What Is The Best Substrate For A Ball Python?

Ball Python SubstrateYou are probably just setting up a nice tank for your ball python or you already have a complete tank set up but you are looking for a new substrate for your ball python.

When it comes to substrates you will find thousands of opinions on different substrates. There are people who do not use any substrate at all. Other people only use newspaper and would not use any other substrate. There are also people who like a more natural setup and go with a substrate that looks very natural.

However you might ask yourself now, what is the best ball python substrate of all of them? What can I use without any dangers? In this article you are going to learn which substrate you can and should use.

Forrest Floor

Forrest Floor is a very natural looking substrate. I actually like this substrate very much since I never had any problems with it. You can use it to increase humidity in your tank and it won´t get moldy. You can see your ball python´s feces perfectly on this substrate, since it has a light color, and clean the tank quickly.

Your snake will definitely not get impacted if it eats a little bit of this substrate with a mouse or a rat. I never had any problems with impaction when using this substrate and you won´t either.

Further a lot of snake keepers are afraid of mites when using a natural substrate. You don´t have to worry about that when buying Forrest Floor. I use this substrate for quite some time now and I never had mites. Get Forrest Floor Here!

Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding

Get It Here – It´s Amazing!

Aspen Snake Bedding

This substrate is as good as Forrest Floor, but it is a more shredded product. Most snakes like to hide in this substrate. The only thing you should keep an eye on is that it should not get too wet. It can really cause a mess. Other than that, this ball python bedding is as awesome as Forrest Floor. I definitely recommend it. Get Aspen Snake Bedding Here!

Newspaper As Substrate For Ball Pythons?

No matter where you look for information on ball pythons, you will see a lot of people using no substrate at all or newspaper. Newspaper does not seem like it is part of a ball python´s natural environment, right? So why do those people use it?

Some people are worried that their snake gets impacted if it eats a little bit of the substrate when they snap a mouse or a rat in their enclosure. Further they think that newspaper is cleaner and can´t cause any disease like other natural and moist substrates could do.

In my opinion the substrate you use is not the problem. Your snake will not become sick, just because you use a natural substrate. The snake will become sick if you don´t clean the tank frequently.

So newspaper is easier to clean and it is definitely the cheapest solution. However it is definitely not part of the natural environment of a ball python.

I think that we should do our best to create the enclosure as natural as possible for our reptiles in order to make make them feel good and to make sure that they have a long and healthy life.

Just a quick example, I know a woman that owns two 38 year old leopard geckos (I wrote an article on her here). Most leopard geckos only get 8 to 10 years in captivity. What is she doing differently?

She has a very natural enclosure, with lots of hides and natural substrate, while most other leopard geckos are kept with repti carpet and two coconut halfes as hides. Do I need to say more?

That´s why I do not recommend to use newspaper as substrate.What Is the best ball python bedding

Sphagnum Moss For Ball Pythons

Sphagnum moss is a great addition to your ball python bedding. It should not be used as main bedding. Use sphagnum moss if your ball python has problems to shed. Sphagnum moss will increase the humidity in your ball python enclosure and your snake will have an easier time to shed.

Most people use sphagnum moss to create moist hides. You can do that as well of course. Simply get a hide like this and put some sphagnum moss in it.

There will be higher humidity inside the hide, which will also make it easier for your snake to shed properly. Get sphagnum moss here!

What About Other Substrates?

What if you don´t want to use any of the substrates I recommended? I mean, sure there are a lot of substrates you can get for your ball python. You should always make sure that the substrate you get is not too moist for your ball python.

While most people think that ball pythons come from a tropical area, they actually come from a pretty dry area. So use a substrate that doesn´t get your humidity to go over 65%. You should aim for 50% to 65%. I recommend to stay in the middle of that.

Further you should make sure that the substrate you use has no essential oils in it (or just a little bit). Essential oils can be bad for your snake and it can even be deadly for a lot of reptiles, so just don´t risk it.


As you see you have some great options when it comes to substrate for a ball python. I really hope that this article made it easier for you to set up your ball python enclosure the right way.

If you have any questions, simply leave a message in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

Leave a Reply