I understand the objections to Sand and reptiles. I really do. →
However, instead of leaping on someone who uses sand, how about offering a -good- viable alternative?
I say this with 100% seriousness because you guys are super rad but saying NO. IS BAD. isn’t helpful.
There are a lot of burrowing reptiles.
Did you know that…
I really like carefresh! It holds burrows and is large enough that it’s probably not going to cause impaction. Even when Plinko gets a bit in his mouth, he spits it out. Bumble on the other hand would eat 10 lbs of carefresh if it was stuck to her food, so I have to feed her in a separate bin. Shredded aspen also seems to hold burrows pretty well, but I just like carefresh more. It’s easier to store and easier to clean up. Sani-chips are pretty messy and I don’t really like them that much. They tend to get everywhere like sand, and don’t really hold burrows. They smell nice though!
It’s gonna be different for every animal, but for the MOST part, I really like carefresh the best. It seems the safest and holds burrows the best. That’s just my opinion though!
I use aspen for both my burrowers (a hog and a kenyan sand boa), it is so good at holding burows! I’ve never actually seen carefresh available near me. I’m not sure if it’s strictly an american thing or if it’s just more common across the pond, though.
Our bearded dragon is on paper towels with a piece of slate for his nails. He’s… not a particularly healthy young man so we haven’t given him a burrowing box yet for fear he’ll get stuck in it or flip himself over or something, but when it gets bigger we’ll stick in a box of something. alfalfa pellets, maybe.
Aspen is indeed a great option for burrowing snakes as it really does hold structure excellently, however I’m not sure how well it would work for beardies.
They’re diggers really, so I imagine they’d probably kick it everywhere rather than really burrowing. Ideally for digging/nesting types it needs to be something solid that they can dig a burrow out of. In the wild that’d be hard packed dirt which is, for obvious reasons, very difficult to emulate in a captive habitat.
Burrowing clay, for example is an interesting option worth considering. It’s only “loose” whilst it’s still setting but allows your animals to create their own burrows which then set. Long term it’s not really different from tile/slate + hides.
The alfalfa pellets is an interesting idea. It wouldn’t really hold structure in terms of the burrow itself but it would satisfy that digging need and the box itself would be the burrow, I guess is the logic behind that?
This is a really good discussion!
I used to keep my Beardie on beach chips, as advised by my local specialist store, but I was advised (by a Beardie blog) that wood chips are bad, so I switched to paper towel based on their recommendation.
Ziggy, my Beardie, now scratches around his Viv to keep his claws down, which isn’t really ideal. It’s a 3ft x 2ft beach wood vivarium with a glass front, and two metal runners holding the glass in place. (There’s plenty pictures on the blog of him in it). He has a big stone feeding plate he can scratch as well as a stone water dish and a big wooden basking log/sleeping hide. But I’m looking for an alternative to the paper towel due to it being impossible to spot clean and so requiring me (a disabled person) to completely clean and replace the bedding every time he poops. Which of course I do (because the alternative is leaving it and that’s just not good), but as you can imagine it’s draining and time consuming and could be avoided with a loose substrate that could be spot cleaned, meaning I’d have to fully clean it less often.
Tile doesn’t sound like a better option, reading the above.
Locally I can get sand, aspen, reptile carpet, reptile bark, beach wood chips (large cut and small), and I think a type of reptile dirt? Not sure with that one as I only spotted it recently, in passing. I can ofc order online as long as I can get shipping to the UK.
I’d appreciate any advice on offer :)