Best Bedding for Lizards? (Soil checked out)

Lizards can make excellent pets and are probably the most popular reptiles preferred as pets. They don’t carry the innate fear that snakes cause in some people, making them ideal for petting. Therefore, when petting a lizard, it is important to make sure that they are living in great conditions.

So, what soil is safe for lizards? Organic potting soil that is free of any fertilizers and chemicals is safe for lizards. Lizards tend to explore their surroundings and could end up consuming components of substrate soil. This is why organic potting soil that isn’t contaminated is a safe option for lizards. lt is also free of perlite that could pose danger to your pet lizard.

One way of creating a good living environment for your pet lizard is using soil as its main substrate. Therefore, you may wonder if it is safe to use potting or topsoil for your lizard’s habitat.

Potting soils create a comfortable environment for lizards thanks to their soft texture. On the other hand, topsoil can be toxic to your pet lizard. This is because it contains impurities that can be harmful to lizards.

Furthermore, it holds a lot of water, meaning it will be moist for a long time, not good conditions for a lizard. Topsoil also contains a lot of dirt that could possibly cause infections to your pet lizard. Therefore, between them, you should use potting soil which is safer and more comfortable.

There are also other soil options you can consider using as substrates. Some of them include:

  • aquarium soil
  • sand
  • native soil
  • perlite or vermiculite

These options are discussed in detail in this article.

Aquarium Soil

Aquarium soil is regular soil that has undergone baking to produce dry pellets. It is an ideal option for your pet lizard because it has all the necessary features for a safe and comfortable environment. The pellets are round, meaning they don’t pack together in regular shape.

They are also durable and will resist compaction for several years. In recent years, aquarium soil has become popular due to the fact that it can be used as a substrate on its own. This type of soil doesn’t retain a lot of water, making it comfortable for highly hydrated lizards.


You can opt for reptile sand that is readily available in most commercial pet stores. You can also consider playground sand that can be purchased from a nearby pet store. Sand is generally aesthetically appealing. It comes in different colors, making your pet lizard cage looking colorful and attractive. Its soft texture makes it a comfortable substrate for your lizard.

Native Soil

You can opt for native soil from your local area. However, this is a gamble because you don’t know its composition. Native soil comes with a lot of mysterious factors and could carry disease, rot, or pests. This is why you need to sort out the native soil and get rid of any visible impurities. You should also try to make it as soft as possible for a more comfortable substrate.

Perlite or Vermiculite

Both of these substrates are good for pet lizards. They can be added to native soil to make it more comfortable. They are also unconventional and can fail to work properly when used to line cage bottoms.

Furthermore, they create excellent moisture conditions due to their ability to retain and absorb water. Perlite is commonly used as a substrate for exotic pets due to its ability to maintain humidity and moisture.

Other than Soil, What Are the Ideal Substrates for Lizards?

When creating a home for your lizard, one of the important aspects you should consider is the substrate. Just like you wouldn’t want to live in a house with poor flooring, lizards also prefer better conditions. They need a good substrate to thrive and live longer.

Wood, Alfalfa pellets, reptile carpets, and paper towels are other ideal substrates for lizards. Comfort and safety are what make a good substrate. Keep in mind that there are different types of substrates for all types of animals. Substrates help keep the cages clean and make them easier to clean up. With them, you will easily spot and collect waste, shed skin, and other discharges. Substrates will also make your pet lizard feel at home and unstressed in the new environment.

Therefore, understanding what makes a good substrate for your pet lizard is crucial for its comfort. Here are some of the other substrate options you can consider for your pet lizard.


Substrates made of wood must be broken down into shavings, chips, or pellets. A common example of a wood substrate is Aspen. Wood substrates can also be made out of pine, cypress, and cedar. You can get wood substrates from any pet store near you.

Furthermore, you don’t have to drive far to have access to the common types of wood substrates. Many types of wood substrates can be good bedding for lizards who mostly prefer dryer environments. It is also an excellent option for pet reptiles who don’t need high levels of humidity within their space.

You can also easily clean them because wood shavings, chips, and pellets can be spotted easily. In addition, when the lizard discharges waste, it stays put and cannot be aggregated or dragged throughout the cage. Therefore, you will use less time and effort to tidy up.

Paper Towels/Newspaper

Newspapers and paper towels are also excellent picks for lizard substrates. Both of these products are readily available in most households. It is also a good way of recycling old pieces of paper that could have affected the environment. What makes paper towels and newspapers good options is that they are very sanitary.

You can also replace them quickly when they are soiled or become dirty. These products, particularly paper towels, can be used for multiple purposes when petting lizards. For instance, you can easily shred them and make them a fluffy substrate for your pet lizard. They are also more comfortable than wood substrates due to their softness.

Thanks to the content and texture of both paper towels and newspapers, you don’t have to worry about your pet lizard accidentally consuming them while eating. This means you don’t have to move your pet lizard during the feeding sessions or stress about impaction.

Reptile Carpet

A reptile carpet is exactly what it sounds like. In most cases, reptile carpets come packed in a roll and tend to have a soft texture. These carpets are nifty miniature liners for your pet lizard’s cage, and they come in different colors. Furthermore, the carpets are washable, meaning you can re-use them and don’t have to buy another substrate when they get dirty. Reptile carpets come in sizes that are pre-designed for specific cage sizes.

However, you can customize the carpet to fit the size of your pet lizard’s cage. The carpets are multi-purpose due to their flexible features. When using reptile carpets, you don’t have to worry about your lizard accidentally ingesting the substrate. This is because they have no small bits or loose pieces that lizards or other reptiles can eat.

Alfalfa Pellets

These are compact little pellets that are made of alfalfa hay, compressed into tiny cylindrical bits. They are absorbent and dry and generally work well for lizards, iguanas, and other pet reptiles. Thanks to their absorbent nature, the waste products of your pet lizard will be kept in a single spot.

They can also be easily cleaned up with little hassle or mess. Furthermore, pellets are biodegradable and have built-in odor control. Given that they are made from natural plant fibers, pellets are safe in case your pet lizard accidentally ingests them.

How Do You Care for a Pet Lizard?

When you have a pet lizard, you will want to make their everyday life as comfortable and exciting as possible. You will also want to keep the pet healthy. But, how do you care for a pet lizard?

You can provide the best care to your pet lizard by ensuring that its living space is clean and free from any contaminants. You should also feed it regularly for better health. To make sure that you have got everything under control when it comes to providing care for your pet lizard, below are some quick tips to guide you.


The first step to providing good care for your lizard is providing a spacious living room. Space is very important for the comfort of your pet lizard. You shouldn’t choose a tiny space that looks like a lunch box, instead, go for a spacious one that will give your lizard the freedom it needs. Furthermore, the living space should be made of high-quality materials that are safe and secure. Lizards are very inquisitive animals and can easily get through loose cages.

It is also recommended that you use a cage with proper lighting. Lizards don’t thrive well in dark areas and it is crucial that you light up their living spaces. For safety purposes, don’t house many lizards in a single area. As much as they like socializing, lizards prefer spending most of their time alone. This is why you should get sufficient space for each one of them.


Lizards need appropriate levels of humidity for comfort. The best way to provide these conditions is by spraying the cage or using a reptile mister twice or more per day. When spraying, you should remove the water bowl from the cage to avoid contamination. Lizards are highly allergic to chemicals and could suffer significant damage when exposed to them.

Lighting and Heat

Heat and lighting are crucial for your lizard’s health and comfort because they are cold-blooded. These reptiles need UV rays, heat, and natural lighting cycles to function properly. Lizards also absorb calcium and obtain vitamin D3 through exposure to sunlight.

This means that your pet lizard needs the sun. This is necessary especially if you have young lizards. You might also choose to provide such levels of heat and light by using under-tank heaters, UVA light bulbs, and a ceramic heat emitter.

Know Its Nutritional Needs

Most reptiles need fresh food. Therefore, depending on the type of lizard you have, you should provide nutritious foods for them. Some lizards prefer mice and mealworms while others need a diet that comprises vegetables and fresh fruits. Dubai roaches are also an excellent addition to your pet lizard’s diet. These roaches are easy to care for and breed, making them an excellent option. They also provide your pet with nutrients like proteins which are vital for its health.

Even though there are commercial lizard foods on market, it is highly recommended that you avoid them and get fresh foods instead. You can also choose to use roach jelly for your pet lizard. Roach jelly is a reliable way of getting extra nutrients for your lizard.

Handle Your Lizard with Confidence

Whether you are petting your first lizard or have had experience with them before, handling it with confidence is vital for a healthy and successful relationship with it. When you are confident with how you handle your pet, it makes it get comfortable around you. However, if you are timid, you show uncomfortable body language and the lizard will sense it.

If a particular type of lizard makes you uncomfortable, you shouldn’t pick it as a pet. Luckily, there are different types of lizards you can choose from. Therefore, use your pet ownership choices to choose a lizard you are comfortable with.

Always Ensure Your Hands are Clean

Lizards and other reptiles have excellent sensory organs. This means they can sense even the faintest scents. Therefore, if your hand has a scent of prey on it, your lizard can mistake it for a source of food. This underlines the importance of always washing your hands after handling anything you provide as food for your pet.

This will prevent it from mistaking your hands for food. Keeping your hands clean will also prevent spreading germs to your pet lizard. Your hands could contain contaminants that cause infections.

Wrap Up

Lizards can make excellent pets; therefore, to take good care of them, you will need comfortable substrates. One of the reliable soils you can use as substrates includes organic potting soil. This is the safest and most comfortable soil for pet lizards. This is because it is clean and doesn’t contain any chemicals that can harm your pet lizard.

Apart from organic potting soil, there are substrates you can opt for. Some of them include wood substrates, paper towels or newspapers, reptile carpets, and Alfalfa pellets. Taking good care of your pet lizard is also important. Always ensure that the lizard has enough space, sufficient lighting, and appropriate levels of humidity. Importantly, always wash your hands to avoid causing infections to your pet lizard.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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