Best Substrate for Bearded Dragon: Top Choices in 2023

Bearded dragons are popular reptiles for pet owners, thanks to their friendly nature and ease of care. Creating the ideal habitat for your bearded dragon, particularly in terms of substrate, is crucial to ensuring their …

best substrate for bearded dragon

Bearded dragons are popular reptiles for pet owners, thanks to their friendly nature and ease of care. Creating the ideal habitat for your bearded dragon, particularly in terms of substrate, is crucial to ensuring their health and well-being. The substrate is the material you put on the bottom of your pet’s enclosure, and it serves multiple purposes: it contributes to the overall aesthetic, assists in maintaining proper humidity levels, and provides a comfortable surface for your bearded dragon.

There are a variety of substrates available, ranging from natural options like sand and coconut fibre to artificial alternatives such as reptile carpet and paper. Selecting the best substrate for your bearded dragon is essential for maintaining their health, as the wrong choice could lead to problems like impaction, allergies, and parasites.

To prevent such issues, it is vital to consider factors such as cleanliness, proper particle size, and moisture retention when purchasing a substrate.

Understanding the needs of your bearded dragon and taking into account their habitat requirements will allow you to make an informed decision. Ensuring your chosen substrate is easy to clean, keeps humidity levels stable, and does not pose a risk of impaction is crucial.

We’ve dedicated many hours researching and testing various substrates to help you find the best option for your bearded dragon’s needs. With the right substrate in place, your scaly friend will have the foundation for a happy, healthy life.

Best Substrate for Bearded Dragons

Are you searching for the perfect substrate for your bearded dragon? Worry no more! We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best substrates available on Amazon for our scaly friends. Did you know that a proper substrate can highly impact your bearded dragon’s health and happiness? So, let’s dive into the world of bearded dragon substrates and transform your pet’s home into a comfortable, natural environment. Roll up your sleeves and have a gander at our top choices below!

Zilla Pet Reptile Terrarium Substrate Bedding, Walnut Desert Blend

Zilla Pet Reptile Terrarium Substrate Bedding

For those seeking a natural, effective, and attractive option, consider the Zilla Pet Reptile Terrarium Substrate Bedding in Walnut Desert Blend.


  • Natural ground English walnut shells
  • Excellent heat conductor
  • Stimulates natural digging and burrowing behaviour


  • May need to be replaced monthly
  • Not suitable for hatchlings or juveniles
  • Less ideal for non-desert species

When it comes to creating a comfortable and suitable habitat for our bearded dragons, we’ve found that the Zilla Pet Reptile Terrarium Substrate Bedding in Walnut Desert Blend offers a great combination of aesthetics and functionality. Made of 100% natural ground English walnut shells, this substrate not only replicates their natural environment but also ensures they’ll have an excellent heat-conducting surface to rest on.

As reptile enthusiasts ourselves, we were pleased to discover that this Zilla product effectively stimulates our bearded dragon’s natural digging and burrowing behaviours, making their enclosure feel more like home. However, please note that for hatchlings and juvenile reptiles, it’s recommended to use a Zilla Terrarium Liner instead.

One downside we found is that the substrate needs to be replaced monthly, which may be a bit inconvenient for some owners. Additionally, while this product is ideal for desert-dwelling reptiles such as bearded dragons, monitors, skinks, and uromastyx, it may not be the best fit for species that thrive in different habitats.

In summary, we think that the Zilla Pet Reptile Terrarium Substrate Bedding in Walnut Desert Blend is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to provide their bearded dragon with a natural and attractive desert environment. Its heat-conducting properties and ability to stimulate natural behaviours make it a stand-out option for creating the perfect habitat.

JurassicNatural Australian Desert Dragon Habitat

JurassicNatural Australian Desert Dragon Habitat

We think the JurassicNatural Australian Desert Dragon Habitat is a solid choice for bearded dragon owners, offering an authentic and ethically sourced substrate for your reptile’s enclosure.


  • Ultimate substrate for bearded dragons
  • Ethically sourced from Central Australia
  • Mimics natural environment in the wild


  • A bit pricey compared to alternatives
  • Some maintenance work required
  • Not suitable for all reptiles

We recently introduced the JurassicNatural Australian Desert Dragon Habitat substrate into our bearded dragon’s enclosure, and we’re quite satisfied with the results. It has certainly elevated the overall feel of the habitat, offering a more genuine environment for our bearded dragon.

One of the most significant selling points of this product is that it’s ethically sourced from Central Australia, ensuring that you offer your bearded dragon a comfortable and natural environment that mimics their natural habitat in the wild. This has given us peace of mind, knowing that we’re providing a better-quality substrate than most alternatives on the market.

However, it’s important to mention that this substrate does require a bit more maintenance compared to some other options. During feedings, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your bearded dragon, as well as ensuring the substrate is kept clean. Considering the slightly higher price point, you might want to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s the right choice for you and your reptile companion.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to replicate the natural Australian desert for your bearded dragon and can commit to the required maintenance, the JurassicNatural Australian Desert Dragon Habitat substrate is well worth considering. While it might not be the best fit for every reptile or every owner, we’ve enjoyed the benefits it’s brought to our bearded dragon’s habitat, and we’re confident others will too.

Zoo Med ReptiFresh Odor Eliminating Substrate

Zoo Med ReptiFresh

A fantastic choice for tackling odour problems while providing a natural environment for your bearded dragon.


  • Easy to use and long-lasting – up to 12 months
  • Helps reduce odours in the terrarium
  • Stimulates natural digging and burrowing behaviour


  • Texture may differ from traditional substrates
  • May need to be combined with other substrates for optimal results
  • Pricey compared to other options

As devoted reptile owners, we know that a clean and odour-free environment is essential for both our pets and ourselves. We tried the Zoo Med ReptiFresh Odor Eliminating Substrate and found it to be a great solution, particularly for our bearded dragons.

One of the aspects we liked most about this substrate is its ability to reduce odours in the terrarium. We’ve noticed a significant improvement in the freshness of the environment since we started using it. Moreover, it’s easy to maintain, and it lasts up to 12 months before needing replacement – that’s quite impressive!

Additionally, the product stimulates the natural digging and burrowing behaviour in reptiles like bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and many others. However, it’s essential to be aware that the texture of ReptiFresh may differ from traditional substrates. We found that mixing it with products like Zoo Med ReptiSand or Excavator Clay Burrowing Substrate can help reduce odours even more effectively.

Although the price is a bit higher compared to other substrates available on the market, the long-lasting properties and the fact that it’s an all-natural green product make it worthwhile. Just make sure you judge the quantity required for your pet’s terrarium, as using it sparingly might not be enough to see optimal results.

In conclusion, the Zoo Med ReptiFresh Odor Eliminating Substrate is an ideal choice for bearded dragon owners looking to improve their pet’s environment by reducing odours and promoting natural behaviours. Despite a few minor setbacks, we believe that the benefits of the product justify its price. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

MRREPTILE Reptile Substrate Mat Carpet Bedding

MRREPTILE Reptile Substrate Mat Carpet Bedding

This MRREPTILE Reptile Substrate Mat Carpet Bedding is a must-have for bearded dragon owners, providing comfort and ease of cleaning for a well-maintained terrarium.


  • Premium material offers soft and gentle touch
  • Innovative design including bed, blanket, and pillows
  • Easy to wash and maintain


  • Limited to small bearded dragons
  • May not suit some terrarium types
  • No additional functionality beyond bedding

We recently tried out the MRREPTILE Reptile Substrate Mat Carpet Bedding and were amazed by the comfort it provides to our bearded dragons. Thanks to the premium material used in its construction, our beardies experience a soft and gentle touch that is perfect for a good night’s sleep or lazy lounging.

The mat’s innovative design includes a comfortable bed, a warm blanket for hiding and, of course, pillows for resting. This three-part bedding allows our bearded dragons to stay cosy during daytime playtime and ensures they sleep soundly at night. With such thoughtfulness in design, it’s easy to see why these mats make an excellent gift for any bearded dragon owner.

What makes this MRREPTILE substrate mat stand out is its ease of maintenance. The high-quality filling material ensures that the mat doesn’t deform or shrink, even with regular washing. This is great for keeping our bearded dragon’s space hygienic and odour-free.

However, the bedding is best suited for small bearded dragons and may not be an ideal choice for larger ones or those with specific terrarium setups. Additionally, the product doesn’t offer any extra features beyond providing comfortable bedding for your pet.

In conclusion, this MRREPTILE Reptile Substrate Mat Carpet Bedding is a great investment if you’re looking to provide your bearded dragon with a cosy and well-maintained living space. The product’s pros definitely outweigh the cons, making it a worthwhile addition to your pet’s terrarium.

Vodolo Bearded Dragon Tank Accessories

Vodolo Bearded Dragon Tank Accessories

Vodolo’s reptile tank carpet makes pet care a breeze, but like any product, it comes with its ups and downs.


  • Easy-to-clean, non-absorbent material
  • Gentle on reptile’s skin and paws
  • Customisable size and easy to cut


  • Some slipping may occur
  • May not provide adequate grip for climbing
  • Might require frequent cleaning

We had the opportunity to try out the Vodolo Bearded Dragon Tank Accessories recently, and it made a visible difference in our reptile enclosure. The non-absorbent material ensured that messes were easy to clean up, and we didn’t have to worry about removing it daily for washing. Its gentle texture also protected our bearded dragon’s skin and paws from irritation while moving around the tank.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. We noticed that our bearded dragon experienced some slipping on the carpet, especially when descending from elevated structures. This could pose a risk for slips and potential joint injuries, or discourage natural climbing behaviour for some reptiles. Additionally, the non-stick surface meant that we had to clean it more often than we initially anticipated.

The good news is that this substrate is adaptable to various tank sizes. We had a 40-gallon tank and found that cutting the carpet to fit was a breeze. The material was thick yet easy to trim, making the customization process hassle-free.

In conclusion, the Vodolo Bearded Dragon Tank Accessories offers an effective and easy-to-clean solution for your reptile’s enclosure. Though it may not provide the ideal grip for climbing enthusiasts, its gentle material and customisable size make it a convenient option for bearded dragon owners.

Buying Guide

So, you’re on the hunt for the best substrate for your bearded dragon? Excellent choice! We’re here to help make your shopping experience a breeze. In this buying guide, we’ll walk you through the essential features to consider, ensuring you select the right substrate for your scaly friend.

Quality and Safety

The top priority when choosing a substrate is the safety and well-being of your bearded dragon. A good substrate should be:

  • Non-toxic
  • Dust-free
  • Easy to clean
  • Comfortable for your bearded dragon to walk on
  • Adequate for burrowing (if your dragon enjoys it)

Remember, some substrates may cause impaction if ingested, so it is crucial to select carefully.

Absorbency and Odour Control

Nobody likes a smelly terrarium, right? An ideal substrate should be:

  • Highly absorbent to help manage your bearded dragon’s waste
  • Good at controlling odour

Just imagine the relief of not having to endure unpleasant smells in your home, while your beloved pet enjoys its day roaming around!

Size and Thickness

The size and thickness of the substrate are worth considering too. Ensure that:

  • The substrate is appropriate for the size of your terrarium
  • It is thick enough to allow for a comfortable walking surface and possible burrowing

Did you know that a substrate that’s too thin might not provide adequate cushioning, potentially causing stress or injury to your bearded dragon?


With various substrate materials available, such as sand, coconut fibre, and reptile carpets, each option presents its own set of pros and cons. It’s essential to:

  • Evaluate the suitability of the material for your bearded dragon
  • Consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance for the material

For example, is your bearded dragon prone to accidentally eating substrate while munching on its food? In that case, it might be wise to opt for a less risky material like reptile carpet.

Longevity and Economy

Don’t you just hate it when you have to constantly replace your pet’s substrate? When making your selection, consider how long a particular substrate lasts before needing to be replaced. Choosing substrates with a longer lifespan may save you time and money in the long run.

By considering these features, you’ll be well-equipped to make the perfect choice for your bearded dragon. Isn’t it exciting to embark on this journey to find the best substrate for your pet? Happy shopping!

Frequently Asked Questions

Loose or solid substrate?

Which is best for your bearded dragon: loose or solid substrate? Both options have their pros and cons. Loose substrates like sand can cause impaction if ingested, but they provide a more natural environment that mimics the dragon’s wild habitat. Solid substrates like reptile carpet or tiles are easy to clean, but can be less stimulating for your pet.

DIY substrate options?

Want to get creative with your bearded dragon’s substrate? Try creating a custom mix using a combination of materials such as play sand, coconut coir, and organic topsoil. Just remember to sterilize any raw materials before use, and ensure they don’t contain any harmful additives like fertilisers or pesticides.

Curious about the ideal tank setup for your bearded dragon? Start by choosing a spacious enclosure with a UVB light source, and provide multiple hiding spots and climbing opportunities. As for the substrate, a mix of a solid base layer like tiles or paper towels, with a loose layer on top, can offer the best of both worlds.

Substrate mixes to consider?

A substrate mix can improve your bearded dragon’s living environment. One recommended blend is a combination of 70% play sand and 30% organic topsoil, creating a natural, stimulating environment for your pet. Another option is to mix coconut coir with topsoil, which helps retain humidity and provides a soft, comfortable surface for your bearded dragon to explore.

Calcium sand safe?

We know you may be tempted to use calcium sand for your bearded dragon’s habitat, but is it safe? The answer is generally no. Calcium sand can lead to impaction if swallowed, as it clumps together in the digestive system. Stick to safer alternatives like reptile carpet, tiles, or the substrate mixes mentioned earlier.

Is ReptiSoil suitable?

ReptiSoil is a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts – but is it suitable for bearded dragons? The good news is that it’s often a safe and suitable option. It’s an all-around substrate that encourages natural digging behaviour and helps maintain proper humidity levels. Just be sure to keep an eye on the cleanliness, as with any substrate, to ensure your bearded dragon remains healthy.

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