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Thread: Aspen bedding

  1. #1
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    Aspen bedding

    So, I know that a lot of people don't like aspen bedding for ball pythons, and I understand the reasons. Because of the research I did before getting my snakes, I've kept both of my BP girls on a mix of coco husk and sphagnum moss since I got them (one in April, the other in May). But then I got my baby bullsnake last month, and got aspen bedding for him so he could dig, and I like it so much better! It looks nicer, it smells lovely and clean, and the kind I got is soft with quite small pieces. Totoro hasn't had any trouble with eating it when I feed him, which was one of the main concerns, and the other was humidity which honestly, the aspen stays damp much longer than the BP's substrate when I mist down their tubs (ETA: I live in Colorado, where keeping humidity high is an issue regardless of substrate). It's also much easier to find and clean out their poops, because they don't blend in with the coco husk. Plus, I HAVE had trouble with the girls swallowing the coco husk because it's so fine and sticks to their prey items like dirt. Once, Tonks even accidentally struck at the hot spot from her heat lamp instead of her mouse because of the heat signature, and we were both very traumatized by the mouthful of "dirt" she ended up with that I had to clean out for her (do not recommend!).

    What do you guys think about trying my BPs on aspen? I'm new enough at this to be unsure if aspen is just universally NONONO for ball pythons, or if it's more of a "do what works for you" kind of issue. I want to do what's best for my snakes so I'll stick with the coco/sphagnum if I have to, but I really just hate it and the aspen in the bullsnake tub is sooo much nicer.
    Last edited by OoohShiny; 10-14-2020 at 05:01 PM.

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Definitely a do what works for you thing.

    I'm one who doesn't care for aspen, I only use it for my Hognose, but it's simply personal preference.

    That being said, there's absolutely no reason you can't use it for your BPs. Do what works for you and your animals.
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    Re: Aspen bedding

    Thank you! I mean, the coco and moss is fine, it's just not as easy or as nice-looking as the aspen, not to mention the appearance of cleanliness, for me. I may switch the girls over and see how they do with it - they should be shedding in the next week or so.

    Honestly my only complaint about aspen is that my bullsnake is a false ghost, and one of the palest in his clutch at that, so he's REALLY hard to see when he's buried himself in it. I can't tell you how many times I've panicked, thinking he got out, when he was just digging holes!

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    Re: Aspen bedding

    I didn't know you could own bullsnakes in Colorado cuz they're a native species!!! If you don't mind me asking, where did you acquire him?! I'd love to own one in the future.

    That being said, as a fellow CO keeper, I understand the humidity struggles. I tried my bp on aspen when I first got her and found that it made humidity too difficult to control for me. I had a humidity box in her enclosure with damp sphagnum moss, but she hardly ever left it, so I decided to try something more moisture retaining. I definitely don't prefer the ecoearth style shredded husk, had some of the same problems, however when I upgraded my bp's enclosure, I switched her over to the chipped style, it's less fine and more like bark, so it doesn't stick to her food. I like it so far, as she's a bamboo and I think it looks nice and gives a nice contrast to her lighter coloration.


    The only thing that gives me pause with the aspen bedding is I've heard that it molds quite quickly when introduced to moisture. So that might be something to keep an eye on if you try it with your bps. Otherwise i say try it, can't hurt, and if you don't like it you can always switch back!

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    Re: Aspen bedding

    Quote Originally Posted by Southpaw91 View Post
    I didn't know you could own bullsnakes in Colorado cuz they're a native species!!! If you don't mind me asking, where did you acquire him?! I'd love to own one in the future.

    That being said, as a fellow CO keeper, I understand the humidity struggles. I tried my bp on aspen when I first got her and found that it made humidity too difficult to control for me. I had a humidity box in her enclosure with damp sphagnum moss, but she hardly ever left it, so I decided to try something more moisture retaining. I definitely don't prefer the ecoearth style shredded husk, had some of the same problems, however when I upgraded my bp's enclosure, I switched her over to the chipped style, it's less fine and more like bark, so it doesn't stick to her food. I like it so far, as she's a bamboo and I think it looks nice and gives a nice contrast to her lighter coloration.


    The only thing that gives me pause with the aspen bedding is I've heard that it molds quite quickly when introduced to moisture. So that might be something to keep an eye on if you try it with your bps. Otherwise i say try it, can't hurt, and if you don't like it you can always switch back!

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    Yep, they're legal here! I've had wild bullsnakes in my yard before (I live almost up into the mountains so we get lots of wildlife), they're just so impressive. Though Totoro looks nothing like those, being a baby and an almost pure white false ghost (I need to figure out how to post pics, he's sooo pretty).

    I got him from Snake Discovery, if you watch their Youtube channel he's one of the "expected" babies from the clutch that produced surprise snows this summer. I highly recommend them, their snakes are fantastic and their Youtube channel is so awesome, I was a fan for 2 years before I got this little guy. You do have to get on their waiting list, which they usually open on March 1st every year. I got lucky because I wasn't on the waiting list, but this clutch had a couple of babies with teeny kinks in their tails - you can't even see it unless you know where to look - and I had been in touch with Emily about something else so she offered me this little guy at a big discount.

    I'll probably try the chipped bark in the future, too, I do agree that from what I've seen, it seems to hold humidity much better than the EcoEarth stuff. I just have tons of aspen right now so I'm going to see how this works, first.

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    Re: Aspen bedding

    Quote Originally Posted by OoohShiny View Post
    So, I know that a lot of people don't like aspen bedding for ball pythons, and I understand the reasons. Because of the research I did before getting my snakes, I've kept both of my BP girls on a mix of coco husk and sphagnum moss since I got them (one in April, the other in May). But then I got my baby bullsnake last month, and got aspen bedding for him so he could dig, and I like it so much better! It looks nicer, it smells lovely and clean, and the kind I got is soft with quite small pieces. Totoro hasn't had any trouble with eating it when I feed him, which was one of the main concerns, and the other was humidity which honestly, the aspen stays damp much longer than the BP's substrate when I mist down their tubs (ETA: I live in Colorado, where keeping humidity high is an issue regardless of substrate). It's also much easier to find and clean out their poops, because they don't blend in with the coco husk. Plus, I HAVE had trouble with the girls swallowing the coco husk because it's so fine and sticks to their prey items like dirt. Once, Tonks even accidentally struck at the hot spot from her heat lamp instead of her mouse because of the heat signature, and we were both very traumatized by the mouthful of "dirt" she ended up with that I had to clean out for her (do not recommend!).

    What do you guys think about trying my BPs on aspen? I'm new enough at this to be unsure if aspen is just universally NONONO for ball pythons, or if it's more of a "do what works for you" kind of issue. I want to do what's best for my snakes so I'll stick with the coco/sphagnum if I have to, but I really just hate it and the aspen in the bullsnake tub is sooo much nicer.
    I wouldn't spray any water on the aspen. That stuff molds fast without water. I previously used aspen in tubs for a variety of snakes, including ball python. It works out because the tub already provided the constant humidity at 50-60% so I just needed some substrate that won't raise it higher than needed. And my ball python don't like wet/damp substrate. It would mold now and then. Sometimes it's hard to see the mold unless you dig around, smell it, or it is obvious, so being extra careful not to wet aspen was a pain too. Not to mention, there is a lot of dust which lots of people don't like. With that said, I like aspen. It does look nice, baby snakes seem to enjoy burrowing in it, it keeps humidity low for the snakes that need it, good at soaking up pee, and nice look for tanks. I don't use it anymore because of the cost and I found a cheaper, better alternative like coco husk. Currently there is low stock of coco husk or the price had gone up, so I'm temporarily using coco fiber, which works just as great both wet or dry (it can get dusty as well) which is still slightly cheaper than aspen.

    So to answer your question, do what works for you. Try different substrates. Some people like to make their own by mixing it with organic soil.

  9. #7
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    Aspen bedding

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesenugget View Post
    I wouldn't spray any water on the aspen. That stuff molds fast without water. I previously used aspen in tubs for a variety of snakes, including ball python. It works out because the tub already provided the constant humidity at 50-60% so I just needed some substrate that won't raise it higher than needed. And my ball python don't like wet/damp substrate. It would mold now and then. Sometimes it's hard to see the mold unless you dig around, smell it, or it is obvious, so being extra careful not to wet aspen was a pain too. Not to mention, there is a lot of dust which lots of people don't like. With that said, I like aspen. It does look nice, baby snakes seem to enjoy burrowing in it, it keeps humidity low for the snakes that need it, good at soaking up pee, and nice look for tanks. I don't use it anymore because of the cost and I found a cheaper, better alternative like coco husk. Currently there is low stock of coco husk or the price had gone up, so I'm temporarily using coco fiber, which works just as great both wet or dry (it can get dusty as well) which is still slightly cheaper than aspen.

    So to answer your question, do what works for you. Try different substrates. Some people like to make their own by mixing it with organic soil.
    Yes - I use just Orchid bark / Reptile bark but in the past Iíve mixed the above substrate with ecoEarth with great success ... Royals and BRBs



    Aspen is dreadful stuff in my view .. it looks fake and unnatural ,useless for holding moisture or controlling humidity plus it makes most snakes look insipid unless the snakes are very dark or black .



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    Last edited by Zincubus; 10-16-2020 at 11:24 AM.




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    Well, I did switch my younger BP, Tonks, to the aspen last night to see how she does. I chose her because she's more reactive to her environment than Ana Gwyn, who is happy under her water dish 99% of the time, and I wanted to see a reaction to the bedding.

    And I got one! Tonks was weirded out at first, she spent about an hour playing The Floor Is Lava - she stayed up high on her rock and the top of her hides, and would lean over to sniff the aspen, but she didn't want to touch it. The whole thing was pretty funny, actually. But this morning I caught her burrowing in it, so I gave her a bit more to dig in, and now she's all settled down and sleeping on her hide as usual (she's my weirdo who prefers to be out).

    I do think I'll try a few more beddings with the BPs before making a final decision, just to see if it helps keep humidity up in the BP tubs. And I would love to do bioactive enclosures someday - finances haven't allowed it but I start a new job next week making more money so I should be able to afford it soon. But I really like the aspen for the bullsnake, even though he's hard to see in it, and he spends hours and hours every day burrowing in it so I know he's happy.

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