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Ball Python Substrate: How To Choose The Best? (Buyers Guide)

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Do you intend to keep a ball python or already have one? If so, here is all you need to know about caring for your beautiful friend, particularly managing their houses.

It’s a life already under your care, so you always need to ensure that your pet receives the best protection possible. The most exciting thing about ball python snakes is that they stay relatively small, growing no more than 60 inches long. Therefore, it becomes simple to care for them. 

In this review, I’m going to explore the best substrates suitable for your ball python.

ball python substrate
ball python substrate

What To Look For In A Good Substrates For Ball Python?

There are numerous substrates available out there in the market. Having the information at hand about what kind of product you are looking for makes the work easier.

More importantly, ensure you regularly inspect your pet’s enclosure to check if things are well. 

If humidity is the problem, look for a product that can absorb and retain moisture to the required level. Perhaps you need something to use repeatedly and clean after use; many brand options are available to fulfill any of your needs.    

The following guidelines will help you to select only the best substrate(bedding) for your ball python. 

Fine Texture

One of the primary functions of the snake’s scales is to protect its body from abrasions as they slither along the ground. Despite that, the snake’s body is sensitive to rough materials and can easily get injured. 

Therefore, always buy the substrates with a soft or soft texture to protect your lovely ball python pet.

Finely textured litters are plenty and from different brands. 

Non-toxic and Natural Materials. 

Chemically made brands may be toxic to the ball pythons and other reptiles, as well as the pet keepers. Those non-toxic substances might get into the snake’s body through ingestion or inhalation and irritate your pet. 

I know you don’t wish something terrible to happen to your dear friend.

Therefore, keep her from any toxic materials. Search for natural brands; they are safe. 

Holds in Humidity

Look for a material that is capable of absorbing moisture and maintain the desired humidity. Ball pythons need to stay in a warm and humid environment to maintain their body function. 

When the humidity level is right, the snake can quickly and normally shed its skin. Incorrect humidity will hinder such a function, thus affecting the snake’s growth. 

Absorbent Brand

A snake enclosure is prone to bad smell and wetting if you don’t take care of them. The substrates help to absorb liquid waste, reduce the odor, and keep the house warm. 

Always look for materials with excellent absorbent capability to help control the odor and moisture in the enclosure. It provides fresh air and makes the house look clean

Dustless Materials

Dusty substrates will quickly form cakes after absorbing the waste liquid; snakes can ingest such material, which may not be safe. 

Also, your ball python will be irritated by the dust as they inhale it. Therefore, look for the substrates that are free from dust that cannot harm your pet.  

Easy to Burrow Substrate

Some pet ball pythons love burrowing through their substrates. Some substrates will facilitate burrowing while a few are not.

But are still best to use as long as they full fill the above five factors. 

If you notice that your snake is fond of burrowing, please look for a material that gives room for the snake to express this natural behavior. Some brands enhance burrowing and, at the same time, possess all the above characteristics. 

Please make sure you consider all these factors when buying the snake beddings to avoid making unnecessary mistakes. They will genuinely be of great help. 

Top 8 Best Substrate for Ball Python Comparison Chart

What is the best substrate for a ball python? It is a concern question to every responsible ball python owner.

The simple answer is that appropriate litters should be safe for your pet and provide the necessary humidity in the house

Below are the best substrates for your ball python and their unique characteristics. Don’t miss this exciting information. 

Product NameFeature 1Feature 2Rating (1-5)
Zoo Med Aspen Snake BeddingGreat textureCan quickly absorb moisture4.8
Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile BeddingGreat odor control beddingSafe for snakes4.5
Zoo Med Forest Floor SubstrateNatural material Ability to absorb moisture4.7 
Zilla Snake and Lizard LitterOdor control Can easily absorb moisture4.6
Galapagos Cypress Tank MulchAbility to absorb moistureIt is non -toxic 4.0
Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate LinearControls odor Fine texture4.6
Super Moss Orchid Potting BarkIt is absorbent Natural bedding 4.5
Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding SubstrateExcellent in retaining moistureAbsorbent material 4.6

Best Substrate For Ball Python Reviews 

Zoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding

Zoo Med Aspen snake bedding is a unique brand among the many Aspen pet beddings.

It is exclusively meant to be a useful substrate for your ball pythons. This function makes it famous and plays a significant role in controlling moisture and odor in your pet enclosure. 

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview
2.9 Material: Aspen.
Size: 24 quarts
Cost: $22.36

Product Highlights 

Zoo Med Aspen snake substrate is free of dust, has a light texture, and is an excellent moisture absorbent. It is capable of absorbing about 200% of its weight in water. 

Also, this substrate has fine particles that can quickly move through the GIT in case a snake accidentally swallows them when burrowing. 

You will find this incredible Aspen substrate by Zoo Med from Amazon

What I like

  • It is dustless substrate, thus not harmful to the snake in any way. 
  • Aspen is a super-substrate for any kind of pet snake. 
  • Creates room for the ball python to burrow. 
  • It gives a natural smell and appearance. 

What I don’t like 

  • It can be messy due to its light texture. 
  • Quite pricey product. 
  • Not suitable in high humid houses. 
ProsCons
Aspen produces a natural and attractive scent.
Your ball python can quickly burrow through Aspen because of its fine texture.
Aspen is bright in color to allow a person to see the snake waste comfortably.
Great absorbing capability. It is a natural substrate. 
In case you leave them wet for a long time, molds are likely to grow.
Due to its fine texture, Aspen falls typically on the floor, forcing you to clean it. 

Buy on Amazon

Critters Comfort Coconut Reptile Bedding

Coconut reptile substrate is an organic brand by critters comfort, and it works exceptionally well. It is a supreme bedding brand suitable for a wide range of animals, for instance, a ball python, bearded dragons, frogs, tortoise, salamanders, etc. 

This natural and elegant brand is the right choice to keep your ball python in a clean and safe environment at all times. 

Editor Rating (1-3) Overview.  
2.7Material: coconut.
Size: 21 quarts.
Cost: $19.95

Product Highlight

There are numerous brands of coconut substrates available, but I find critter comfort coconut to be more effective because of its many bonuses. It is a standard product. 

It’s an ideal substrate that ensures that both you and your pet are safe from dust and chemicals. The organic coconut coir is also a better odor controller than any other related substrate. It is durable and practical for use in humid and arid areas. 

I recommend you to try critters comfort coconut brand; it is a natural and soft substrate best for your ball python. View the product from Amazon.

What I Like

  • Critter comfort coconut reptile substrate is sustainable, non-toxic, and you can recycle it. It gives a long-lasting service. 
  • The brand is environmentally friendly.
  • You can always use the nesting materials after service as compost manure for your flower beds, garden, etc. It is very rich in nutrients. 
  • In case your ball python ingests the coconut substrate, there is no harm. The product is non-toxic and is completely natural. 

What I Don’t Like

  • It can attract mites into a ball python’s enclosure. 
Pros Cons  
Superb odor controller
It is an organic and soft substrate
Useful to a wide range of animals
It is superior absorbent, can absorb moisture and smell
The product is antibacterial, and it suppresses the growth of molds.
It can be used in many environments, humid, arid, tropical vivariums, and terrariums. 
It can form clumps due to moisture, forcing you to break it up.
The fine texture is quite messy; it will find its way to the floor.
Cleaning is necessary. 

Buy on Amazon

Zoo Med Forest Floor Substrate

It is also interesting to know about zoo med forest floor substrate by Zoo med, which is made up of all-natural cypress mulch. The brand is readily available online from Amazon and Chewy, and locally. 

This facility allows it to decor your ball python’s ground with a natural appearance of the forest floor. Cypress mulch is non-toxic. It is good to go to substrate. 

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview
2.8Material: Cypress mulch
Size: 24 quart- bag
Cost: $18.89

Product Highlight

Zoo Med forest floor substrate is ideal for snakes, tropical tortoise, and amphibians. It is a perfect choice product because of its ability to resists mold growth and retains humidity. 

For a ball python shedding skin, the process requires some humidity to be effective. The forest floor substrate is also a natural moisture absorbent.   

What I Like

  • Cypress mulch is resistant to mold growth. 
  • It does not contain fillers, only natural materials. 
  • Suitable substrate if you need humidity in your pet’s house. 
  • The softwood chips provide comfortable nesting for ball pythons. 
  • Easy to clean and use substrate. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The substrate can attract insects like fruit flies if hygiene is not maintained.
ProsCons
Mold resistant can tolerate high moisture levels.
It is a natural material, not toxic to your pet.
Great absorbent.
It gives a beautiful and natural forest floor look. 
The texture is not very fine for your ball python to burrow.
Though it can retain moisture to retain humidity, the cypress mulch can dry over time.
You need to rehydrate it. Not the best choice for ball pythons, sometimes it can provide humidity higher than the required level.

Buy on Amazon

Zilla Snake and Lizard Litter

Another excellent and exciting substrate is the snake and lizard litter by Zilla. This brand is a perfect option for snakes, monitors, swifts, and skinks.   

It works exceptionally well in absorbing the moisture from the reptile enclosures. The product contains laboratory graded, heat-treated Aspen that is responsible for the fantastic absorbing capability.  They are also useful in controlling odor.   

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview
2.7  Material: Aspen chips.
Size: 8 quarts, 24 quarts.
Cost: $12.49, $13.99 respectively. 

Product Highlight

Zilla Snake and lizard litter is indeed a great product that I recommend to help maintain appropriate humidity in your pet’s enclosure.

It is ultra-absorbent substrate and is safe for your ball python because they are unquestionably free from toxic oils and resins.

The product is 100% natural. See more from Amazon

What I Like

  • It can be used as a substrate for several animals. 
  • The presence of the ground eucalyptus and fir shavings gives a natural fresh scent in the pet’s house. 
  • It is purely natural. 

What I Don’t Like

  • It can attract mites. 
Pros Cons 
Easy to clean.
Mold resistant.
Enhance burrowing.
Safe if the ball python ingests it.
Provides a fresh scent
Excellent moisture absorbent. 
The price is quite high.
It is a little dusty.

Buy on Amazon

Galapagos Cypress Tank Mulch

Cypress tank mulch by Galapagos is a highly affordable and significant brand to use as your snake’s substrate. 

It is 100% safe for the ball python because it lacks any chemicals, toxins, and even parasites. It is most suitable for numerous reptiles such as ball python, royal python, monitors, frogs, gopher snakes, among others. 

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview
2.4 Material: cypress mulch
Size: 8 quarts
Cost: $9.09

Product Highlight

Cypress tank mulch is highly absorbent, non-toxic and as well, a soft substrate. It has a high-quality mulch that works well to maintain the necessary humidity and warmth—view on Amazon

What I Like

  • It is natural substrate purely from cypress trees. 
  • Highly affordable price.

What I Don’t Like

  • The bag is quite small. 
Pros Cons 
Easy to clean
High absorbency
Chemicals, parasites, and oils are absent from this brand.
Consists of sustainable timber by-product.
It is not a fine texture like other brands.
The chips are large and somewhat sharp. 

Buy on Amazon

Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner

There is a beautiful brand here you can’t afford to miss, reptile terrarium substrate by Zilla. It is worthy of using the brand; first, it is cost-effective, requires low maintenance, and is a sound absorbent. 

It is fantastic substrate to provide to your snake, especially the juveniles. The product is well treated to control odor.  The linear is either green or brown, and the user can cut it into their desired size. 

Editor RatingOverview
2.7Size: 55 gallons
Cost: $9.99

Product Highlight

Zilla reptile terrarium substrate exceeds many available brands.

It is treated with an environmental- friendly enzyme that enables it to reduce odor.

It has absorptive and abrasive material that cannot irritate your ball python pet as it moves.

What I Like

  • You can easily clean the substrate with cold water. During cleaning, you just roll it out and bring it to a cleaning place.
  • It is reusable 
  • It is ideal for people planning to begin keeping pets. 

What I Don’t Like

  • It stays damp for a short time. 
Pros Cons 
Highly absorbent.
Low maintenance.
Reusable.
Fair price. 
The material may not be effective in providing the necessary warmth. 

Buy on Amazon

Super Moss Orchid Potting Bark

Orchid potting bark substrate by Super Moss is a wholly natural and organic brand. The product can make excellent substrate for the ball python since it is highly absorbent and natural. 

Though super moss is designed to be used in orchids plantation, it has supreme features that are ideal for a ball python substrate. 

Editor Rating (1-3)Overview
2.7Material: Douglas fir bark
Size: 3 lb.
Cost: $38.75

Product Highlight 

I find this product essential and a right ball python substrate because it is a robust water absorber and has proper chip sizes. It is clean and free from odors. For more information and purchase, please visit Amazon.

What I Like

  • Great for use as substrate.
  • It is a 100% natural product.
  • Consist of organic and sustainable material.
  • Easy to use.
  • Effective in eliminating the bad smell from the snake’s enclosure. 

What I Don’t Like

  • High purchasing cost.
Pros Cons
It results from organic and enduring bark.
It is 100% natural and organic product.
Efficient in absorbing water. 
The material may be rougher for a ball python.
They are not designed for reptiles. 

Buy on Amazon

Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding Substrate

Another superb brand from coconut fiber is the reptile prime coconut fiber substrate. It is meant explicitly for reptiles, invertebrates, and the amphibians. 

This coconut fiber product has outstanding capabilities in retaining humidity, reducing odor, and breaking waste products. Try it out and see its excellent work. 

Editor Rating (1-3).Overview
2.7Specs; Material: Coconut Fiber Size: 24 quarts.Cost: $20.99.

Product Highlight

Reptile prime coconut fiber is a unique product; it can retain humidity successfully and has superior absorbing capabilities. View the product on Amazon

What I Like

  • You can use the material while damp or dry; thus, it is useful in the desert and tropical species. 
  • Suitable for a variety of reptiles and can serve different purposes such as growing plants in natural terrariums. 
  • Great value for its price.
  • Successful in reducing the smell from the enclosure. 

What I Don’t Like

  • Sometimes it can attract moths. 

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons 
Easy to use when dry or damp.
Naturally absorbs and reduces odor, and breaks down waste products.
Excellent in retaining humidity.
It enhances burrowing because the coconut fiber has a soil-like texture. 
Because of its fine texture, it can be messy.
When wet, the material tends to cake, and the snake can ingest it. 

Buy on Amazon

Do baby ball pythons need special substrate?

The baby ball python, just like the adults, requires the best substrate for their enclosures. These babies are rapidly growing during their life cycle, and they need an environment that will stimulate their growth.

There are several options for the best substrate for a baby ball python, but I hugely recommend Reptile prime coconut fiber substrate. It is the best or at least the best bedding for babies.

Editor RatingOverview
4.6Material: Coconut fiber
Size: 24 dry quarts
Cost: $20.99

Product Highlight

Reptile prime coconut fiber is an excellent choice substrate because it promotes high humidity, eliminates the bad smell, dust-free, fine texture and is easy to use.

What I like

  •  Great on humidity.
  •  No dust.
  •  It is soft, and can be best for burrowing.
  •  Economical.

What I Don’t Like

  •  Can attract mites if not well managed.
ProsCons
Highly absorbent.
Easy to inspect.
Readily available.
Natural material.
Free from dust.
Useful in eliminating the lousy smell.
Comfortable substrate.
It can be a little messy.

Buy on Amazon

There are so many advantages behind the reptile prime coconut fiber; more importantly, its ability to promote high levels of humidity encourages shedding.

For a snake to grow, first, it has to shed its skin. The same applies to a baby ball python.

Best Substrate for Ball Python FAQs

What is the Best Bedding/Substrate for a Ball Python?

Many available substrates can be used in your ball python enclosure. However, not all of them are safe. Always choose a product that is easy to clean, natural, high absorbency, dustless, fine-textured, etc. 
Chemically treated materials can be dangerous to your ball python. Also, avoid too fine substrates; if the snake ingests them, they can be harmful. 

How Often Should I Change My Ball Python’s substrate?

Ball python enclosures are easy to maintain and clean, especially if you are using one of the best substrate. When it comes to relieving themselves, snakes do that infrequently. 
That reduces the number of times you need to thoroughly clean the house and change the substrate, at least 1-2 times in a month. But check on the solid waste and caked substrate regularly to remove them. 

How Much substrate Does a Ball Python Need?

For instance, 24 quarts of cypress mulch substrate is enough to supply three times in a 20-gallon tank or enclosure. Don’t provide intense materials.

Do Ball Python Burrow Under substrate?

Not all ball pythons tend to burrow, particularly the wild ball pythons. However, some pet ball pythons like burrowing through their substrate, but it’s uncommon behavior to others. 
It’s normal if you notice that your ball python likes burrowing. 

Is it Good to Mix Different Substrates for Ball Pythons?

Some substrates like Aspen can be used independently, but if substrate lacks a specified characteristic, mixing with another brand is safe. Just ensure you use all-natural materials. 

Final Verdict 

As I finish writing the article, I highly recommend product number one, Zoo Med Aspen Snake substrate, as the best product because it is highly absorbent, dust-free, and fine-textured.

It also makes excellent substrate for burrowing. 

Zoo Med Forest Floor substrate can be a perfect alternative for the best ball python substrate.

It is relatively cheap, high absorbent, mold-resistant, and has all-natural materials.

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William N

Hello, my name is William Nathan. I am the owner of UniquePetsWiki.com. Having a pet in the house is one of the funniest things that you will ever do. We(UniquePetsWiki Team) are here to help you with our knowledge.

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