Sand or Mulch

Discuss substrates, lighting, heating, enclosure building ideas, share enclosure photos, and talk about any other enclosure-related topics.

Sand or Mulch

Postby eeaston16 » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:47 am

So, as you may have seen in previous posts of mine, i am redoing my bearded dragons enclosure because I personally do not like the reptile carpet at all!

So before you guys start being rude in the comments and bashing me, I will not be using sand in all of the enclosure, probably only in one section. I find that the comments on the beardie eating sand/bedding, are a little dramatic considering that many other animals live on that type of bedding all the time. Also, bearded dragons are intelligent and I don't think they will just eat something cause they are bored.

Now, I am not going to use shelf lining or tile, because it is not at all natural to them, and it is slippery and in my eyes it is not correct to put a beardie on a surface like that.

I want to have maybe mulch in his enclosure, or some other bedding like that. I was also thinking maybe putting large rocks in his enclosure for his basking area. What bedding would you recommend or any other ideas for a substrate?

Thank you!
Lover of all Animals
13-month-old BD - Grimsby -40 Gallon Exo- Tera Home
R.I.P Rue- Rescue BD - age was 6 weeks.
*Check out my website - http://www.houseofmanytails.com where I post about animal care and things not commonly talked about amongst animal lovers
*Check out my etsy page - http://www.etsy.com/shop/LagomSoaps
eeaston16
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:17 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby VenusAndSaturn » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:02 pm

I really wouldn't do either, both are unnatural and unsafe for them. If you want to provide a spot for digging then you can do coco fiber, this is a tiny bit less dangerous than the other two but still, pose large risks. You could also do a bioactive enclosure which would probably be best if you want a loose substrate since the clean up crew will keep the bad bacteria in check... downside is you need at least a 4x2x4 for it to work properly.


Also just because many other animals live on that bedding all the time does not mean beardies can. They have vastly different needs compared to those other animals.

Just a tip nothing in captivity is natural.
The beardies in captivity are so weak they can not live properly on most loose substrates without it posing tons of risks to their health. Also if you were to get the correct tile it won't be slippery. Rough slate tile is a more natural texture to their natural environment compared to sand or mulch.
1.2.0 CBD, Saturn 27 Months, Venus 27 Months, Neptune 16 Months.
0.0.1 IBTS, Turtle 14 Months. 0.1.0 BP, Spice 11 Months.
0.1.0 LG, Delilah 12 Months. 0.1.0 Ultra Purple Tegu, Oreo 10 months.
-Former scaley family members-
1.0.1 CBD, Lilly (died due to impaction, 1-2 months), Lola (Originally thought to be female, 5-10+ years, possibly died of impaction)
VenusAndSaturn
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 1441
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:13 am

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby budzoboy » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:10 pm

[Click image to enlarge]

this is mine....washed play sand below, I built a 3" high platform
and placed a 12 x 18 tile on it.
food and water are both off the sand area
water dish removed later, as she kept dragging it off the platform!
budzoboy
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:00 am
Location: Pittsburgh, Pa.

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby HippieLizards » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:05 pm

Neither. Sand is the absolute worst. and Here's why:

Particle substrates can cause:
>Particle substrates harbor bacteria and sometimes fungus spores,
>It has a risk of impaction,
>It's very hard to spot clean,
>It smells,
>and it can stain the skin on beardies,
>Prolapses,
>Joint issues,
> provides a place for tons of bacteria to breed,
>so not very clean even if you do spot clean it,
>it can cause scale rot sometimes,
>it also can cause fungal infections. And of course death.

There's about a billion other reasons why not to use particle substrates but these are some of the biggest issues.

Unlike a Tegu, or a Blue Tongue Skink, or anything like those species that can be kept on particle substrates, beardies can’t because they are so prone to these things. Those other species are generally on correct substrates as well, which sand isn't very good for any type of animal and lots of people almost always assume desert equals a sand filled wasteland.

Good substrates are:

>Slate tile,
>Carpet (but make sure there is no loose threads which could wrap around a toe and cut off circulation),
>Paper towels,
>Newsprint,
>and Even Linoleum.

These are good examples of a good substrate and setup: [Click image to enlarge]
[Click image to enlarge]
(in this picture you can't see the UVB but it is rigged underneath the screen) [Click image to enlarge]
.

Sorry for the long post, :D

-HippieLizards.
Last edited by HippieLizards on Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
Slave to three Beardies, one Crested gecko, a Ball Python, and a Cat. (R.I.P Thor, You will always be in our hearts).[Click image to enlarge]
User avatar
HippieLizards
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:03 am
Location: Earth.

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby HippieLizards » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:08 pm

budzoboy wrote:[Click image to enlarge]

this is mine....washed play sand below, I built a 3" high platform
and placed a 12 x 18 tile on it.
food and water are both off the sand area
water dish removed later, as she kept dragging it off the platform!
and Budzoboy I'd highly recommend you get your beardie off that sand and onto a non particle substrate like I mentioned. Putting him/her on sand is a very big risk.

I Would also recommend maybe getting a larger tank for your beardie like a 4x2x2 tank. I Just upgraded my beardie from a tank the size of your to a 4x2x2 and he's been loving it.
Slave to three Beardies, one Crested gecko, a Ball Python, and a Cat. (R.I.P Thor, You will always be in our hearts).[Click image to enlarge]
User avatar
HippieLizards
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:03 am
Location: Earth.

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:08 pm

Neither are really suitable for a bearded dragon.

Though if you really insist , some here (in Australia) claim dry screened PLAYSAND works , best to avoid any substrate that can be ingested and that can not be kept hygenic and clean at all times (this eliminates the use of all particulate substrates).
CBDs: Puff (RIP 10Dec2015 @ 3.2 yrs old (aneurism)),Rex (RIP 16Mar2017 @ 4.6 yrs old,Toothless(sudden unexplained death RIP 26Nov2017) @ 2.1 yrs old.Peppa (born 15Nov2015).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : Lucky (wild juvenile), cat attack rescue, fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.Wriggles (rescued injured),thought she was a big lizard, 7-8 yrs old, died in her sleep, RIP 2Feb2016). Fluffy rescued 14Nov2017 about 4 yrs old .
kingofnobbys
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 8806
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby Taterbug » Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:07 pm

I think I’m one of the few on this board who support loose substrate; just not all of them. I have been using a bioactive substrate for my dragon for 4+ years. I wouldn’t use tile or a solid substrate unless he was ill and I wouldn't use sand either.

Bearded dragons are not especially prone to impaction or any of the other maladies attributed to loose substrate. They are prone to poor standards of care that lead to those maladies. I sincerely doubt it is a matter of captive population generics either - but that does make people feel better rather than the fact that small cages and inadequate light/nutritional provision is to blame...

Before you choose a loose substrate your husbandry needs to be exceptional. Lighting, nutrition, space and enrichment are huge factors in health and a healthy dragon is much more robust than a compromised one.

Bioactive is totally possible in smaller enclosures but dragons are relatively large and semi-arboreal Lizards. A 4x2x2 is the minimum enclosure size, though bigger is better and vertical space will be used if furnished right. For a dragon I found a 4x2x2 was too short for practicalities sake (no climbing space) not from a bioactive being functional perspective.

Beardies are smarter than many give them credit for but intentional substrate ingestion is a thing, especially so with nutritionally deficient or mentally unstimulated animals.

Substrate is a small part of husbandry. There isn’t an easy out though, if you want a loose substrate.
User avatar
Taterbug
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 5739
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:13 am
Location: Central Ohio

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby Brittany26 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:32 pm

Taterbug wrote:I think I’m one of the few on this board who support loose substrate; just not all of them. I have been using a bioactive substrate for my dragon for 4+ years. I wouldn’t use tile or a solid substrate unless he was ill and I wouldn't use sand either.

Bearded dragons are not especially prone to impaction or any of the other maladies attributed to loose substrate. They are prone to poor standards of care that lead to those maladies. I sincerely doubt it is a matter of captive population generics either - but that does make people feel better rather than the fact that small cages and inadequate light/nutritional provision is to blame...

Before you choose a loose substrate your husbandry needs to be exceptional. Lighting, nutrition, space and enrichment are huge factors in health and a healthy dragon is much more robust than a compromised one.

Bioactive is totally possible in smaller enclosures but dragons are relatively large and semi-arboreal Lizards. A 4x2x2 is the minimum enclosure size, though bigger is better and vertical space will be used if furnished right. For a dragon I found a 4x2x2 was too short for practicalities sake (no climbing space) not from a bioactive being functional perspective.

Beardies are smarter than many give them credit for but intentional substrate ingestion is a thing, especially so with nutritionally deficient or mentally unstimulated animals.

Substrate is a small part of husbandry. There isn’t an easy out though, if you want a loose substrate.


It doesn't really matter if they're healthy or not, read this forum post go to page 2 and read what I wrote, I used a source.
viewtopic.php?f=34&t=241561&p=1849291&hilit=brittany26#p1849291

Maybe you're just lucky and that's great
Brittany26
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:50 am
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby Taterbug » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:50 am

Health absolutely makes a difference. The source you shared makes that very point.
Due to the high occurrence of endoparasitism, skin diseases and metabolic bone diseases in this present study, regular veterinary controls in bearded dragons including parasitological faecal examinations and optimisation of feeding and housing are necessary to improve the standard of health of bearded dragons kept as pet lizards in Europe.


I can only find the abstract for that article, do you have a link or can you share the pdf? The abstract doesn't give any details about the care these animals received prior to being patients at the clinic... however animals don't develop conditions like MBD out of no where, this isn't a disease seen in wild reptiles. it is 100% husbandry. Reptiles, more so than cats and dogs, don't usually get regular vet care and when they do its when there is a serious problem. That alone will skew the numbers.

Impaction/Constipation are more likely to be symptoms of other health issues than exclusively the result of substrate choice. Parasites and the resulting damage to the GI track, nutrient deficiency, dehydration, inadequate heat and light... These are all culprits that are going to effect how well indigestible matter can pass through. From that report of the animals that had blood chemistry done 57.14% had calcium/phosphorus imbalance and 83.27% had parasites.

I don't think particle substrate is a good idea for every keeper, I think some are universally a bad choice, and I don't think that solid ones are inherently bad. It is however either misleading or misinformed to only tell part of the story. On average, husbandry standards are such that solid substrates become a necessity for many. The typical lights, cage size and diet isn't going to result in an animal that is thriving. I also don't think its luck that many keepers have dragons that thrive on a bioactive substrate. Myself and others who use it have done extensive research on it. I've poured a lot of time, effort and money into my enclosures - that's not something I would do just because I think it look snazzy.
User avatar
Taterbug
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 5739
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:13 am
Location: Central Ohio

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby HippieLizards » Sat Jun 23, 2018 10:53 am

I Still wouldn't condone to it because IMO It's not worth the risk. and I'd Like my beardie to live a long happy life without any problems. Plus If you don't know what to do you could make the beardie very sick so I Prefer to just use tile.

Yes, Health and good lighting and excellent care would be good when doing a bioactive vivarium, But IMO a Bioactive vivarium would be better for something like a crested gecko. Any substrate you use there's still going to be some risks involved with whatever you choose. Tile is the safest option IMO, even if it's not totally natural It still is safe.
Slave to three Beardies, one Crested gecko, a Ball Python, and a Cat. (R.I.P Thor, You will always be in our hearts).[Click image to enlarge]
User avatar
HippieLizards
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:03 am
Location: Earth.

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby Taterbug » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:54 am

Nothing is perfectly safe, and not all owners have the same tolerance for risk. That’s totaly fine, everyone needs to make trade offs and choose for themselves. For me, enrichment is one of my number one priorities. A super safe animal with no mental and physical stimulation isn’t living their best life either. I don’t have the opportunity to provide lots of out of the enclosure time safely so I have a big cage with lots of furnishings. Falling on dirt and plants is going to be safer for my guy than falling on hard tile and there is no way I could keep the cage clean without the help of a cleaner crew.

OP a few thoughts on sand or mulch.
Neither one is very solid, sand especially is shifting and loose. Dragons are adapted to hard ground and climbing, rather than a soft bedding. Sand is dusty and messy in my experience. Mulch can have sharp edges and large particles. Accidentally eating a shard of wood has potential for serious internal damage. Mulch can tend to retain humidity. I’d worry less about sand but keeping it clean requires more than just scooping out waste.
User avatar
Taterbug
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 5739
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:13 am
Location: Central Ohio

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby HippieLizards » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:14 pm

Ok, I've seen a photo of your dragons bioactive vivarium, and It looks excellent, :) There's not that much loose substrate there. I have to say it looks nice. I Do agree with your reasons on sand and mulch as well. You do make a good point as well. But what substrate do you use exactly?
Slave to three Beardies, one Crested gecko, a Ball Python, and a Cat. (R.I.P Thor, You will always be in our hearts).[Click image to enlarge]
User avatar
HippieLizards
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:03 am
Location: Earth.

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby Taterbug » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:33 pm

It is a mix of top soil, peat moss, play sand and garden soil; about 8” deep. I don’t recommend using garden soil really, it’s nice for organic matter and micro-organisms but it tends to have bugs in it. Depending on where you live it could have things like firefly larvae in it which is no worth the risk.

Leaf litter goes along way for “covering up” the soil and helps prevent it from getting all over the place. I have watched him grab a mouthful of leaves with a big and carefully spit out each leaf but not the bug.
User avatar
Taterbug
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 5739
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:13 am
Location: Central Ohio

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby HippieLizards » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:57 am

Hmm, Very interesting. :) But one thing that would worry me (since my beardies are already trying to eat every non food item in sight) that they might ingest some of it. :? and What do you mean by a 'cleaning crew'??
Slave to three Beardies, one Crested gecko, a Ball Python, and a Cat. (R.I.P Thor, You will always be in our hearts).[Click image to enlarge]
User avatar
HippieLizards
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:03 am
Location: Earth.

Re: Sand or Mulch

Postby Taterbug » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:24 am

I have super worms and Rolly Polly’s in their to cleanup poops and uneaten food.
User avatar
Taterbug
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 5739
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:13 am
Location: Central Ohio
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Next

Return to Enclosures

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users