Substrate is what you see on the floor of bearded dragon’s enclosure. And there are few kinds of substrates you can consider to use for your bearded dragon’s terrarium. Choosing which one to consider for your pet may be difficult, as even the community of bearded dragon pet owners are still debating which one is bets to use.
Some will discourage you to use a specific substrate while others will claim that, that is the only option you have. So, to cut the story short, it is highly recommended that you decide on your own and see for yourself which amongst them is best to use by your most loved pet. Make your own research and consider trial and error. Trial and error for weeks or a month will not impact the overall welfare of your bearded dragon hence considering this method is safe.
There are few factors to consider choosing which one to use, and few of them are:
- The bearded dragon’s age. The age will be a major consideration choosing which amongst the substrates to use. Younger bearded dragons are more prone to scratching than the older ones
- Your available time cleaning the bearded dragon substrate When you say cleaning, it does not mean simple wiping and dusting, as it takes more than that. There are substrates that are easier to clean and maintain than others, hence your time is a big factor choosing which one to use
- Your available resources. Resources also matter when choosing the right substrate to use for your bearded dragon’s enclosure. Resource like your budget, availability of the type of substrates in your location and so on
- Other personal preferences like how you want your terrarium looks like, what do you want your pet to feel and so on. Your personal preferences should be considered choosing which amongst the available substrates to use
Moving on, below are different substrates you can consider for your bearded dragon. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages and these information are what you can get as you read through.
Different Bearded Dragon Substrate To Use
- Sand and other similar materials
Bearded dragons when in the wild are used to run around pebbles and sand, hence most of the bearded dragon pet owners consider this option. They think that by doing so, they are giving their pets a life almost the same as when they are in their natural habitat.
But for others, they totally disagree as they are worried about gut impaction. Gut impaction is ingestion of particles of bearded dragons that may lead to intestinal track blockage, which may lead to death if failed to treat immediately.
Gravel and pebbles are also being offered in different pet stores, and unfortunately these particles can also cause gut impaction, in the event the bearded dragon accidentally swallow even a small pebble. Not only that it may cause gut impaction, but pebbles can also harm the jaw and teeth of bearded dragon when they grab one while chasing an insect.
Fortunately, there are available sands in the market that are calcium made. Since it is calcium based, the sand will automatically be metabolized in the event bearded dragon swallows them. Some agree that this is the best alternative to use as a substrate, yet some still see negative impact using this calcium based sand hence they discourage pet owners to use them.
- Reptile Carpets
Some call this type of substrate as cage liners, and what this simulates are deserts and grasses. This synthetic carpet is simply laid on the floor of your pet’s terrarium. The concern of others to this kind of substrate is that the loops of its liner can catch the exotic animal’s claw ending up to possible complications. The pet may react to this circumstance by pulling their claw off the loops making it ripped or chipped.
Tip: it is highly recommended that you consider using a cage liner with tight weave.
Another substrate to consider is old newspapers. This is easy to maintain, and will not give your pet any impaction issues. Some pet stores sell newspapers that are made of shredded and washed recycled newspaper hence making it a good substrate to use without worries of possible impaction even your pet loves to dig.
So, other disagree to this kind because this may retain humidity and compared to sand, it does not look pleasing at all. So, for pet owners who want to brag about their pets, they will never consider this option at all.
- Bark and mulch
This is an option to use by bearded dragon owners who want to cut to their expense and spend more money to other necessities and needs of their pets. Some approve this kind of substrate, but just like the rest of the substrates, others never recommend this to use for bearded dragons.
Both bark and mulch may retain humidity and this may leave the enclosure to a level higher than what it is supposed to be.
- Ceramic tiles
This is one of the newest material owners of bearded dragons use. The use of ceramic tiles as a substrate for your most loved bearded dragon’s terrarium. You can use any tiles, or same tiles you use in kitchens and bathrooms. This is highly preferred by other pet owners, since this is not only easy to maintain and clean but also, this will eliminate bearded dragon from impaction problems.
Others see this unlikeable, simply because they feel like they are depriving their breaded dragon live in a more natural habitat.
Now that you know advantages and disadvantages of different substrates, you will somehow have an idea which amongst them to use. Again, there is nothing wrong if you consider trial and error and see which amongst the options is best for you.
Each of the types of substrates stated above have their own downside, it is all up to you which amongst the options would you consider.