Which bedding you choose for your pet snake really depends on a several different factors: your budget, the type of snake you have and how you want it to look in the cage. Some substrate choices are better for your pet than others, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each to ensure the health and comfort of your snake. Here are several snake bedding choices and their benefits and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.
Newspaper is relatively cheap and easy to get your hands on. It absorbs well and is easy to change when soiled, but if you have a borrowing snake, it may not be the best choice. It’s also not very decorative, but on a tight budget, it will do the trick.
Paper towels are also very absorbent and easy to change when dirty, but again, they aren’t very decorative. Also, if your snake likes to burrow, he will have a hard time doing so. Cheap and readily available at almost any store, paper towels are good for snake owners on a tight budget, especially if you stock up when they’re on sale.
Sand is the perfect substrate for burrowing snakes, but it does have it’s drawbacks. Snakes can ingest the sand when borrowing, which can lead to blockages. Also, tiny grains of sand can get under the snake’s scales and cause discomfort or infection. The biggest reason snake owners use sand is for its decorative properties – it comes in a wide variety of colors to match any decor.
Carpeting works well as snake substrate because it’s washable and reusable. If you buy remnants, you can usually get it pretty cheap. You’ll want to keep at least two pieces on hand, cut to size, so when one is soiled, you have another to put in the cage while washing the other. Unfortunately, carpeting is not a good choice for burrowing snakes.
Readily available in most garden shops and relatively cheap, cypress mulch is a good choice for all types of snakes. It’s comfortable and allows burrowing snakes to dig around all they want. Cypress mulch is attractive and smells nice, too. It’s important to note that you should bake your snake’s cypress mulch bedding in the oven for a half hour to kill any mites or other pests that might be living in the chips.
While other wood shavings are not recommended for snake enclosures, aspen shavings are a good substrate for your snake. It allows snakes to burrow and is comfortable for them to move on. Aspen shavings mold quickly in moisture, so it’s best for snakes that don’t require high humidity. Also, the tiny shavings could get caught under the snake’s scales and cause irritation.
Coco bedding is a “green” choice that provides a soft floor for snakes and other reptiles. It has natural odor-fighting properties and is safe for borrowing snakes. This substrate can be found at most pet stores, but is a little more expensive than the other options listed above.
Snakes require quite a bit of expert care, especially when it comes to their habitat. Compare the bedding choices above and make a decision wisely based on what will make your snake most comfortable and not break the bank.
Additional Reading – Is Keeping Poisonous Snakes Really Safe
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