What To Do For the Substrate For Your Bearded Dragon?

The substrate that your bearded dragon’s habitat will feature is not necessarily something that you might think all that much about but it can really make a huge difference if you really think about it. The substrate refers to the materials that you will place on the bottom part of your bearded dragon’s habitat. It is like a ground for the beardie to walk on while in that space.

happy dragon

You can choose from a variety of fine substrate options to use in your habitat. You must compare options with one another so you will find a choice that your beardie will love to be in no matter how big, small, young or old your dragon might be.

You must also a few critical considerations based on how safe or easy to handle the surface will be. This is especially the case with substrate surfaces that have small materials that a dragon could easily lick up. These items could potentially be harmful to your pet’s body.


Sand is clearly the top option to consider when getting a substrate ready for your bearded dragon. Sand is a surface that a beardie would experience in its natural habitat for the most part so it only makes sense to keep this at the top of the list of options for your substrate. The sand can be as coarse or fine as needed but you just need to get plenty of it added into your habitat if you are to make this fit in well within your surface.

Sand and small pebbles can be soft when piled up together in a spot that’s a few inches thick. Of course, you can always add it around some simulate flat rocks at the bottom to create a more unique and realistic terrain.

This is a great choice to have but you should be careful. The wrong type of sand can cause gut impaction, a condition where the gut will develop a substantial blockage that is difficult to clear out.

Look for a calcium-based sand material for your spot. Calcium will be much easier for your bearded dragon to take in as the calcium can go right through its body. The risk of gut impaction caused by this kind of sand will be extremely minimal.

Here is our choice: Zoo Med ReptiSand® Desert, 25 Pounds, White


You can actually use a carpeted surface inside your beardie’s habitat. Reptile carpets, or cage liners, are synthetic carpet materials that are designed to look like grass or other natural surfaces. You can easily lay this around the floor of your habitat and use a series of anchors or fasteners to keep it secure and flat without being at risk of coming apart or rising up.

You should see that the carpeting is designed carefully and that it will not be anything that a beardie might try and digest or chew upon. Also, watch for how the beardie runs around a surface like this. Poorly-made reptile carpets can be dangerous as a beardie’s claws can be stuck in a spot.

Here is our choice: Zoo Med Eco Carpet for 55 Gallon Tanks


Old newspapers are often used as substrates for a variety of animal habitats. The odds are you’ve seen this kind of substrate in a bird’s cage. These newspapers can also be used in a bearded dragon’s cage.

This is a good option as it’s easy to afford this and it can be rather easy to replace as demanded. However, you have to watch for how this option can retain humidity. In particular, a newspaper can take in moisture in a spot and become hard after a while. This can keep the moisture in the habitat from actually flowing around the habitat as well as needed. Be very careful when trying to use this in your habitat as there’s a real risk for your dragon to feel uncomfortable.


Bark and other organic materials can also be added into your habitat. This is a substrate option that is nice to have as it features a natural appearance that your beardie will love to thrive in. In addition, it can also be relatively realistic in terms of how it feels in comparison with a dragon’s natural habitat.

You must be extremely careful when getting bark or other similar items ready. You’ll clearly have to replenish them over time but what’s more important is that you don’t use things that might be pointy or risk of roughing up a beardie’s body.

Also, some forms of bark may also take in too much moisture in your space. Be careful as this can make it harder for moisture to move around as it will be trapped by the materials that you carry around with you. Be careful so you find a choice for your habitat that will not irritate your dragon.

Here is our choice: Galapagos 05014 Tropicoco Coconut Husk Bedding, 8-Quart, Natural

Ceramic Materials

Ceramic tiles can be added to the floor of your habitat to be used as a substrate. Ceramic tiles are great to have as they are sturdy and strong without being far too hard or heavy. They are also very easy to clean and wash off. You won’t have to worry about the dragon consuming anything that might be dangerous to its digestive system either. Still, you have to be cautious with this option as it can be a challenge to get this installed.

Bearded dragon in cage

You might have to go to a traditional home improvement store to find the ceramic materials you need to make this work. These materials might take a bit to run but if used properly, they will create a comfortable space for your dragon. Best of all, these can be found in an extensive variety of colors to create a more unique appearance that you will enjoy showing off within your dragon’s habitat.

You should check on the quality of your bearded dragon’s habitat so you can find a great substrate for your beardie to live in. You must be careful so you will find a choice that is attractive and fits in well with whatever you want to have for your animal. Choosing the right option is a necessity as it ensures that you’ll have more help with keeping your space comfortable.

See the best Cages for you Beardie

In this article we look at the best cages, what they should contain and how to chose wisely according to your budget and space.

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