Bearded dragons are fascinating pets. Like other reptiles, watching them can give you pleasure. Plus, they are quite easy to manage; once you get the heating, feeding, and habitat right, you’re good to go. In this article, we will be discussing the best bedding and substrate for bearded dragons. But don’t worry because we’ll also show you all the things to look out for when shopping for a substrate, including the specific type to buy. At the end, we’ll also share simple tips that can help you make the best of your bearded dragon’s habitat.
Guide to Choosing the Best Bedding & Substrate for Bearded Dragons
We’ve divided this guide into two sections. One section talks about what to look for in a substrate product. The other discusses the different kinds of substrate materials.
Types of Substrate Materials
Sand is a good choice in a pinch, but it’s not a viable option for a substrate. That’s because it is a poor absorbent, and has coarse grains that may scrape your pet’s skin
Crushed walnut and other substrates in this class are acceptable substitutes. In their crushed form, they can stimulate natural burrowing and eating behaviour. However, there’s the risk of generating dust that blows around and gets in your dragon’s eyes.
Coconut fiber and/or shavings is the best substrate for bearded dragons. It is highly absorbent, 100% organic, and may even break down odors. The only problem you may have with this substrate is its price. Because of its premium quality, it costs more than other substrates.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Substrate
This is a strictly economical point. If you have a large reptile habitat, it helps to think about how much each substrate type will cost you. Mats tend to be cheaper for larger areas than coconut shavings for example.
Type of Bedding
There are mats, shavings, and sand-like grains. Each of these has its advantages. For example, mats are easier to clean but shavings are more moisture absorbent.
You will rarely have to consider this option, but it’s still something to think about. Some substrates are great for burrowing animals, but not so much for reptiles, and vice versa. It helps to confirm the product information before you make any moves.
12 Best Bedding & Substrate for Bearded Dragons
Now that you know which products to look for, here are 13 amazing substrates for your bearded dragon.
ReptiChip Coconut Substrate for Reptiles
As you can tell from the name, this product is excellent for all kinds of reptiles. It’s one of the best premium reptile substrates on the market, and it’s perfect for both dry and tropical reptiles. The ReptiChip Coconut Substrate is one of the cleanest reptile substrates available because it is free of dust and debris.
This product is also great because it’s loose enough to use out of the bag. You simply add water and watch it expand as it increases in humidity. The ReptiChip Coconut Substrate is also great because it’s 100% organic and safe. The store offers a money-back guarantee because they are so confident in their product.
Mechpia 47” x 23” Large Reptile Carpet Terrarium Liner Bedding Reptile
The Mechpia reptile substrate lining has a couple of great qualities. First, it is durable and soft. This makes it perfect for bearded dragons, tortoises, lizards, and snakes. That way, it protects the pets from scrapes and other abrasive surfaces. Another cool thing about this reptile carpet is that it can be cut to fit whatever terrarium you have.
Other features include easy maintenance, strong absorption quality, and an even color. These features mean that your reptile can feel at home on the carpet. When the carpet gets dirty, cleaning can be as simple as shaking off loose pieces, hosing it down, and hanging it to dry.
ZeeDix 3Pcs Natural Coconut Fiber Reptile Carpet
Coconut shaving makes some of the best material for reptile substrate ever. ZeeDix has made it into a carpet form, which is arguably one of the best beddings for reptiles. Together, they make substrate that’s comfortable, organic, and 100% healthy for your bearded dragons. The natural coconut carpet is also flame-retardant, moisture-proof, and highly breathable.
If you’re looking to turn your reptile cage into a more comfortable place to stay, the ZeeDix is an awesome option. You can also clean it pretty easily by rolling up the carpet to get all the waste in one place, and simply shaking them off. You can also use some water to rinse, and then hang to dry. It’s really that simple.
Purple Star Pet Terrarium Liner Reptile Mat
One awesome thing about this reptile mat is that it’s comfortable for all kinds of pets. Whether your reptile is a bearded dragon or a tortoise, it will work just fine. A single product package includes 4 packs of reptile carpet, each being 16*10 inches. This is large enough to cut into whatever sizes you need.
The mat itself is made of durable but natural coconut fiber. That makes it waterproof, safe to use, and comfortable for your bearded dragon. The mat also has great features for users because it’s easy to clean and won’t cause any injuries or discomfort for you. You can shake or hose it down to remove dirt. Purple Star offers a 24-hour return policy to everyone who isn’t satisfied with their purchase.
Zilla Ground English Walnut Shells Desert Blend
We’re big fans of coconut shavings as a substrate for bearded dragons. But you know what else works just as well? Walnut shells. These have been grounded into a fine powder that won’t harm your reptiles. However, it is also coarse enough to simulate the natural desert environment, which is great.
Another reason ground coconut shells work perfectly as a substrate is that they provide excellent heat conduction. That’s great if you need to place a heat lamp under your pet’s habitat. Additionally, because it has some texture, it stimulates the kind of natural digging and playing behavior that you’d see in nature.
Hamiledyi Reptile Coconut Fiber Mat
The Hamiledyi reptile fiber mat comes in packs of 3s. Each pack is 19.6” by 11.8” If you have a large reptile habitat, you’ll get more than enough mat to cover the entire terrarium. We love this coconut fiber mat because it’s very good for your pet.
This product works for a wide range of pets, from rabbits and hamsters to geckos, bearded dragons, and even chameleons. The Hamiledyi mat is breathable, non-abrasive, water-absorbent, and very easy to clean. It’s awesome when paired with other habitat decorations; that’s when the beauty really pops.
Carib Sea SCS00711 Reptiles Calcium Substrate
Here we have a reptile mat with a difference. Instead of coconut shavings or walnut shells, the Carib Sea reptile bedding is made of calcium substrate. This gives it numerous benefits. For example, the substrate is 100% edible and excellent for your pet’s health. Each grain is also spherical and non-abrasive, so you don’t have to worry about your reptile’s skin health.
One thing you’ll love about this product is that it comes in desert rose color, stimulating your bearded dragon’s natural habitat. Because it’s made of calcium substrate, some pet owners are concerned that it contains silica and phosphates. But don’t worry because it is 100% free.
Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding Organic Substrate
Critters comfort brags about this bedding being the best possible choice for your bearded dragon, turtles, frogs, or crabs. And, they have three reasons to support their claim. The first is odor control. The Critters comfort reptile bedding has an incredible ability to absorb moisture and odor thanks to its texture.
The second reason why this product is so great is that it gives you complete peace of mind. The material is dust and chemical-free, which means you won’t have to worry about your pet’s health. Finally, this reptile bedding is awesome for its price. It is as affordable as other regular products, but it delivers premium quality.
Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Bag
The Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Bag isn’t for every pet habitat. Instead, it’s perfect if you’re going for a naturalistic terrarium setup. Its earth-brown color and texture make it blend with nature-related decorations quite well. This substrate is also perfect for reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. It’s especially great for tropical pets because it naturally breaks down odor and waste products.
One more awesome thing about it is, the product is sold based on manufacturer recommendations. For example, you could get the 24-quart bag for larger terrariums, or the 8-quart bag for smaller habitats.
Fluker Labs Repta-Bark All Natural Bedding
Fluker Labs’ Reptile Substrate is made from 100% orchid bark, which is great because it absorbs excess moisture from the habitat. It is also perfect for high humidity pets. One unique thing about this substrate is that it has large grains and pieces, making it less likely for your pets to ingest.
The Fluker Labs Repta-Bank is also a waste absorber that prevents fungal skin infections that may be lurking in moist habitats. It comes in multiple sizes including 4 quarts, 8 quarts, and 24 quarts.
Exo Terra Coco Husk, Tropical Reptile Terrarium Substrate
Here we have another perfect substrate for reptiles like bearded dragons. As with all great substrates, this one is made from coconut husk. We especially love it because it is heat-treated and triple-washed to produce the best possible substrate.
The Exo Terra Coco Husk is also 100% natural, helping to increase the humidity in certain terrariums. It also has a texture and richness that encourages natural digging behavior in pets. It is ideal for frogs, salamanders, bearded dragons, and other burrowing animals. The pricing is fair for the amount of value the substrate delivers.
Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber
This product is best paired with the Zoo Med HydroBalls because they collectively form a very effective drainage layer. But they are also excellent on their own. The Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber is an all-natural product with no artificial ingredients whatsoever. Like the other Zoo Med substrate on this list, it’s excellent for naturalistic habitats.
As a pet owner, you’ll love the variety that this product offers. It’s great for pythons, lizards, and of course, bearded dragons. The only problem with this product is that the supplier often mixes up the orders. You may order a two-pack but get only one pack.
Galápagos Cypress Tank Mulch Forest Floor Bedding
Like the island, this product is highly suitable for reptiles and other animals found in the Galápagos. It’s made of a highly absorbent material that helps to control the humidity in your terrarium. It is also made of small bark shavings, instead of a fine soil-like substrate. This way, it can facilitate the natural eating habits of the reptiles.
The manufacturers of the Galápagos Cypress Tank Mulch Forest Floor Bedding also keep the environment in mind, which is why this substrate is only made from sustainable timber by-products. It’s 100% safe and free from salt, chemicals, and other bad substances.
One thing that most bearded dragon owners don’t consider is how often they should change the substrate. Depending on what kind you have, it should be spot-cleaned daily to avoid any growth of bacteria. And of course, it’s important to keep the tank as clean as possible. That means removing feces and keeping any rotting foods out. It’s also important to either deep-clean or replace your substrate every two weeks. Luckily, substrates like mats can be easily removed, cleaned, and replaced. Also, be sure to monitor the habitat’s humidity levels. Just because you have a substrate that’s moisture absorbent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention.