The 5 Best Tortoise Beddings & Substrates (2023)

Many tortoise owners often overlook the importance of providing the right bedding and substrates for their pets. It’s essential to create the best environment possible for your tortoise to ensure they live a healthy and happy life. From providing a healthy environment to encouraging natural behaviors, the substrate can be an essential part of a tortoise’s habitat.

In this article, I’ll discuss the best types of bedding and substrates for your tortoise and give some helpful tips to make sure your tortoise is comfortable and safe in their habitat.

Top Picks for the Best Tortoise Substrates

7 Best Tortoise Beddings and Substrates

#1. Best Overall: Exo Terra Forest Plume Moss

This tortoise substrate is perfect for creating a tropical terrarium habitat. With its real compressed moss, you can provide your pet with an all-natural environment that replicates their natural home.

It needs rehydrating before use and helps quickly increase the atmosphere’s humidity. It also lasts longer and requires little maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about constantly replenishing substrate when maintaining your tortoise terrarium.

#2. Editor’s Choice: Zoo Med Natural Tortoise Bedding

This natural substrate will last up to one year in a terrarium, making it an ideal substrate for captive tortoises. Zoo Med Reptile Bedding is not just longer-lasting; it also excels at absorbency.

It’s also easy to spot clean when messes occur, so you won’t have any hassle ensuring your reptile stays cozy and comfortable! Plus its natural fir bark scent gives your pet’s habitat an added layer of comfort.

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#3. Best Value: Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber Substrate

This Compressed Coconut Fiber is the perfect tortoise substrate for eco-conscious pet parents who want to make sure their pet’s environment stays clean and green. Not only does this product help regulate humidity from burrowing, but it’s biodegradable nature makes it an ideal choice for a fully sustainable habitat. Your tortoise will never have to worry about its living space becoming toxic or land filled!

This substrate contains three compressed bricks. Each brick expands 7 to 8 liters when soaked in water, so it’s great value for money. Plus, coconut fiber provides essential benefits like buffering PH levels, improving humidity retention, and reducing odor levels.

#4. Zoo Med Eco Reptile Carpet

This two-pack of Eco Reptile bedding is perfect for any tortoise owner who strives to reduce their environmental impact. With each carpet measuring 10″ x 20″, they’re made entirely from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic ensuring a natural, eco-friendly material that your tortoise will love.

The carpet provides a soft and comfortable surface your tortoises can sprawl out on without any worries of skin abrasions. Its absorbent material ensures that messes don’t linger in their living space either of which could otherwise cause health issues to your reptilian friend.

It is designed with washable, easy-to-clean materials making it extremely effortless to keep your tortoise enclosure hygienic and smelling fresh.

#5. Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding

Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding provides a natural, stay-fresh moisture environment for your pet tortoise. Made from 100% natural cypress mulch, it effectively retains the ideal amount of moisture to keep your pet comfortable and healthy. Additionally, its soft texture also helps protect sensitive skin and shells!

The forest floor is the perfect bedding for tortoises’ burrowing needs. However, due to its moisture-retaining ability, it can make cleaning a bit difficult.

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Substrate and Bedding for Your Tortoise?

To help make your decision-making process easier, I’ve put together a buyer’s guide that will provide you with all the information you need to choose the perfect bedding or substrate for your tortoise.

Types of Substrate

Different tortoises have different needs, so it’s important to do some research and consult with an experienced veterinarian to determine the best choice for your pet. Here’s a look at some of the most common types of bedding and substrates used in tortoise enclosures:

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The most common type is soil-based, which is usually made from potting soil, peat moss, or vermiculite. This type of bedding or substrate is easy to maintain and provides a comfortable and safe environment for your pet.

Coconut Fiber

Coconut fiber is a great alternative to sod for bedding and substrate. It’s absorbent, and it provides additional insulation and comfort for your tortoise. Coconut fiber is also very affordable and easy to clean.

Wood Shavings

Wood shavings are a great way to provide insulation and cushioning for your tortoise. They’re also very affordable and easy to clean. Be sure to choose non-aromatic wood shavings, as some aromatic shavings can be toxic to your tortoise.

Reptile Carpet

Reptile carpet is a relatively new type of bedding and substrate for tortoises. It’s made from a variety of materials, including recycled plastic, and it’s designed to be easy to clean and maintain. It’s also available in a variety of colors, so it can be customized to fit the look of your enclosure.

Thickness of Substrate

Tortoises are known for their digging activities, so it is important to consider substrate thickness when creating a tortoise enclosure. As a general rule of thumb, the substrate should be at least two inches deep in order to allow your tortoise enough space to dig and move around. It also helps keep the temperature and humidity levels consistent throughout the enclosure, which is essential for keeping your pet healthy.

Be sure to measure the area where your tortoise will be living to make sure you purchase the correct size and thickness for your pet.

How Often Should I Change the Tortoise Substrate?

The frequency of substrate replacement for a tortoise is dependent upon the type of substrate used, the size of the enclosure, and the size and species of the animal. It is important to conduct regular inspections of the substrate to assess its condition and replace it when necessary. However, it is recommended that substrates be changed at least once per month for smaller tortoises in smaller enclosures, while larger reptiles in larger enclosures may require more frequent changes.

Moreover, the type of substrate used should also factor into the frequency of changes as certain substrates may deteriorate rapidly due to exposure to moisture or other environmental factors.

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Tips to Make Your Tortoise Comfortable and Safe in Their Habitat

To make sure your beloved tortoise is at its best, there are a few tips that you should follow:

Provide a Safe Habitat

First and foremost, it is important to provide a safe habitat for your tortoise. This should include an area that is free of any potential dangers or hazards. Make sure to also provide plenty of hiding places, so your tortoise can feel secure. You should also ensure that your tortoise has easy access to water and a wide variety of food sources.

Keep the Temperature and Humidity Right

Temperature and humidity are very important for the health of your tortoise. Make sure the temperature stays between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity should be between 50 and 70 percent. If the temperature is too hot, you can use a fan to help cool the area down. To improve the humidity, you can mist the area with water regularly.

Provide Suitable Substrates

The substrate of your tortoise’s habitat is also very important. The ideal substrate should be absorbent, easy to clean and change, and offer a good grip for the tortoise. Options include bark chips, soil, paper towels, and cypress mulch.

Keep the Habitat Clean

As with any pet, it is important to keep your tortoise’s habitat clean. You should clean the substrate regularly, as well as any dishes and accessories. This will help to ensure your tortoise’s health and prevent the spread of bacteria or parasites.

Provide Proper Lighting

Your tortoise will also need proper lighting in order to thrive. Make sure to provide both UV-A and UV-B lighting, as well as a basking spot. You can also provide other forms of lighting, such as heat lamps, depending on the needs of your pet.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your tortoise is safe and comfortable in its habitat.