Whether you’re just starting out your exotic pet hobby, or if you’ve been caring for interesting little critters for a while now, you probably already know how important their habitat is. These unique creatures need carefully prepared environments in order to thrive and develop in the healthiest way possible. That’s why as their owner, you need to make sure you do your research and optimize their habitat for their comfort, development, and safety.
The bearded dragon is one of many kinds of lizards that are perfect for those who want an easy starter exotic pet. But as with any other animal, there are specific conditions that bearded lizards thrive best in. And the foundation of the ideal habitat is of course, the substrate. Wondering what’s the best loose substrate for bearded dragons? Find out here.
Zoo Med Dragon Sand for Reptiles
The Zoo Med Dragon Sand for Reptiles (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is a favorite among bearded reptile owners. Often considered the best substrate for this specific type of exotic pet, this product from Zoo Med is made from natural quartz sand, processed into a fine texture to encourage the burrowing and digging activity that’s natural for bearded dragons. So using this loose substrate in your pet’s containment mimics their natural environment, allowing normal lizard behavior.
There are a lot of substrates out there that are manufactured with different chemical-based substances to help manage odors and last longer. Unfortunately, they also cause harm to your pet, releasing fumes with time. Read up on bearded dragon care sheet flyers, and you’ll learn all about that. That’s why the Zoo Med Dragon Sand has become so popular. Without any harmful additives, coloring, substances, or chemical products, this sand is the perfect substrate for both an adult bearded dragon and its offspring.
In the area of maintenance, this substrate also makes it easier for pet owners. The sand clumps to your pet’s waste, making it easier to replace sand when necessary. What’s more, the texture of the sand makes it so that you can pick out specific areas that have been soiled. In this way, it wouldn’t be necessary to replace all the substrate, allowing you to perform spot maintenance. On top of that, the material itself isn’t prone to mold, mildew, and other potential contaminants. The relatively dry texture prevents moisture from thriving, and helps repel insects and other small critters that might try to take residence in your pet’s space.
Price-wise, the product comes at just around $1 per pound of product, giving you great value for money. That, plus the fact that it really does perform well to replicate the bearded dragon’s preferred basking spot specifics, it might just be the best investment for your pet. With just a single bag, you may be able to provide enough substrate for your pet for up to several months after you make your purchase. Mixing it in with other substrate materials, like bark, can also significantly extend your supply.
Zoo Med Repti Bark
Another common practice in bearded dragon care is the use of looser substrates like bark. Unlike sand which can create a packed, level foundation in your lizard’s habitat, the Zoo Med Repti Bark (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is slightly grainier. The texture makes it lighter, thus easier to burrow in. So if you’ve got smaller bearded dragons, this might make a better bedding.
The material is made from refined fig bark, and offers larger grains to prevent other pests from settling into your pet’s containment. Despite the gritty texture though, the substrate is free from any large twigs, piece of bark, and stones. This is because it goes through a triple cleaning process that helps remove any contaminants to achieve a smooth, perfect consistency. In effect, the premium bark is an extremely safe substrate for both fully grown bearded dragons and hatchlings.
Of course, just like most other Zoo Med products, the Zoo Med Repti Bark is easy to clean. The grains tend to clump together, although loosely, allowing you to gently scoop out soiled material and replace them. This way, you won’t have to dig out the entire habitat and make a complete replacement when you clean out your bearded dragon’s containment.
Another thing about this substrate is that it produces a slightly more humid environment. Designed to retain some of the original moisture of fig, this product is the ideal substrate for hotter climates. The humidity helps to keep your lizard just the right temperature, preventing a dusty environment when the weather’s hot. What’s more, the humidity also helps keep away certain bugs to help maintain the safety of your pet.
When it comes to the cost, the zoo Med Repti Bark substrate doesn’t do too bad. At around $1 per quart, the product can be the ideal substrate for pet owners on a budget. Factor in the fact that the substance doesn’t require frequent replacement, then it’s easy to see that a single purchase can last you several weeks or even months depending on how you like to maintain your pet’s containment.
The video below offers an additional third-party, independent review for the Zoo Med Repti Bark to offer our readers an independent opinion of the product.
So, what is the best substrate for your bearded dragon? It all depends on what you’re looking for and what you want for your pet. By most bearded dragon owners’ standards though, the Zoo Med products listed above are some of the best choices on the market. Offering great performance at affordable prices, these lizard-friendly substrates might just be the ideal pick for your pets. So be sure to give them a try as you search for the best loose substrate for bearded dragons.