The Substrate is one of the more crucial elements in your pogona habitat. It plays an important role in the overall health of your dragon.
It’s what lines the floor of your cage or tank. As that , it need to be considered as the first line of hygiene. it can also add to the visual effect of the vivarium.
One of the biggest mistakes a new Bearded dragon owner makes is lining the habitat with a dangerous substratum.
What makes a dangerous Liner? The size or the granulates, artificial colors and fumes. It should also be easy to clean or replace.
The possible choices range from “Pink Coco husks” to sheets of newspaper. Lets go over a few options. They are arranged from worst to best choice order.
Bark, Mulch, Nut Shells, Cork Cubes or Chunks, Coco Husks or mixes containing any of these products make a poor substrate
The chances of your bearded dragon ingesting a piece of substrate is very high. If a bit of any of these product were ingested, Impaction is highly possible. Impaction is a disease that will likely lead to death.
Fumes or odors may emanate from these products. Although they may seem very light to you. In your bearded dragons habitat , it can lead to suffocation.
Pebbles or Gravel are also bad choices
Although most reptile gravel or pebbles come in larger sizes, there still is a risk of impaction. There is also a chance of mouth injury.
Mouth injuries can cause mouth rot. This is a condition that will need medical attention and medication. The medication itself also brings along health risks. Avoid these as well
A better choice of substratum, assuming it’s not colored. Sand with artificial dyes can cause harm and discolor your dragon.
Sand works well as liner. It is very easy to maintain when used with a scooper. Your adult dragon will love playing in it. It also mimics the dragons natural habitat.
Health concerns with a sand substrate mostly affect Baby Bearded Dragons. Avoid sand when dealing with baby pogona.
They will be coated in it. Chance’s of ingesting sand is high, which can lead to impaction. Sand if not properly maintained can hold excessive moisture.
Cage liner, Tile, Newspaper and Reptile Carpet
Best for baby pogona. Easy to clean and replace if needed. Almost no chance of accidental ingestion. Safest and most sanitary substrate.
When your Bearded dragon gets older (9+ months), this may be a boring option.
Reptile Natural Calcium Sand Substrate
Probably the best Substrate option for bearded dragons. A natural liner that mimics the pogona natural habitat. Most are available in a soluble form of Calcium Carbonate that may not cause impaction.
Granules are very small, and soft. Should not scratch or injure. Ingestion of this product may also have the added benefit of supplementation.
Prices are reasonable but more than regular sand.
Clean up is as simple as using sand scooper. Calcium will clump when wet or moist.
For Baby pogona, this may be an option. But Tile, newspaper and liner is still the safest substratum.
Please take all considerations when picking a Substrate. You want to do the best to mimic the pogonas habitat, without safety risks.
Remember it needs to be safe, Easy to clean, maintain and replace when needed. With the right knowledge there is no reason your dragon can’t live a long healthy life.