What is the best substrate for corn snakes? Top 5 in 2021

What is the best substrate for corn snakes

The keeping of corn snakes as pets is popular in the exotic snake pet industry for several reasons. Corn snakes are gentle snakes that come in a beautiful array of colors and are easy to care for. All you need to do, is provide them with a favorable environment and regular feeding. Providing the best substrate for corn snakes is therefore critical for success.

Substrate is the bedding added to the bottom of the tank for corn snakes. It absorbs water and waste products which would otherwise make the tank dump. A dump tank can easily lead to snake rot. Aspen shavings are the best and most popular substrates for corn snakes.

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 Summary Table of Best substrates for corn snakes

ProductImageKey featureRating
Zoo Med Aspen snake bedding# 1 preferred bedding by professional herpetoculturalist
Made from natural products
Odorless
Contains no toxic oils
Has 191% absorbency rating
Easy to clean, has a light color hence it is easy to spot poop and dirt
Good for burrowing, the burrows do not collapse
Dust free
4.8 / 5
Galapagos Aspen DigsHigh absorbency, absorbs moisture and odors
Made from by-products of wood hence sustainable
It is soft and diggable, suitable for burrowing species
Contains no additional toxic oils, salt chemicals or parasites
Dust free
Comes in a resealable bag
4.4 / 5
Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber BeddingSuperior humidity retention capabilities
100% organic hence environment friendly
Absorbs and breaks down odor and waste products
Easy to clean, simply spot clean damp areas and areas with waste products
Dust free
Budget friendly
4.7 / 5
Zoo Med Forest Floor BeddingMade of 100% natural cypress mulch
Retains moisture well maintaining humidity
Soft and easy to burrow in
Suitable for use in snakes, amphibians, and tropical tortoises
Safe for corn snakes as it is natural
Does not mold
4.7 / 5
Zoo Med Eco Earth Coconut Fiber beddingMade from eco-friendly renewable resources
Naturally absorbs and breaks down odor and waste
Absorbs moisture easily
Expandable
Easy to use and clean
Resistant to mold
4.7 / 5

*The ratings are based on Amazon at time of publication and are subject to change

In this article we have highlighted the substrate options for corn snakes and substrates that you should avoid. We have also reviewed the top substrates available in the market. In the FAQs section we have answered several questions that most corn snake owners ask.

What is the best substrate for corn snakes?

There are several substrate options available in the market that can be used for corn snakes. Most corn sake keepers prefer to use the following substrates.

Aspen shavings: Aspen is the most popular type of substrate for corn snakes. Aspen shavings are favorable because they absorb moisture and odors and are easy to burrow in. They are natural and safe for corn snakes. Furthermore, they are affordable. Several options are available in the market including Zoo Med Aspen snake bedding and Galapagos Aspen digs among others.

Cypress Mulch: Cypress mulch is another suitable bedding option for corn snake. This is because it has high absorbency for moisture and odors. It also breaks down odor and waste well. Additionally, cypress mulch is diggable hence good for burrowing species like corn snakes.

Coconut coir: Coconut coir fiber substrate is a natural eco-friendly substrate. It is therefore safe for corn snakes. Coconut fiber absorbs moisture well and odors.  It is also soft and easy to burrow in. As such, coconut fiber-based substrates are good for burrowing snakes like corn snakes.

Newspaper and paper towels: Newspapers and paper towels are readily available. They absorb moisture and odor well. They therefore make good substrates for corn snake keepers on a budget. They however do not support the digging habit of corn snakes, but the snake can easily hide under the bedding.

What substrate should you avoid

Although several reptile substrates can be used with corn snakes. There are several other substrates that you should avoid. These include

Sand: Sand substrates are available in pet shops is a wide range of colors that look good. Sand substrate is good for burrowers as they can easily dig on it. However, you should avoid sand as a substrate for corn snakes because if ingested, sand causes impaction. Impaction is a serious medical condition which can kill your corn snake.

Pine / Cedar bark or shavings: Pine and cedar contain aromatic compounds that can cause neurologic reactions in snakes. You should therefore avoid substrates that contain pine or cedar on your corn snake.

Review of the best substrate for corn snakes

Zoo Med Aspen snake bedding

Best substrate for corn snakesWe recommend this substrate for corn snakes for several reasons. First, it is the # 1 preferred snake bedding by professional herpetoculturalist worldwide.

Secondly this product provides a safe, naturalistic substrate that allows snakes, lizards, and small animals to form burrows and nest as they would in the wild. Furthermore, the burrows do not collapse. Corn snakes prefer to burrow therefore this snake bedding is suitable for them.

Additionally, the Zoo Med Aspen snake bedding is odorless and contains no toxic oils like cedar and other wood shavings. It is therefore safe for all snakes including corn snakes.

Lastly, this product is easy to clean and use. Just spot clean areas that get wet or pooped on and replace with new bedding.

Key features

  • # 1 preferred bedding by professional herpetoculturalist
  • Made from natural products
  • Odorless
  • Contains no toxic oils
  • Has 191% absorbency rating

Pros

  • Easy to clean, has a light color hence it is easy to spot poop and dirt
  • Good for burrowing, the burrows do not collapse
  • Dust free
  • Safe for pets as it does not contain toxic oils

Cons

Check price on Amazon here.

Galapagos Aspen Digs Shavings Bedding

Best substrate for corn snakesThe Galapagos Aspen Digs is a great substrate for corn snakes for several reasons.

This substrate has a high absorbency. It absorbs moisture thus maintaining humidity in your snake’s enclosure. It also absorbs and breaks down odor leaving the terrarium fresh.

Secondly, this snake bedding is environment friendly and sustainable. It is made from the by-products of timber. In addition, this substrate contains no additional toxic oils, salt chemical and/ or parasites. It is therefore safe for your corn snake.

Additionally, this substrate is soft and diggable. The burrows formed also do not collapse. It is therefore good for burrowing species including your corn snakes.

Lastly, the Galapagos Aspen Digs shavings bedding is dust free. It is washed and sieved to ensure it provides a dust free environment for you corn snake. Additionally, it comes in a resealable bag. It is therefore easy to keep this product away from dust even after use.

Key features

  • High absorbency, absorbs moisture and odors
  • Made from by-products of wood hence sustainable
  • It is soft and diggable, suitable for burrowing species
  • Contains no additional toxic oils, salt chemicals or parasites
  • Dust free
  • Comes in a resealable bag

Pros

  • Safe for pets including corn snakes
  • Dust free
  • Easy to form burrows, diggable and burrows do not collapse
  • Easy to clean, light in color hence easy to spot dirt. Simply spot clean damp areas and areas with dirt

Cons

  • Costly unlike other aspen shavings bedding
  • Does not hold moisture as well as other substrates
  • Some bags tend to be dusty

Check price on Amazon here.

Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding Substrate

Best substrate for corn snakesThe Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber substrate is suitable for use on for corn snakes for several reasons.

First, this substrate has superior humidity retention capacity. Maintaining the humidity level of your corn snake tank, is therefore easy when using this substrate as bedding for your corn snake.

Additionally, due to the water holding capacity of this substrate, corn snakes can easily make burrows on this substate. And the burrows do not collapse easily.

In addition, this product absorbs and breaks down odor and waste products naturally. This product therefore allows for odor control keeping your house odor free and comfortable for both your snake and you.

Lastly, reptile prime coconut fiber substrate can be used as a standalone for excellent substrate for plant growth in naturalistic terrariums.

Key features

  • Superior humidity retention capabilities
  • 100% organic hence environment friendly
  • Absorbs and breaks down odor and waste products

Pros

  • Easy to clean, simply spot clean damp areas and areas with waste products
  • Dust free
  • Budget friendly
  • Maintains moisture well
  • Good odor control

Cons

  • Fine pieces may get stuck on your snakes’ mouth during feeding
  • May smell putrid

Check price on Amazon here.

Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding

Best substrate for corn snakesWe recommend Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding for use on corn snakes for several reasons.

One, it is 100% natural as it is made from 100% natural cypress mulch. This substrate is therefore safe for use with corn snakes.

Secondly, this substrate retains moisture well. It therefore maintains the humidity of the terrarium at suitable levels for your corn snake.

Additionally, this substrate is soft and easy to form burrows in. As such your corn snake will be able to easily burrow on this bedding.

Lastly, the Zoo Med Forest Floor bedding provides your terrarium with a natural look “forest look” and is designed for snakes, amphibians and/ or tropical species of tortoises. It is therefore safe for corn snakes.

Key features

  • Made of 100% natural cypress mulch
  • Retains moisture well maintaining humidity
  • Soft and easy to burrow in
  • Suitable for use in snakes, amphibians, and tropical tortoises

Pros

  • Safe for corn snakes as it is natural
  • Maintains the humidity of the terrarium at optimal levels
  • Does not mold
  • Easy to clean, spot clean dump areas and areas with waste
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Tends to dry easily hence requires regular humidification
  • May attract wood mites, freeze before use

Check Price on Amazon here.

Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose coconut Fiber Substrate

Best substrate for corn snakesThe Zoo Med Eco Earth Loose coconut fiber substrate is a favorite among many reptile keepers including snake owners. We recommend this snake bedding for corn snakes for a number of reasons.

This product is made from coconut husks that are compounded and repackaged. This substrate is therefore eco-friendly and therefore safe for both the environment and for use on your corn snake.

The Eco earth coconut fiber substrate naturally absorbs and breaks down odor leaving behind an earth smell. It also absorbs moisture well controlling the humidity of the terrarium. Therefore, it is suitable for corn snakes who has specific moisture requirements

Additionally, due to its moisture holding capacity, it is easy to form burrows in this substrate. Corn snakes can therefore easily form their burrows in this substrate. The burrows also do not collapse easily.

Lastly, this substrate is easy to use and clean. Simply spot clean as needed.

Key features

  • Made from eco-friendly renewable resources
  • Naturally absorbs and breaks down odor and waste
  • Absorbs moisture easily
  • Expandable

Pros

  • Safe for use on corn snakes, made from natural resources
  • Easy to use and clean, spot clean as necessary
  • Resistant to mold
  • Good for burrowing species, the burrows do not collapse easily

Cons

  • Dries out quickly
  • Fluffy when dry making it difficult to form burrows
  • Can be messy and may be dusty

Check price on Amazon here.

FAQs on best substrate for corn snakes

What type of bedding does a corn snake need?

Corn sakes are burrowers. They need a bedding that is soft which will not cause injuries on their skin as they dig. Additionally, they need bedding that is able to hold moisture well such that they can easily dig on it. The bedding should also be able to hold its shape and not collapse easily as the corn snake digs in it.

Most corn snake keepers prefer to use Aspen shavings as they are highly absorbent, soft and easy to burrow in. Cypress mulch is another good type of bedding that is soft, absorbent and diggable hence good for corn snakes. Coco coir is also suitable for corn snakes as it is able to hold its shape, is absorbent, safe and, eco-friendly

How often should you change corn snakes bedding?

Corn snake bedding should be changed once every 1 – 2 months. The frequency of changing the bedding for corn snakes however largely depends on the type of bedding you are using. You should spot clean your corn snakes bedding every day or every other day, as necessary. Spot clean damp areas or areas with waste, as necessary. Replace the bedding as necessary after spot cleaning to refill empty areas.

Complete change of the bedding can be done once every 1 – 2 months depending on the substrate that you are using.  Check with the manufacture to get the recommendations for the bedding you are using. After completely taking out the bedding, make sure you clean the terrarium using an antibacterial spray. Allow the terrarium to dry completely before replacing with new clean substrate.

Can you use sand for corn snake bedding?

Sand substrates are available in the market is several colors. These substrates however should not be used for corn snakes. Sand particles can easily be ingested during feeding. If ingested, sand particles can lead to impaction which could potentially kill your corn snake if not treated. Therefore, no, do not use sand for corn snake bedding.

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