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  1. #1
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    What substrate should I use?

    Hello!

    I'm setting up a ball python encloser and need everyone's opinion on what substrate I should use.

    Question: What substrate do you use for your ball python and why?

    Thank you, everybody!

  2. #2
    Registered User SDA's Avatar
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    Not sand, repticarpet, or aspen. Aspen in itself is fine but since most people owning a ball python for the first time get the petsmart glass tank hobby kit, aspen can be a little dry to keep humidity up.

    Your best choices are cypress mulch or coconut fiber. Zoomed, Zilla, and Reptile Prime are the three popular sellers of these items. Zoomed and Zilla can usually be bought at petco or petsmart.
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    Re: What substrate should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by SDA View Post
    Not sand, repticarpet, or aspen. Aspen in itself is fine but since most people owning a ball python for the first time get the petsmart glass tank hobby kit, aspen can be a little dry to keep humidity up.

    Your best choices are cypress mulch or coconut fiber. Zoomed, Zilla, and Reptile Prime are the three popular sellers of these items. Zoomed and Zilla can usually be bought at petco or petsmart.
    Okay, I'm kind of leaning towards Coconut Fiber. We'll see.

  4. #4
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    I use Coco Coir Chip it's soft and allows to maintain proper humidity, and newspaper (newspaper is only used for animals being paired to avoid pieces of substrate to lodge themselves where they should not)

    It's not about what people use it's about what works for YOUR setup so it depends on the type of enclosure, type of heat, where you live (dry versus humid area etc)

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  6. #5
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    Re: What substrate should I use?

    It's not about what people use it's about what works for YOUR setup so it depends on the type of enclosure, type of heat, where you live (dry versus humid area etc)[/QUOTE]

    That makes sense, great point, thank you.

  7. #6
    BPnet Veteran cchardwick's Avatar
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    Well I know quite a few people that are still trying to find the perfect substrate after keeping ball pythons for years. I'm using ARS tubs, I actually started out with Aspen until I found that it tends to mold and I had problems with it getting stuck in a snakes mouth after feeding. Then I tried newspaper but it got my white snakes dirty and I've found that shredded newspaper is toxic to my rodents, so I stay away from it. Some people use unprinted newspaper but I haven't tried it.

    Then I changed out everything to Reptichip which is coconut husk chips. I tried the fiber but I don't like it. I've since switched to Prococo, it's the same as Reptichip but I can buy it in bulk on pallets. I think it's by far the best substrate I've tried but it still has it's drawbacks, some people get too much humidity, others have to spray it a lot to keep it moist. Some of my snakes still get some in their mouth when feeding and when it gets in the water it turns it into a brown 'tea'.

    I'm actually now considering going to 'Retpi-Zorb' and just ordered my first batch to try it out, it's basically a thick felt paper that is custom cut to fit my ARS tubs. I've even seen people spray it down a bit with water right before a snake sheds to help with humidity. I like the idea of something similar to paper towels but that is stiff and won't get bunched up and is more adsorbent than just paper towels. I also like that it's white and I can easily spot a mess, it won't get stuck in a snakes mouth and it won't get the water dirty. Once I use it for a bit I'll post a review on this site.

    I've seen some big breeders like BHB use cypress mulch for years, they have since switched to using all paper, looks kind of like butcher paper. Not sure I'm a fan of going that route. I've tried cypress mulch for my rodents and it's the best one out there for keeping the smell down but it's pretty expensive compared to other options. I think it would be a good option for ball pythons.

    To find the perfect substrate I think you need to fly out to Africa and get some dirt from under a termite mound LOL!
    Last edited by cchardwick; 04-16-2018 at 03:03 PM.

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  9. #7
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    I use a blend of Eco Earth and Repti-bark. It's worked well for me for a while now. I tend to adjust the ratio a bit seasonally, but typically I just mix some up until it looks how I want it. It holds humidity well, has never caused any issues with my snakes and I like the look of it.
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  10. #8
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    Re: What substrate should I use?

    Some of us Kraft/Butcher Paper in PVC enclosures. Its easy to clean and cheap. I never have to worry about mold, bacteria etc.. However if its a Glass Tank with a screen it will be hard to keep humidity period so most people with tanks use kinds of wood mulch substrate. If you still want to use Paper with a glass tank you'll have to cover the screened lid and use Moss in a hide for humidity so your snake sheds properly.


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  11. #9
    BPnet Senior Member Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: What substrate should I use?

    Orchid bark for all my snakes apart from the MKB .. I


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  12. #10
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    Re: What substrate should I use?

    Quote Originally Posted by cchardwick View Post
    Well I know quite a few people that are still trying to find the perfect substrate after keeping ball pythons for years. I'm using ARS tubs, I actually started out with Aspen until I found that it tends to mold and I had problems with it getting stuck in a snakes mouth after feeding. Then I tried newspaper but it got my white snakes dirty and I've found that shredded newspaper is toxic to my rodents, so I stay away from it. Some people use unprinted newspaper but I haven't tried it.

    Then I changed out everything to Reptichip which is coconut husk chips. I tried the fiber but I don't like it. I've since switched to Prococo, it's the same as Reptichip but I can buy it in bulk on pallets. I think it's by far the best substrate I've tried but it still has it's drawbacks, some people get too much humidity, others have to spray it a lot to keep it moist. Some of my snakes still get some in their mouth when feeding and when it gets in the water it turns it into a brown 'tea'.

    I'm actually now considering going to 'Retpi-Zorb' and just ordered my first batch to try it out, it's basically a thick felt paper that is custom cut to fit my ARS tubs. I've even seen people spray it down a bit with water right before a snake sheds to help with humidity. I like the idea of something similar to paper towels but that is stiff and won't get bunched up and is more adsorbent than just paper towels. I also like that it's white and I can easily spot a mess, it won't get stuck in a snakes mouth and it won't get the water dirty. Once I use it for a bit I'll post a review on this site.

    I've seen some big breeders like BHB use cypress mulch for years, they have since switched to using all paper, looks kind of like butcher paper. Not sure I'm a fan of going that route. I've tried cypress mulch for my rodents and it's the best one out there for keeping the smell down but it's pretty expensive compared to other options. I think it would be a good option for ball pythons.

    To find the perfect substrate I think you need to fly out to Africa and get some dirt from under a termite mound LOL!
    Thank you so much!

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