The 10 Best Substrates and Beddings for Ball Pythons

Ball Python Reptiles & Amphibians January 10, 2020
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The 10 Best Substrates and Beddings for Ball Pythons

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Ball pythons make wonderful pets, especially when compared to other reptiles. Not only are they very gentle by nature, but they remain fairly small and are relatively undemanding when it comes to their care. You do, however, need to provide your python with an ideal habitat and that includes choosing the right substrate to help keep the tank tidy and clean.

In this article, we’ll talk about decorating your ball python tank and provide some tips for choosing the best ball python substrate and bedding. You’ll also see our top 10 picks for the best ball python substrate and bedding.

At a Glance: The Best Substrates and Beddings for Ball Pythons To Buy

We highly recommend looking at the comparison table we have below where we highlighted the features of each product. You’ll also find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

IMAGE PRODUCT
  • All-natural materials and very fine texture
  • Absorbs moisture and odor very well
  • Low risk for impaction if accidentally ingested
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  • All-natural cypress mulch, safe for snakes
  • Creates the natural look of the forest floor
  • Absorbs moisture to retain humidity, won’t mold
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  • Fine texture is safe and good for burrowing
  • Retains moisture and humidity well
  • Highly affordable price for large bag
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  • Superior humidity retention capability
  • Breaks down odor and waste products
  • Can be used dry or wet for snake habitats
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  • Compressed bedding bricks save space
  • Each brick expands 7 to 8 liters
  • Made from eco-friendly renewable resource
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  • High absorbency, helps control odors
  • Made from sustainable timber by-products
  • Washed and sieved for a dust-free bedding
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  • All-natural aspen shavings, no oils or inks
  • Processed specially to remove dust and debris
  • Soft texture is ideal for burrowing reptiles
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  • Made from organic, sustainable bark
  • Highly absorbent, helps retain moisture
  • 100% natural and organic materials
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  • High absorbency, helps retain humidity
  • Comes from a sustainable timber by-product
  • 100% safe and free from chemicals, oils, parasites
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  • Made from 100% organic coconut materials
  • Non-toxic, dust-free, and resists mold
  • Superior odor control, breaks down waste
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What To Look For In Substrate And Bedding For Ball Pythons?

There are a number of different beddings and substrates that would work well in a ball python tank, so consider the other elements you have in place to make the right choice. If you need to boost humidity, choose a substrate that will absorb and hold moisture. If you’re simply looking for something easy to clean and replace, consider shredded paper or paper towels. There are plenty of options to think about.

Here Are Some Important Things To Look For In Ball Python Substrate:

  • Natural and non-toxic. Look for a bedding or substrate made from all-natural or non-toxic materials. The last thing you want to do is add something to your tank that might harm your pet.
  • Absorbent materials. Part of the reason to include substrate in your python tank is to absorb liquid waste and odors to keep the cage looking and smelling clean.
  • Soft texture. Even though your ball python is protected by a layer of scales, its skin can still be sensitive to rough materials, so don’t choose anything that might harm your snake.
  • Maintains humidity. Ball pythons require a warm and humid environment, so choose a substrate that will help retain humidity as you mist the take daily to add moisture.

Now that you have a better idea what to look for in a ball python substrate, it’s time to start shopping! Keep reading to see our top 10 picks for the best ball python beddings and substrates.

Here Are Our Top 10 Picks For The Best Ball Python Substrate:

#1 Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding

Specs:

  • Materials – Aspen
  • Capacity – 24 quart
  • Key Features – Absorbent, controls odor, fine texture
  • Price$22.21

Pros:

  • All-natural materials and very fine texture
  • Absorbs moisture and odor very well
  • Low risk for impaction if accidentally ingested

Cons:

  • Can be a little messy due to fine texture
  • May mold with excessive moisture for long periods

If you’re looking for a snake bedding that is all-natural and has a fine texture safe for pet snakes, consider this Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding. It is finely shredded and it expands to cover a very large area. This bedding allows your snake to burrow naturally and does very well to absorb moisture and odor. Plus, it doesn’t contain toxic oils like other wood shavings.

#2 Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding

Specs:

  • Materials – Cypress mulch
  • Capacity – 24 quart
  • Key Features – Absorbs moisture, natural
  • Price$24.99

Pros:

  • All-natural cypress mulch, safe for snakes
  • Creates the natural look of the forest floor
  • Absorbs moisture to retain humidity, won’t mold

Cons:

  • May dry out over time, won’t hold moisture as well
  • Texture is a little rough for burrowing at first

Another excellent choice in natural bedding for your ball python is this Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding. It is made from all-natural cypress mulch to give your tank the natural look of a forest floor. It retains moisture well which helps with humidity and it expands to cover a wide area. Another bonus about this bedding is that it is very resistant to mold.

#3 Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate

Specs:

  • Materials – Coconut fiber
  • Capacity –8 quarts
  • Key Features – Natural, absorbent, odor control
  • Price$8.39

Pros:

  • Fine texture is safe and good for burrowing
  • Retains moisture and humidity well
  • Highly affordable price for large bag

Cons:

  • Can be a little messy due to fine texture
  • May retain too much moisture for some tanks

Retaining the proper humidity in your ball python tank is important, so consider a substrate like this Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber Substrate. It comes in a very fine texture which enables your ball python to burrow easily and it naturally absorbs moisture and odor. It is all-natural as well, so it is safe for your python, and it has a very natural appearance to it.

#4 Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding Substrate

Specs:

  • Materials – Coconut fiber
  • Capacity –24 quarts
  • Key Features – Retains humidity, fine, absorbent
  • Price$20.99

Pros:

  • Superior humidity retention capability
  • Breaks down odor and waste products
  • Can be used dry or wet for snake habitats

Cons:

  • Fine texture can be a little bit messy
  • Some customers found it in the snake’s mouth

Another excellent option in coconut fiber bedding, this brand is specifically designed for reptiles. It has natural humidity retention capabilities and helps to break down odor and waste products as well. This coconut fiber bedding can be used dry or damp and it is 100% organic.

#5 Zoo Med Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber Substrate

Specs:

  • Materials – Coconut fiber
  • Capacity –24 liters
  • Key Features – Eco-friendly, expandable, absorbent
  • Price$14.69

Pros:

  • Compressed bedding bricks save space
  • Each brick expands 7 to 8 liters
  • Made from eco-friendly renewable resource

Cons:

  • Bricks need to be expanded by hand
  • Fine texture after separating can be messy

Large bags of bedding can take up a great deal of space, so why not save some space with this compressed coconut fiber substrate. It comes in a 3-pack of compressed substrate, each of which expands up to 7 or 8 liters. Plus, it is highly affordable and made from an eco-friendly resource.

#6 Galapagos Aspen Digs Natural Aspen Bedding

Specs:

  • Materials – Aspen
  • Capacity –8 quarts
  • Key Features – Absorbent, non-toxic, odor control
  • Price$8.24

Pros:

  • High absorbency, helps control odors
  • Made from sustainable timber by-products
  • Washed and sieved for a dust-free bedding

Cons:

  • Can be a little messy due to fine texture
  • Might get in snake’s mouth, but should pass easily

Aspen is one of the most popular beddings for ball pythons and this Galapagos Aspen Digs Natural Aspen Bedding is a great choice. It is very fine in texture, making it ideal for burrowing, and it is 100% safe and free from chemicals, oils, and parasites. It is also washed to remove dust.

#7 Kaytee All-Natural Aspen Bedding

Specs:

  • Materials – Aspen
  • Capacity –8 cubic feet
  • Key Features – Absorbent, non-toxic, dust-free
  • Price$35.60

Pros:

  • All-natural aspen shavings, no oils or inks
  • Processed specially to remove dust and debris
  • Soft texture is ideal for burrowing reptiles

Cons:

  • Larger shavings than dedicated reptile bedding
  • Somewhat more expensive than other options

Though not specifically designed for reptiles, this Kaytee All-Natural Aspen Bedding could be a good choice if you find yourself limited to shopping at the pet store. It comes in larger shavings than reptile aspen shavings, but is still soft enough for use with burrowing reptiles like ball pythons.

#8 Super Moss Orchid Potting Bark

Specs:

  • Materials – Douglas fir bark
  • Capacity – 3 lbs.
  • Key Features – Natural, absorbent
  • Price$39.23

Pros:

  • Made from organic, sustainable bark
  • Highly absorbent, helps retain moisture
  • 100% natural and organic materials

Cons:

  • Not specifically designed for reptiles
  • May be a little rougher than some beddings

Though not specifically designed for reptiles, this Super Moss Orchid Potting Bark could be a suitable choice for ball pythons because it is all-natural and highly absorbent. This 100% organic bark substrate retains moisture well which helps with humidity and it is also completely non-toxic.

#9 Galapagos Cypress Tank Mulch

Specs:

  • Materials – Cypress mulch
  • Capacity –8 quarts
  • Key Features – Absorbent, non-toxic
  • Price$9.09

Pros:

  • High absorbency, helps retain humidity
  • Comes from a sustainable timber by-product
  • 100% safe and free from chemicals, oils, parasites

Cons:

  • Larger pieces can be a little bit sharp
  • Not as soft or fine in texture as some options

Another highly affordable option in ball python substrate and bedding is this Galapagos Cypress Tank Mulch. It comes in an 8-quart bag filled with natural cypress bedding that is 100% safe and free from salt chemicals, oils, and parasites. Plus, it is a sustainable timber by-product.

#10 Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding

Specs:

  • Materials – Coconut
  • Capacity –21 quarts
  • Key Features – Odor control, organic, non-toxic
  • Price$17.99

Pros:

  • Made from 100% organic coconut materials
  • Non-toxic, dust-free, and resists mold
  • Superior odor control, breaks down waste

Cons:

  • Fine texture can be a little messy
  • Can be clumpy at first, needs to be separated by hand

If none of the other options on this list seem like the right fit, consider Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding. It is specifically designed for snakes and other reptiles, made with a fine texture and natural absorbency. It helps retain humidity well but is non-toxic, dust-free, and resistant to mold.

Tips For Setting Up A Ball Python Cage

The first thing you need to do before setting up your ball python cage is, of course, to choose the perfect tank. Consider your python’s current size as well as its adult size and make a responsible choice. From there, you can then start thinking about the equipment and decorations you need to set up the tank.

Here Are Some Simple Tips For Setting Up Your Ball Python Cage:

  • Choose a cage large enough to comfortably accommodate your python and its natural behaviors – aim for 3 to 6 square feet of space for an adult ball python.
  • When choosing a tank for your ball python, remember that these snakes don’t tend to climb much so width and length dimensions are more important than height.
  • Install the proper lighting system to keep the tank warm – avoid anything overly bright, however, because ball pythons are nocturnal and won’t like extremely bright lighting.
  • Put your lights on a timer so your python has a simulated day/night cycle with 12 hours of light followed by 12 hours of darkness.
  • Install heating elements t keep the ambient temperature in the mid-70s with a hotter basking area around 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Choose the right substrate for your ball python that will help maintain humidity and will be easy to remove for cleaning.
  • Add the necessarily accessories and decorations to your ball python tank – you’ll want to include at least two hiding places (one on each side of the tank) as well as a water bowl and things for your snake to climb, should it choose to.

Now that you have a better idea how to set up and decorate your ball python cage, you can see the role bedding and substrate play. Take what you’ve learned here and put it into play to choose the best bedding and substrate for your ball python tank.

Final Remarks

Depending on the type of tank you have and your other decorations, you may be able to get by without a significant amount of bedding. Just remember, however, that adding substrate or bedding to your ball python tank makes it easier to contain messes and it makes it a little bit more comfortable for your pet. If you’re still not sure where to start in looking for ball python substrate, try out one of the top 10 best ball python substrates we’ve reviewed above. Good luck!

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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