Putting some equipment or bedding in the bed of chameleon is necessary for the chameleons. Different kinds of substrates are available in the market and most of them come with their unique features and facilities. Bottom of the cage is usually covered with the bedding material.
Chameleons are habituated in staying up for the most part of the day, so they come down very few times on the ground. So substrate that you use should be safe for them and not cause them any kind of sickness.
The most common substrate that is used by the owners is an old newspaper that is cheap and recyclable. This paper can absorb defecate of the chameleons and this is also easy to get. The newspaper sheet can also be disposed of off easily so you can keep it changing after a few days, without worrying about expenses.
- 1 Which substrate is safe for chameleons?
- 2 The Best 7 Substrate for Chameleons Review
- 3 What substrates are not suitable for the chameleon?
- 4 What Issues can be caused by substrates?
- 5 Purposes of using substrate in chameleon’s cage:
- 6 Common FAQs
Which substrate is safe for chameleons?
We can offer you suggestions for different kind of substrates that are safe for the pet chameleon. Also, these will be easily available in the market. Some good options are coconut shell fibre brick, dried moss, dried organic bark, organic earth using coconut shell, or a fibrous mat that is again made by coconut fibre.
Other than the grainy or dusty substrate, which can be eaten by the chameleons and get them choked, all the other kind of mats, beddings and such substrate are good for them. only keep in mind that the beddings that you use should not be easily torn or broken, or else the chameleon can try to nibble and swallow them.
The Best 7 Substrate for Chameleons Review
Now we can offer you the best substrate idea that will suit your chameleon and will not cause them any harm.
1. Exo Terra Coco Husk
The brand is so popular among the pet owners that you can believe them for providing a good quality substrate. This is a natural thing so no chance of getting the health of the chameleon damaged due to impaction as it does not contain any dust or powder.
This coco husk will maintain the humidity of the terrarium so if you own the species of chameleon that need some amount of moisture, use it on their terrarium.
Chameleons can dig this substrate and make burrows under it. Also in time laying eggs they will be digging the substrate and lay eggs underneath the substrate. There are three types of packages available which contain a different amount of substrate. So you can buy any amount of coco husk for the terrarium of your pet according to the size of the cage.
As per the users, the red colour comes out from it when you wash it or apply water on it. Though there is the least chance of watering this husk that can cause any damage or problem for the chameleons. There is also a chance of getting the sides of the husk broken. So you must keep an eye on the pets to see if they are chewing on it or breaking pieces of it.
- Totally natural substrate
- Increases humidity
- Helps in digging behaviour
- Red colouring can be a concern
2. Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Coconut Husk Brick
This coconut husk brick is able to absorb the moisture greatly. When you want to keep reptiles like chameleons which are authentically from tropical climate then this is one of the right choices for the terrarium.
Along with absorption quality, this material is good at keeping the moisture level good. For the chameleons, this provides a safe landing pad as they often have the habit of jumping down from the branches.
The great benefit of this substrate is that it expands in a large amount. If you buy a pack of this substrate, you can fill a large-sized enclosure with it as it gets fluffy when coming in a touch of air. This also allows the female chameleon to dig up and lay the eggs when they are about to do so.
This purely organic substrate option is good for chameleons through all seasons. If the reptile wishes to sleep on it, it will be providing sufficiently thick and comfortable bedding. This layer becomes 1 or 2 inches thick and is insulated by the air that is present on the pores.
- Can be used in portions
- Natural fibre
- Keeps the chameleon active
- Tough to cut into pieces
3. Zoomed 26084 Eco Earth Loose Bag
This bag of loose organic earth comes in various sizes to accommodate the size of your pet’s terrarium. When you plan to keep the interior of the terrarium natural for your chameleon, get a packet of this eco earth for it.
It can keep the moisture of the terrarium at a healthy level. It is not harmful to your pet chameleons. This also is good for keeping the droppings of the chameleon as it will absorb the odour. So you can clean the poop of the pets without much hassle.
This pack is available in large quantity which is quite economical. You can use one bag of the earth for many days to come. You need to use them in a small amount and then apply mist on it. Then you can add to some more of it and again mist the rest.
It will never cause impaction to your chameleon. Digging is done easily on this matter and so your pet will love this substrate. This substrate is quite long-lasting and you may change it once in two or three months.
Your chameleon will stay happy and healthy when you put this substrate on their terrarium. This offers a thick cover to the bottom of the terrarium where the chameleons can dig or play.
- Keeps humidity
- Gnats may appear sometimes
4. Zilla Reptile Substrate Liner
Another great pet-friendly product from the reputed brand Zilla, this is one of the favourite substrate options for the chameleon. It will offer you low maintenance of the terrarium and will keep the chameleons free from the danger of toxic material.
This is not a brick or husk like the earlier ones, but you can rather call it a carpet. This one is pretty easy to clear, as you only have to remove it from the terrarium floor and wash away. This way you will be able to get rid of all the dust and dirt from it.
This liner does not contain any anti-bacterial quality so you need to keep a close eye on the growth of mites and bacteria on the chameleon while using this liner. Regular cleaning of the liner will keep the danger of mites and other bacterial growth away.
There are various kinds of chameleons available but this substrate is great and works for all the species of chameleons. This is a good option for the chameleons as they will not be irritated or stress even the juvenile chameleons.
- Easy cleaning
- Economical option
- No protection against bacteria
5. Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding Substrate
This offers good and comfortable bedding for your chameleon and it also offers safety from the bacterial and fungal growth inside the terrarium. Those reptiles who prefer to stay in the warm and humid atmosphere like chameleon will love this coconut fibre bedding from reptile firm.
Humidity retention is one of its great qualities and also it offers the odourless experience of cleaning defecate of the chameleon. The poop or droppings are broken down by this natural substrate and the odour is thus gone.
It becomes thick when it is wet so you should not apply much water on this substrate. It is better to be broken before putting on the terrarium. A mildew kind of smell comes from it which may seem difficult for you but don’t worry as the chameleon will not mind it.
This is a completely organic solution for the chameleons and it will never cause any kind of toxicity to the pet. There is no dust in this bedding material so it will also not cause the impaction. It also keeps the temperature of the terrarium at a consistent which is necessary for the tropic reptiles like chameleons.
- Absorbs odour
- Natural substance
- Mildew smell
- Gets thick if wet
6. Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding
This brand offers multiple options of beddings and this is also a great choice for the chameleon owners. Tropical reptiles will be happy to be around this all-natural substrate and it will also provide them with the comfort of natural surroundings.
No harm can be caused to the chameleons if you use this substrate. Humidity retention is another great benefit of this substrate so you will be providing the chameleon with the warm and humid atmosphere like the natural ones.
As this substrate offers the semi-natural surroundings it will also make the female chameleon happy and they can lay eggs by digging into the substrate. They can lay eggs on the same terrarium and do not need to be moved from the place when they are pregnant or in time of mating.
- Offers natural atmosphere
- Helps in egg-laying
- Retains the moisture
- Mites can breed into it
7. Zilla Beaked Terrarium Moss
This is a new addition to the list of the substrate as this one is dried moss in packed form. Zilla is selling this all-natural moss substrate and that too is in a form that is able to retain the moisture easily. For the reptiles like chameleons, this substrate offers a homely atmosphere within the terrarium.
When spread, this offers a much natural look and feel, so you as well as your pet will love this substrate. This is completely natural as it has been harvested from the coniferous trees of the rainforests, which shows it contains all the goodness of natural element.
This moss layer makes the terrarium looking green and it also keeps the pet healthy and happy. This is a biodegradable option of the substrate and it will never damage the digestive system of the chameleon, nor will it cause impaction by any means.
- Great natural look
- Chameleons love it
- Can be used repeated
- Keeps the humidity level good
- The package is hard to store
What substrates are not suitable for the chameleon?
You should avoid the cedar, corn cob or gravel bedding for your pet chameleon as the moisture-retaining capacity of these materials often cause fungal infection or some kind of disease to the reptile pet.
What Issues can be caused by substrates?
This reptile comes with a complex digestive system which can be harmed by impaction easily. When the substrate comes in pieces, they can try to swallow it and it will choke them. This will result in no further food digestion and that will make the chameleon severely ill.
Bark and sand are really worse kind of substrate for chameleons. Sand can cause impaction as stated above. Bark is one good retainer of moisture, as it will give the chance of bacterial growth in the cage of the chameleon. If your pet gets parasitic loads then you must take the creature to the vet to get it checked and cured.
Purposes of using substrate in chameleon’s cage:
You need to mist the chameleon of yours regularly especially in the summer days. When you keep soil substrate in the cage bed of chameleon, it absorbs the moisture that is left on the floor. There will be no water puddle left on the floor of the enclosure. So there will be no chance of bacteria breeding as well.
There are some species of chameleon-like the veiled and the panther ones, which need some amount of humidity to be present in their enclosures. So only the natural substrates like soil or plants and leaves can help to retain the moisture and humidity in the enclosure.
This is not an ignorable point. You need to keep up the look of the enclosure with the beautiful looking pet that the chameleon is. You can be creative with the look and make it look like a mini home or a forest or a desert area using various kinds of safe substrate.
If you own a female chameleon then you must use a substrate where the pet will lay its eggs. There is this habit of laying eggs by the female chameleon even without mating a male one. This will not be done properly until you put a substrate or bedding on their cage. Not only they need to keep the eggs on the substrate but also before laying eggs, female chameleons, like many reptiles, dig into the substrate and then lay eggs.
When you use the natural substrate like soil or any kind of leaves you do not have to clean the enclosure. The fungus and bacterial growth on the soil will recycle defecate of the chameleon and you will not have to bother to remove that dropping every other day. But you must not let it be on its own and sometimes check on the pet to see if any bad bacteria has grown on the substrate and is affecting your pet.
Which is the safe soil option for the chameleon?
Organic soil is the safe option for the chameleon’s terrarium. You should not put regular soil as that can contain parasites, mites and different other kinds of bacteria which can be good or bad. This will be a risky affair and it can damage the health of the chameleon.
Coconut fibre is a safe option for chameleons or not?
Coconut fibre is used to make a different kind of beddings like mat, brick or carpet. Other than regular form of coconut fibre, these are better options for substrate in the enclosure of chameleon.
Can you put sand in the bed of chameleon?
Putting sand is okay until the chameleon tries to swallow it. Sand is a good option for the substrate as this is dry and does not add to the humidity. Also, it is easy to get and you can clean the dropping from it rather easily. But there can be impaction issues which are rather severe for the chameleons.
Which substrate can be eaten by the chameleon?
Some chameleons may eat or try to eat the natural soil or organic soil that is used in their cages as substrate. They do this when they are not satiated with the number of insects you are feeding it, or the insects are gut loaded. Also, some chameleons find the soil taste similar to the food and they gobble it down. Some soil contains organic fertilizers which taste like mineral and the pet may think that it is a necessary thing for their body.
Unlike sand, the soil does not choke them, but there can be another kind of problems arising from this.
They also sometimes try to swallow a pebble or two that is laid around them. They may think this to be some pests. This is not okay and they should not try to eat them as that can cause impaction. It will also cause them to stop to poop, as pebbles are not supposed to be digested anyhow.
Calcium sand is, however, not that harmful and you can use them on the cage. However, too much consumption of calcium sand is also harmful to these little ones.
When you choose substrate for your chameleon, it must be able to retain humidity as well as absorb moisture. A good kind of substrate is necessary if you want to make your chameleon feel better and breed healthily. Also, a good substrate makes the cleaning of terrarium an easy job. We have mentioned here different kinds of substrates and hope you will choose the best one as per your convenience.