ourselves, which is why the following review reveals everything BestForPets (bestforpets.org) discovered when researching the best snake substrate bedding options.


Forest Floor Reptile Bedding by Zoo Med – Best Overall



The forest floor reptile bedding from Zoo Med will give the floor of your terrarium the look of a real forest floor, making most tropical snakes feel completely at home.

Numerous snakes, particularly tropical ones, have stringent humidity needs. This cypress mulch bedding absorbs moisture, making your snake’s surroundings damp and healthy.

Maintaining the right humidity level in a snake’s cage can be challenging. Simply add moisture to the mattress if the relative humidity becomes too low. Your substrate will continue to leak moisture into the cage, humidifying it.

Before using this bedding in their habitat, desert-dwelling snakes and non-tropical species will require it to dry out. Due to the fact that it maintains moisture so effectively, it will take a few days for it to become suitable for these snakes.

However, once dry, it will draw moisture out of any terrarium, making it ideal for desert snakes.


  • Made with 100% natural cypress mulch
  • Looks like a real forest floor
  • Retains moisture to maintain a humid tank
  • Can also be used to keep desert species’ aquariums dry


  • It requires many days to dry


Zilla Aspen Chip Reptile Bedding – Best Price



With only two primary components, aspen and eucalyptus chips, Zilla’s aspen chip reptile bedding is 100 percent natural. Even after you remove it from your snake’s cage at the end of its useful life, it may be composted.

In addition, there are no added resins or oils, assuring that it is safe for all snakes and reptiles.

In this mixture, the eucalyptus chips give a fresh, natural aroma that is highly effective in eliminating offensive odors. As the aspen chips are extremely absorbent and keep the surroundings dry, they are ideal for desert inhabitants.

Alternately, if you sprinkle it with water, it will hold the moisture and assist maintain the humidity in your snake’s tropical environment.

Although this bedding is suitable for digging, it will lose its form once it has been occupied. Some snakes enjoy it this way, while others prefer their tunnels to be stable once they’ve been excavated.

In any case, this is a very inexpensive substrate for snakes that can be used in a number of scenarios, which is why we believe it is the greatest snake bedding for the money.


  • 100 percent natural and compostable
  • Ultra-absorbent to maintain a dry atmosphere
  • The aroma of eucalyptus is fresh and natural
  • Consisting of pure Aspen and eucalyptus chips


  • Does not retain its form for burrowing


Zoo Med Premium Repti Bark Reptile Bedding – Exceptional Selection



Zoo Med is well-known for manufacturing several reptile-specific items, such as the premium repti-bark reptile bedding. This one is made entirely out of fir tree bark. Like other substrates of large snakes, it is particularly absorbent.

This implies that it may be used to keep an aquarium dry for desert animals, or it can be sprayed with water to maintain a terrarium wet. Since it has not been heated, it retains moisture very well.

This bedding has the advantage over others in that it can be cleaned and reused. Approximately every two months, just immerse the substrate in hot water to clean it.

This helps you save money in the long term since you won’t have to continually replace your substrate; you can just wash it and reuse it.

This is the excellent bedding for tropical snakes. It is an excellent mimic of their natural habitat and aids in shedding. It’s also fantastic for burrowing and digging species, since it’s the ideal size and consistency for easy burrowing yet retains part of its shape after being dug up.


  • Utilizing fir tree bark
  • Absorbs and releases water to prevent the terrarium from drying out
  • reusable and washable
  • Ideal for tropical reptiles


  • The color red can stain


Aspen Snake Bedding from Zoo Med



Given that Zoo Med is one of the most well-known makers of snake and reptile items, it is not surprising to see so many of their beddings on our list.

This bedding for aspen snakes is natural and derived from a renewable resource. Furthermore, it is 99.9% dust-free, making it healthy for your snake’s lungs.

There’s more. This product is also odorless and devoid of the harmful oils present in many other wood shavings, such as cedar. According to Zoo Med, this is the favored sleeping material for snakes by herpetologists.

Numerous snake beddings are intended to retain moisture in order to help keep a cage humid. However, we observed that this bedding tends to mildew when kept damp, therefore it did not make our top three.

Comparatively inexpensive to other substrates, it is an excellent alternative for snake species that do not require a humid environment.


  • 9% dust-free
  • Free of harmful oils
  • Priced reasonably
  • Outstanding for burrowing


  • Molds easily when exposed to water


Premium Coconut Reptile Bedding from ReptiChip



There were many aspects of the ReptiChip premium coconut reptile bedding that we appreciated, but a few significant problems prevent us from recommending it.

We liked that it is available in huge quantities, so you won’t have to purchase it frequently. It is also less expensive due to its enormous size. Additionally, a money-back guarantee ensures your complete pleasure with the goods.

As with other reptile beddings we’ve evaluated, this one is 100 percent natural and sustainable. It is composed only of coconut chips and is therefore fully safe for snakes.

It is also highly absorbent, allowing it to not only absorb your snake’s waste but also aid regulate the enclosure’s humidity.

Nonetheless, we identified two main flaws with this bedding. First, it contains far more dust than the other substrates we evaluated, which is not good for your snake’s or your respiratory system.

Worse, we discovered various alien things, including plastic fragments, fabric fibers, and plant fragments, within the substrate.


  • 100 percent natural and sustainable
  • The refund policy assures your pleasure
  • Consisting of coconut chips
  • Helps to maintain humidity


  • Noticeable dust
  • There are alien elements present


Reptile First-Class Coconut Fiber Bedding



The coconut fiber bedding from Reptile Prime is suitable for both tropical and desert-dwelling snake species. Using it dry can help eliminate moisture from the air in your snake’s terrarium, hence maintaining a low humidity level.

However, if you moisten the substrate, it will hold the moisture, so aiding in the maintenance of the enclosure’s humidity level.

We appreciated how efficient this solution was in absorbing odors and decomposing trash. It outlasts other substrates because it is so good at removing the unpleasant smells associated with snake excrement.

In addition to being natural and organic, it is safe for your snake and the environment when you dispose of it.

However, we did not appreciate how this bedding coated the jaws of our snakes.

It becomes caked around the mouth hole of our snakes, which is plainly uncomfortable for them. We have also observed that after a few days of being wet, this substrate begins to smell strongly of mildew, and we do not appreciate adding mildew or mold into the habitats of our snakes.


  • Useable whether dry or wet
  • Superior moisture retention
  • Absorbs odors and decomposes waste


  • Covers a serpent’s mouth
  • Strong odor of mould


Fluker Labs 36005 Repta-Bark Organic Bedding



We’ve seen snake beddings created from a variety of materials, such as Fluker Labs’ all-natural Repta-Bark bedding, which is composed of 100% genuine orchid bark.

This material is ideal for tropical snake species that thrive in conditions with high humidity. It is meant to absorb excess moisture and manage the humidity in the terrarium of your snake.

However, this product is not ideal for desert-dwelling animals that require a drier habitat. This is largely due to the significant quantity of dust this bedding produces.

When it is wet, you do not experience the same issue. However, when dried, this is an extremely dusty bedding that might potentially give your snake breathing issues.

Compared to other substrates we’ve examined, the effectiveness of this orchid bark in removing smells is superior. However, we dislike its constancy. If you rub your palm across the surface of the substrate in your snake’s enclosure, you will likely be left with splinters.

Obviously, your snake’s skin is considerably stronger than yours, but we don’t enjoy the thought of our snakes traversing splinter-ridden substrates.


  • 100% pure genuine orchid bark
  • Excellent for humid tanks
  • Good at neutralizing smells


  • Poor conditions for desert-dwelling snake species
  • Very stale formulation
  • The leaves in your hands splinter


Exo Terra Coco Husk Bedding Brick



The Exo Terra coco husk brick bedding is one of the least expensive solutions for snake bedding that we’ve found.

It is made from crushed coconut husk, which is naturally resistant to fungus and bacteria, so preventing your snake from contracting an illness. This mixture is ideal for keeping your snake’s cage damp, but may also be used to keep desert-dwelling snakes’ habitats dry.

Unfortunately, this substrate is only available in extremely tiny quantities, therefore many purchases will be required to fill a large tank.

Worse, it includes quite huge pieces of coconut husk that do not provide for the finest substrate. We appreciate the smaller chunks seen in alternative mixes we’ve tested.

This is also unsuitable bedding for snakes that burrow. Instead of maintaining the form of their burrows, it collapses around them. Large pieces hinder your snake’s ability to burrow, hence we cannot suggest this bedding for the majority of terrariums containing snakes.


  • Low-cost pricing
  • Utilizing compacted coconut husk
  • Innate immunity against fungus and bacteria


  • Not accessible in big amounts
  • Large fragments are a poor substratum
  • Does not keep form for snakes that burrow


Critters Enjoy Cocoa Bedding for Reptiles



At first sight, the Critters Comfort coconut reptile bedding seems promising. It is made of 100 percent organic coconut coir, therefore it is fully natural, chemical- and fragrance-free, and non-toxic.

In addition, the absence of dust makes it healthier for your snake’s respiratory system. In addition, we discovered that it provides superior odor management, removing and absorbing unpleasant odors for a clean tank.

However, we had exactly as many complaints about this bedding. First, it tends to end up in the lips of our snakes, adhering to the moisture surrounding their mouths and causing obvious irritation for our unfortunate creatures.

In addition, we observed that the bag contained less substrate than expected.

However, there was one issue that stuck out from the others. The package we received included several mites. We were unaware until a few days later, when we discovered them on our snake.

Then, we had to thoroughly clean the enclosure and replace all of the bedding, being careful not to allow the mites to contaminate anything. After conducting investigation, we discovered that this is a semi-common issue with this bedding, preventing us from recommending it.


  • Excellent odor control
  • Dust-, chemical-, and fragrance-free


  • Enters snakes’ jaws.
  • You do not receive the advertised quantity
  • Numerous bags harbor mites


Carib Sea Coco Soft Reptiles Bedding SCS00211



Carib Sea’s coco soft reptile bedding is non-toxic and free of aromatic oils, chemicals, and pesticides. Importantly, it lacks parasites, a problem we’ve unhappily seen with other reptile beddings. This mixture is comprised of coconut husk chips with no sharp edges.

This substrate is too easily absorbed, which was one of our observations. When it stuck to their tongues after consuming water, our snakes frequently ingested it unintentionally. Even though it is non-toxic, it can still produce clogs that are hazardous to your snake if consumed.

Compared to other beddings we’ve tested, this one produces a tremendous lot of dust. When you empty the bag into an aquarium, a cloud of dust will be released. Dust is harmful to your snake’s health and can create respiratory problems that you would wish to avoid.


  • Non-toxic
  • Pesticide-free and parasite-free


  • Too readily consumed
  • Will create impediments in your snake
  • Produces excessively much dust

Buying Advice for the Finest Snake Substrate Bedding

If you are still uncertain about which snake bedding to purchase, we are here to assist you. In reality, most snakes will thrive with any high-quality bedding you pick, but we’ll help you narrow down your options in our brief buyer’s guide.

Desert Snake Bedding versus Tropical Snake Bedding

Your choice will ultimately hinge on whether your snake is a tropical species or a desert-dweller. While there are certain substrates that will work for both, each species has very distinct requirements that must be taken into account when choosing bedding.

Desert Snake Bedding

Desert snakes demand a dry habitat. Excessive humidity can result in skin issues, infections, and more. They just are not appropriate for a humid atmosphere. Therefore, you’ll need a bedding material that won’t add to the humidity in your snake’s habitat.

However, the bedding must be extremely absorbent so that it can swiftly absorb your snake’s excrement. In addition, this will guarantee that if water spills or if your snake creates a large enough mess, the substrate will absorb the moisture, preventing your snake from becoming trapped in it.

However, caution must be taken as many of these substrates tend to be quite dusty. They will be used entirely dry, so there is no moisture to trap dust. As a result, you should seek for a dust-free solution, as dust is horrible for your snake’s respiratory health.

For tropical snakes, bedding

Obviously, tropical snakes require the exact opposite of desert-dwelling snakes. These snakes require an extremely humid atmosphere and are susceptible to health problems if the humidity drops too low. Therefore, the substrate will be utilized significantly differently for tropical snakes.

Instead of placing the substrate dry, you will need to moisten it down. This necessitates the use of a highly absorbent substrate that can retain moisture and gently release it over time in order to maintain the optimum humidity level within the enclosure.

However, extreme caution is required to avoid mold and mildew. Certain bedding materials are vulnerable to bacterial and mold development, which is unhealthy for your snake.


There are several substrate alternatives for lining the bottom of your snake’s cage. As you have seen in our evaluations, they are created from a variety of materials, making it tough to pick just one. Therefore, we’ve chosen to reaffirm our suggestions so that they remain fresh in your memory.

Our favorite snake underwear pair is the Zoo Med jungle reptile underwear set. It is constructed of 100% natural cypress mulch, so it resembles a forest floor, keeping your snake’s habitat as close as possible to its native habitat. Depending on your demands, it may either help maintain the humidity in your aquarium or help dry it out.

We believe that the Zilla lizard bedding offers the finest value. Eucalyptus flakes are 100% natural and even compostable, and they keep the barn smelling organically fresh.

We offer Zoo Med’s premium natural fir bark reptile bedding as a premium alternative. It is constructed entirely of natural, snake-safe fir bark. Plus, you can wash and reuse this bedding, which will save you a great deal of money over time.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) would like to thank our consumers for visiting our website to learn about and research the best snake substrate bedding options. We hope that you selected the appropriate litter for your snake.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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