Buyer’s Guide: Bedding for King Snakes

I have often wondered how to tell what the best bedding is for king snakes.  There are a lot of different types of snake substrate all claiming to be the best, so how do you tell? Fear not, my friend! Here we will guide you through all things bedding, substrate and more, for the king snake lover.

So, what is the best bedding for king snakes? T-Rex Sani-Chips Premium Heat-Treated Snake and Reptile Substrate seems to be the all-time best substrate for any pet king snake. There are other options like Aspen that work well, but if you want the best go with T-Rex. 

Let’s take a better look at some of the best products available for your pet king snake, their habitat, and things to remember when buying the perfect bedding for your king snake.

The Best Option

Now you need to know why T-Rex Sani-Chips Premium Heat-Treated Snake & Reptile Substrate, is the best option as far as bedding for king snakes.

From what I have researched this type of bedding is the best option because T-rex Sani-Chips are small, soft, dust-free chips that are ideal for any king snake. These clean up much better than aspen chips, making maintenance a lot easier.

These are high-grade, professional chips, like the kind you would find at a zoo or a reptile show. 

They won’t clump up or contain sawdust like your average aspen shaving substrate from Petsmart would, and one bag contains a sizable 10 quarts.

This bag should easily fill a 40-gallon tank. And to top it all off, theses Sani-chips are very affordable and are listed on Amazon at only $9.99 per bag. This is the perfect option if you’re looking to give your snake luxurious comfort.

Aspen Substrate

Zoo med aspen snake bedding is a great affordable product for your king snake. Not only does it sell for only $11.19, but it also comes with a healthy 24 quarts.

Unlike a lot of other substrates that you could buy, Zoo med comes basically dust-free. Remember that all that dust floating around in your tank could cause irritation for your pet snake, not to mention it could dirty up the enclosure.

Who wants to perform even more maintenance on there snake’s tank? With king snake bedding, the more grounding the substrate, the better. Zoo med aspen snake bedding comes in small, shredded aspen pieces.

Do you remember being a kid on the school playground and how the schoolyard was full of those lovely smelling woodchips? They are a lot like those, but luckily your snake doesn’t wear shoes so they won’t get stuck in his shoes everytime he comes in from recess.

Because the woodchips are rather large they don’t do much in the way of containing snake odors, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as you consistently switch out your snake’s bedding.

Zoo med aspen will last a few months, as long as it doesn’t get wet. Due to the quantity contained, you should be able to easily fill a 70-gallon tank, yet still have enough left over in the bag to replace a little in the enclosure a couple of months down the line.

Should My Substrate for My King Snake Mimic Their Natural Habitat?  

Let’s look at the appropriate habitat for the king snake. The king snake, also known as the California king snake, is common throughout southern California and all throughout the American Southwest. Our goal is to mimic that environment as close as we can, and with that, there are a few caveats.

In looking for a substrate, you will want to avoid anything overly looses that may kick up excess dust. This could be harmful to the lungs and skin of poor Mr. Snakey and should be avoided. Therefore, things like playground sand or cat litter should be avoided.

The Cheap Option

Another good, cost-efficient option is Galapagos 05064 Aspen Digs Shavings Bedding. This is a good option for those looking to fill smaller tanks. Galapagos comes with only 8 quarts unlike the 24 offered by Zoo med, but it does have distinct advantages.

Being a bit more finely shredded than Zoo med, it is better able to contain snake odors. It also makes it a bit more durable so you won’t have to switch it out as often. Galapagos shavings are sharper than Zoo med chips, but not so much so that it would be harmful to your snake. In fact, the stiffness of the material makes it more easily plowable. Your snake will be able to burrow away, creating tunnels and holes, happy as a clam.

So while it may come with less, the durability of the material used more than makes up for the lack of material. This is ideal for those looking to fill smaller tanks or doing minimal upkeep on larger tanks.

Buy it in Bulk

Reptichip Premium Coconut Substrate is a pricier option, but ideal for those wanting a quality product that will fill a very large tank. One bag contains a whopping 72 quarts. You either have to have one very large reptile tank, or you won’t be buying substrate again for another couple of years. Reptichip is a professional quality coconut substrate that kingsnakes seem to enjoy.

The pliable material is good for burrowing, and your snake will have a blast roaming around in it. The coconut material means its mostly odorless, unlike some aspen options. The lack of dust won’t cause any problems for yourself or your snake. I have read some reviews that indicate that insects may come to inhabit this substrate. One of the ways you can avoid this problem is to put the bag in the freezer for a couple of days before use.

This will kill any critters that may be squatting in your bag, and stop them from ever getting into your snake’s enclosure, to begin with. This problem is more common in warmer, more humid climates. If you live somewhere dry, this may not even be an issue.

Remember to never spray your substrate with any kind of insecticide or bug repellent. That’s like fumigating your own home while you’re still living in it. Not fun, and potentially harmful to your king snake. Overall, Reptichip is a great option for those who wish to buy in bulk.

What to Remember When You Buy

Remember that whatever you choose to buy in the end, don’t get anything that has been chemically treated. A good way to test this at your local pet store is to pick it up and smell it. If you smell anything too strong that doesn’t smell like sawdust, it has probably been treated and it is not worth buying. Anything too unnatural will be harmful to your snake.

Avoid buying substrates that are gritty or dusty such as sand or cat litter. 

These can be very abrasive to your snake’s belly and could cause scratches. The dust they create will also make the enclosure much more difficult to clean and may irritate the skin of your snake.

Of all the options reviewed here today, my favorite by far has been the T-rex Sani-chip. It really is a great, affordable option of professional quality that will up your snake bedding game. If you’re looking for a happier, healthier king snake, this would be the one to buy.

Remember that its durable substance requires little maintenance and its durability will last you for months. One package contains 10 quarts and should easily be able to fill your snake’s tank. Look it up!

Related Questions

Are King Snakes Harmful to Humans? These snakes are powerful constrictors but because of their size and their lack of venom they are not harmful to humans. 

How did King Snakes Get Their Name? King snakes acquired the title of “king” for their ability to eat other snakes including venomous snakes that are bigger then them. 

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