An important part of the bearded dragon’s home is the bedding. As such, it is important that you get the best bedding for bearded dragons. If you are unsure of the bedding to get your beloved reptile, you are at the right place. We will look at the absolute best bedding and consider their advantages and benefits to your dragon.
Bedding, also known as substrate, is the material that covers the floor of the enclosure. It allows the reptile to live comfortably while brightening up the enclosure.
Bearded Dragon Bedding Comparison Table
1. Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner
Reptile carpet is probably the most common substrate type when it comes to bearded dragons. Carets have a ton of advantages. A carpet can’t be ingested by the lizard.
It won’t increase humidity levels, and it isn’t toxic to the lizard. There are many reptile carpet brands out there with different fancy selling points. Choosing the right carpet for your reptile is essential.
For the bearded dragon, I recommend the Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner. This reptile carpet comes in a variety of sizes (in fact 8 different sizes). Bearded dragons need a reptile carpet designed for a 75-gallon terrarium.
This bedding is low maintenance, safe, absorbent and reduces bad odor. Cleaning it is easy. It is also very affordable and will cost you under $15.
2. Zilla Alfalfa Meal
Since intestinal impaction is a big deal, many keepers go for substrates which are safe to ingest. One substrate which is definitely safe to ingest is the Zilla Alfalfa Meal. This substrate is made from alfalfa meal and is excellent for bearded dragons, iguanas, land tortoises, monitor lizards, and uramostyx.
What are the selling points of this bedding? Well, it is easily digestible when ingested. It also hinders the growth and spread of germs and bacteria. It is super absorbent. Best of all it is made in the United States. The biodegradable alfalfa meal substrate is definitively one of the best beddings for bearded dragons.
3. Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding
This bedding is composed of 100% cypress shavings and is considered to be the best bedding for reptiles. Many of its wonderful properties such as its ability to maintain humidity levels are lost on the bearded dragon. However, it is still a wonderful substrate.
Since the bearded dragon prefers dry substrates ensure the cypress mulch is dry all the time. If you have to mist the enclosure because humidity levels are below 30% which is rare, do so lightly.
It is great at absorbing bad odors thus it helps keep the enclosure odorless. It is also soft and comfortable. Lastly, it is aesthetically pleasing and gives the enclosure a nice touch.
4. Pure Organic Play Sand
There is a lot of debate when it comes to sand. Some experienced bearded dragon keepers avoid it as they feel it can lead to intestinal impaction, which occurs when the reptile ingests a large amount of sand and it blocks the digestive tract. Sand ingestion usually occurs when the reptile picks food from the sand. As the keeper ensure food isn’t placed on the sand.
Other keepers feel sand is the best since that is what is found in the bearded dragon’s natural habitat – remember, bearded dragons are native to deserts, scrublands, and dry forests.
Also, sand is the most common substrate of choice when it comes to keeping bearded dragons as pets. If you decide to use sand, ensure that it is free of pesticides, fertilizer, and parasites. I recommend playground sand. It is refined, washed and grated.
When using sand as bedding, do not place the lizard’s food on the sand. Place the reptile’s food on a large flat surface such as a shallow bowl. That way the lizard doesn’t accidentally ingest the sand.
5. Paper Towels and Newspaper
While not the most attractive option, paper towels are an amazing substrate choice for any bearded dragon, be it a juvenile or an adult. Therefore, regardless of the bedding type you wish to use, paper towels have to be used at one stage or another.
For babies, and juveniles, it is best to use paper towels for their enclosure. Paper towels are soft, non abrasive, and absorbent. They also ensure humidity levels are low and adequate for the bearded dragon. They are also easy to clean.
Also, if you have just acquired an adult bearded dragon, use a paper towel for a couple of weeks before switching to another substrate. It is easier to detect runny stools, diarrhea, and intestinal parasites when you use paper towels.
It isn’t uncommon to find out that your newly acquired lizard was poorly taken care of by the previous keeper. If you want a safe substrate that won’t cause any problem, you can never go wrong with paper towels and newspapers.
Good care and husbandry plays a huge part in the lifespan and health of your beloved bearded dragon. Keeping a clean substrate is definitely an important part of the care process. As such, you should clean the substrate and change it whenever necessary.
For substrates such as alfalfa meal and sand, ensure you do spot cleaning daily, and remove all fecal matter, dead skin & dead prey the moment you see it. That may require you to remove portion of the substrate as well. Additionally, change loose substrate two to three times every year.
If you are using a liner like a reptile carpet, you should wash the carpet weekly. This is easy as cold water removes stains with no fuss. Similarly, you have to spot clean the carpet every day.
For more, have a look at our bearded dragon setup guide.
What are you currently using? let us know in the comments below!