Quest For The Perfect Substrate

Over the years, we have tried numerous bedding types on our ball python collection. We first started with using shredded aspen as it was cheap to buy in large quantities, absorbent,and easy to spot clean.  Its only drawback was that it would mould easily when wet or misted especially when trying to promote good sheds.

Next we tried using good old newspaper.  It was a medium that is readily found, abundant, free and easy to change.  Newspaper is a one shot deal because one urination or defecation from a snake would normally require an immediate bin change.  Newspaper is not as absorbent as aspen but using multiple layers helps.

We heard great things about cypress mulch and it was our next progression to experiment with.  At first it took us some time to track down a cyprus mulch supplier, but we eventually got a hold of a larger bark variety, not a finer shred like aspen.   This big chunk cyprus worked especially great on our adult animals.  One advantage of cypress is that it is highly absorbent when dry and can retain lots of  water  promoting excellent sheds.  Cypress resists molding more than aspen, adding a longer useful life to the product.

Our next move, was trying coconut husk chips as we heard numerous snake hobbyists and big snake breeders ranting and  raving about the medium.  After trying it, we concluded that it was the best switch we ever made for the collection.  Coconut husk comes in a small and medium grade perfect for the smallest to the largest of all snakes. The advantages to using the product as a bedding are that

  • it is more absorbent than every substrate we have tried,
  • easy to spot clean like aspen,
  • wets and re-wets easily while naturally resisting mould,
  • great to use  both dry and wet,
  • promotes great sheds,
  • has a very long life span adding value to the product,
  • and it has made maintenance on a growing collection easier.

As a snake hobbyist’s collection grows, we all look for products that will help aid with the husbandry of the animals we keep.  Coconut-based beddings are becoming more popular in the reptile hobby.  Don’t be afraid to try one of the best natural renewable resources offered  to this addictive hobby. Your snakes will love you for it.

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