Substrate question

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Ian2277

Member
Sorry to ask one of the same old questions, but my local reptile centre has just sold me two bags of "Zilla Ground English Walnut Shells". On the back it says its ideal for Beardies as a substrate. It looks great and is apparently digestable if they swallow any. Does any one know anything different. Our Beardie is now about 5 months old and has just come off newspaper.
** Is childrens playsand ok to use???
 

peera

Sub-Adult Member
It's not safe. Take it back. Any loose substrate is an impaction risk (They claim calci-sand is digestable too :shock: ). Textured tile, newspaper or paper towels are the way to go, espesially with babies.
 

Catalyst

BD.org Addict
Agreed, that stuff isn't any good. The two substrates where you'll find a pretty clear concensus around here to stay away from are ground walnut shells and calcium sand. While the crushed walnuts looks okay at first, the individual grains/pieces have sharp edges which can damage the inside of your dragon. They also are not digestible.

For a young dragon, you're best to stick with a solid substrate like paper towels, nonadhesive shelf liner (without holes), reptile carpet, textured slate or ceramic tiles. Young dragons have a delicate digestive system with a kink in it that makes them more prone to impactions plus they're clumsier hunters so they're more likely to accidentally eat a mouthful of substrate.

Once he's full sized, if you really want to go with a loose substrate, do some research on children's playsand and/or coconut fiber based beddings like eco-earth or bed-a-beast. They're not as safe as solid substrates, but are much safer than calcium sand or crushed walnuts.
 

kirby

Extreme Poster
not only impacts, but it shreds and causes internal bleeding.

not at all a safe option.

go for a non-particle substrate.
 

dreshany

Hatchling Member
I have heard that ground walnut shells also hold moisture and can cause problems with an over growth of bacteria and fungus.
 

NegativeCreep

Sub-Adult Member
dreshany":09545 said:
I have heard that ground walnut shells also hold moisture and can cause problems with an over growth of bacteria and fungus.

Yup, this can be true with most lose substrate.
 

diamc

BD.org Sicko
Staff member
Moderator
Actually, reptile carpet, non-adhesive shelf liner, paper towels or slate tiles would be good choices. But, please stay away from walnut shells, calci-sand, vita-sand and repti-sand, all impaction risks.
 

peera

Sub-Adult Member
It's better than what you have, but still not suitable for babies (and at 5 months, even if he's starting to get big, your dragon is still very much a baby). Juviniles have a kink in their intestines that makes impaction a huge risk with ANY loose substrate. Seriously, go to Home Depot, get $15 worth of textured floor tiles, and never have to replace or worry about your substrate harbouring bacteria or killing your dragon again. I'm really not sure why people are so hard to convince to do this, it's a win-win-win situation. It's easy to clean, good for your dragon, looks nice, files their nails, and is very cheap when you consider how much you'll spend replacing substrate over the next decade.
 

dreshany

Hatchling Member
peera":a4376 said:
Seriously, go to Home Depot, get $15 worth of textured floor tiles, and never have to replace or worry about your substrate harbouring bacteria or killing your dragon again. I'm really not sure why people are so hard to convince to do this, it's a win-win-win situation. It's easy to clean, good for your dragon, looks nice, files their nails, and is very cheap when you consider how much you'll spend replacing substrate over the next decade.

I think it's because people want to build cool looking reptariums that resemble a desert etc. That's what I wanted to do when I first got my beardie, until I had an impaction scare. I quickly realized that it wasn't worth the risk. Someone needs to come up with a product that looks like a natural environmental substrate that is safe for all of us BD owners. :D
 
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