What is Reptile Substrate?
Reptile Substrate is the floor of your reptile’s enclosure that they live on. It is also what is used in a Dig Box or Lay Bin depending on the species that you own. The exact definition of substrate according to websters dictionary is, “the base on which an organism lives.” (1)
Do Reptiles Need Substrate?
Yes. Yes, they absolutely do NEED a substrate. While it does not have to be a loose substrate like Forest Floor or Aspen. Paper Towels or shelf liner are examples of common “stable” or “fixed” substrates. But some form of reptile substrate is crucial.
Why Do Reptiles Need Substrate?
Short answer. For their health and wellbeing.
Now for the Long In-Depth Answer to Explain. When you become an exotic pet owner that means it becomes your responsibility to recreate the environment they came from. These reptiles depend on us to have the proper means dedicated to them so they can live comfortably. The overall set up referred to as husbandry. Animals live in certain parts of the world because that is where they function best. In their natural elements. If we remove them from that environment, into one they are not suited for they will eventually parish. They do not easily adapt like mammals can and often do. Like a fish out of water. But, with reptiles it may take longer than minutes, could takes hours or weeks. This is especially important when dealing with cold blooded animals.
Fear not if you are already getting worried. It is much simpler than it sounds when initially hearing the information. Utilizing this blog will also help simplify things for you.
Key Differences. Typically.
If you were unaware, which is ok (everybody starts somewhere), reptiles cannot regulate their own body temperatures and have heating needs for proper digestion and growth. Another key difference is their respiratory systems differ from mammals. Meaning every reptile will also have their own humidity requirements, again, dependent on the type of reptile you own. Lastly, almost all will have a UVB requirement.
Since removed from their homeland it means they can no longer maintain their bodies homeostasis. It is at this point it becomes our responsibility to create a suitable living space for them. A useful tool to help balance this in your set up is good reptile Substrate.
To sum it up.
Included here (on the site) is how I have found through research and experience how each each reptile substrate to work in various enclosures. I will also be including what substrate is best suited for some animals. Thirdly, associated health risks such as impactions for various species. Lastly, also things that could be beneficial to your pet like like being able to shed proplerly and succesfully.
Everyone deserves to enjoy their pet happy and healthy. Your pet will get to enjoy you as well. Whether to look at and admire or to hold and handle. It is incredible to raise these guys. They really are amazing creatures! But, if you have a sick or uncomfortable pet, you will not be getting the most from them and will not be able to enjoy them as you should.
What kinds of Substrates are there?
I put Reptile Substrate in two distinct categories. Loose reptile Substrate and I will interchange between the words “fixed” or “stable” reptile substrate.
What is loose reptile substrate?
Loose reptile substrate is a substrate that moves around in small pieces. Some are made from a product that is broken down into smaller more appropriately sized particals. Examples of Loose substrate are Forest floor, Coco Fiber, Coco Husk, Repti-Chip, Aspen, Mulch, Sand…etc.
What is a “Fixed” or “Stable” reptile Substrate?
A fixed/stable reptile substrate is a solid substrate. It usually does not move around, and your animal cannot burrow/dig in it. I mean they can but if they do you will have to then replace it. Paper Towels, Non-Adhesive Shelf Liner, Non-Adhesive Linoleum Tile are examples of “fixed” or “stable” substrates. Occasionally people will even put actual wood flooring, if treated properly, in their enclosures.
- (1) “Substrate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/substrate. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021