Bearded Dragon Substrate

Chris Stephens By Chris Stephens, 2nd Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/36rq_x8m/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Reptiles

In the wild bearded dragons will spend their entire lives on top sand in Australia. Some people believe that housing the bearded dragons on sand can run the risk of gut impaction. Gut impaction is where the bearded dragon will consume small amounts of sand and it get to the point where the sand can’t be properly digested.

Sand and Similar Materials

In the wild bearded dragons will spend their entire lives on top sand in Australia. Some people believe that housing the bearded dragons on sand can run the risk of gut impaction. Gut impaction is where the bearded dragon will consume small amounts of sand and it get to the point where the sand can’t be properly digested. At that point the intestinal track is blocked and causes all kinds of health problems and may include death if not properly treated. I personally house all my dragons and everybody that I know and have heard who have owned bearded dragons all house there’s on sand as well as pet stores and I have never ever seen this happen. These types of substrates are sold for desert reptiles. However pebbles and gravel should not be used as substrates because they have been known to cause impaction. If you are concerned with gut impaction and would like to use sand as a substrate, there are two options. The first option is to use a smooth; non-silica sand as you would normally, then sprinkle some calcium supplement over the surface of the sand, mix it in the sand then sprinkle the surface again. The calcium supplement is used because it helps to strengthen the digestive system for the bearded dragon so if for any reason the dragon consumes the sand then the sand will then be digested out of the dragon preventing any gut impaction. The second option is to use calcium bases sand found at most pet stores. This type of sand is made from calcium so any sand that’s consumed by the bearded dragon will pass right through the bearded dragon’s body. Theses sands help to prevent gut impaction also they come in a wide variety of colors. There is one downside to this type of sand and its price. The price of this type of sand is much more than regular sand is. Also when using sand as a substrate make sure to fill until about 3-4 inches from the bottom of the enclosure. The bearded dragons in the wild like to burro in sand for a number of reasons, it’s a bit part in the life of the bearded dragon. A shallow layer of sand may cause the bearded dragon to become stressed, and cause frustration for your bearded dragon when they attempt to burrow and can’t.

Cage liners

Sand isn’t the only thing that may be used as substrate; there are cage liners, and reptile cage carpets. These are great to use because there easy to clean, when they start to smell all you need to do is soak it in hot water with antibacterial soap and there good as new. Also there really thin so if you use an undertank heating pad the lizard can absorb more heat from it.

Bark, Mulch, And Wood Shavings

You may have seen these kinds of substrates at your local pet store. There great only for people who have the ability to control the humidity inside their bearded dragon’s enclosure. These kinds of substrates hold in a lot of moisture and may not be great for your bearded dragons unless you have a way of keeping the humidity levels down then there great. Wood such as pine and cedar chips, shavings, and any evergreen products should never be used for a bearded dragon at all. The reason for this is that they have heavily scented oils in them that can permanently damage the bearded dragon’s organs such as the nose, tongue, and sinuses. Also it can damage the respiratory system, and the skin.

Paper Products

Recycled newspaper is also a great to use as a substrate for your bearded dragons. This type of bedding is fluffy, lightweight, and is no threat to your bearded dragons. If you live in an area where high in humidity then this is may not work so well for you. The reason is that paper holds in moisture very well. So it’s great for people who already live in an area that’s much like a desert but not so great for people who live in an area where there’s a lot of humidity. Also cleanup can be a pain; you would have to keep on replacing the paper about every time the lizards goes to the bathroom, because the paper absorbs it and also the smell.

Tags

Bearded Dragon, Bearded Dragons, Beardie, Sand, Substrate

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author avatar Chris Stephens
I love animals, computers, fixing and troubleshooting, and helping people.

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