Gecko is starting to be one of the popular reptile pets these days. Geckos have exotic skin patterns and colors, and they are easy to take care of! They are considered as beginner-friendly reptiles, especially the leopard geckos type because they are a slow mover and do not prone to bite.
Moreover, there are so many things that need to be prepared if we want to have geckos as our pet, from their diet plan, house, and their treatment. Speaking about preparing their home, one of the main problems about it’s to choose the right and ideal substrate for them. In this article, we will discuss it from the best option of substrate for your geckos until the types that you need to avoid. So let’s begin, shall we?
4 Ideal Substrates In Gecko Homes
1. Paper or Paper Towels
Paper towels might not be your first option for an attractive and natural-looking substrate for your geckos’ terrarium, but it is known to be the most popular one. You can use paper towel even for the under a year old gecko or juvenile gecko, sick gecko, until the adult one. Paper towel is safe for your little friend because it may not lead your gecko to have inhalation or ingestion problem, and it is also easy for you to clean and change it up. And undoubtedly it’s one of the cheapest options for a substrate. However, paper towel is not natural to your gecko’s native habitat. Your gecko cannot burrow in them so probably not every gecko would like to have this material as a substrate.
Unlike paper towels that are generally accepted as the safe option, there are some debates over the using of sand for substrate. Some people consider sand is unsafe because it has risk of ingestion or intentional issues to the geckos, especially for the juvenile geckos. Sand also may lead to respiratory problem to your gecko because of the grain and dust, bacteria, or mold from the wet sand. Some others still prefer to use sand as a substrate because sand is easy to scoop the waste out of it and it is appealing because it has more natural-looking for the terrarium rather than a paper towel, and your geckos can burrow their bodies in it just like in their native habitat!
The best recommendation about using the sand as a substrate is to only use this material for healthy adult geckos because they are less likely to ingest sand that may lead to health problem issues. Use calcium-based sand because it is safer than any other type of sand and choose the fine-grained one. When you try it for the first time, notice if there is any sign on your geckos like decrease in appetite or decrease in bowel movement. You can also notice if there is any lethargy or dark spot on your gecko’s abdomen as an indicator that your little friend is ingesting the sand or not. If yes, stop the using of the sand and go to the vet for immediate treatments.
3. Reptile Carpet and Tiles
Carpet can be the most ideal substrate for your geckos because not only it looks appealing to the terrarium but also safe for your gecko’s health. Just make sure the carpet is not too rough so it will not irritate your gecko’s skin. Carpet type is also don’t really need a lot of effort to take care of because you can clean it up by swapping, wiping, or washing the disinfected one out easily. The tiles option is also aesthetically pleasing and easy to clean just like the carpet one, but it is a little bit more pricey.
4. Prepackaged Reptile Bedding
Another convenient option is to choose prepackaged reptile bedding that you can easily find at pet stores. There are many varieties available for geckos. What you have to notice before you buy one is how big the particles or the pieces are. The small particles one might be ingested by your geckos which is something that you have to avoid. The large pieces can also hurt your geckos. So do the crushed shells and the dirt mix and wood chips type come with their own concerns and risks. So choosing the suitable prepackaged bedding materials that suit your gecko’s condition can be tricky.
That is all about the suitable one. Moreover, another thing that is worth to know is the type of substrate materials that need to avoid because these materials may be harmful to your geckos. Those are:
Never use pebbles for your gecko’s substrate. It might look cool to the terrarium because it has natural-looking and it is good for burrowing too, but many risks come with it. The pebbles can hurt your gecko’s teeth. Large-sized pebbles even can kill your gecko if it accidentally ingested!
- Sphagnum moss
Do not fill the whole gecko’s tank with sphagnum moss or vermiculite. Again, this type of material does look good in the terrarium, but remember that your gecko’s home does not need a high level of humidity. Moss, as we know, can increase the moisture in the terrarium or vivarium. If you want to use it, you can use it no more than for its hide and shedding box.
- Artificial turf
Artificial turf is not the same material with reptile carpet because it made of small plastic fibers which have the risk to be ingested by your geckos. So try to avoid this option and choose the carpet instead if you want a similar one!
That is all the ideal substrate options that you can choose for your gecko’s home and also the ones that you have to avoid. The option can be suitable for some but not for the other which is acceptable because it all depends on your gecko’s ages, size, and health condition. Good luck take care of your little friend!