Best Substrate for Leopard Gecko: Reviews & Guide 2022

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Are you taking care of a leopard gecko? Do you feel it is great? They have a striking look, awesome colors, and most especially they are easy to tack care of. Apart from those, leopard geckos are extremely photogenic.

Leopard Gecko

However, there is just one major problem about leopard geckos. Everyone says that leopard geckos are beginner-friendly reptiles. Yes, it is true, but the problem is some people don’t do their own research before purchasing such an exotic pet. And that is the main reason why lots of leopard geckos don’t even live longer than one year.

Either way, if you are reading this content because you want to know what is the right and best substrate for gecko, then you have come to right place. It is impressive that you’re doing your own research and rest assured you will be able to get the accurate information in this article.

On the other hand, in this content, we will not only provide information about substrates, but we will also review some products from that you can use to make the best and comfortable bedding for your leopard gecko.

Best Substrate for Leopard Gecko

1. Zoo Med Excavator Clay Burrowing Substrate

Instead of using a loose sand as a substrate for your leopard gecko, why not consider adding this clay burrowing substrate from Zoo Med on it. With this clay, your gecko’s substrate will become more compact and the risk of ingestion will be lowered since it became hard after some time.

However, you can also use this without having it mixed to loose sand. In fact, if you use this alone your pet’s substrate will become harder. But nevertheless, if you want to give your gecko a little smooth substrate where he/she can dig in, then mix this product with sand, but don’t put too much sand on it.

Nonetheless, this all-natural and chemical or dye-free substrate will make your exotic feel as if they are living in a natural habitat.

2. Zoo Med Excavator Cavern Kit

With this substrate, you can easily create a cave for your leopard gecko since it comes with a cavern kit. However, you don’t really need it since you can use your hands or a shovel to make it.

Nevertheless, with this substrate, you will be able to make a naturalistic and exciting environment for your exotic pet.

3. Original Jurassic Reptile Substrate

This substrate is very popular and safe to use since it doesn’t cause abrasions and impactions. Also, the Original Jurassic Reptile Substrate is not only for leopard geckos, but it is also perfect for sand boas and bearded dragons.

On the other hand, this substrate will not upset your gecko because it does not contain dyes as well as dust. As a matter of fact, this sand (natural) from Utah mimics several reptile’s naturalistic habitats.

Nevertheless, when wet, it turns out to be a great burrowing substrate for leopard geckos and other reptiles.

4. Reptile Sciences Terrarium Sand

This 100 percent digestible calcium carbonate sand, prevents both external and internal abrasions, which lowers the possibility of impaction in reptiles like leopard geckos.

Also, the Reptile Sciences Terrarium Sand is an all-natural product and in fact, it is free from phosphate and silica. This sand substrate, on the other hand, contains essential ingredients such as magnesium, strontium, and potassium.

Either way, it features a naturalistic odor neutralizer and makes an all-natural habitat for your leopard gecko.

5. Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Bedding Substrate

It is an ideal substrate for terrarium structures incorporating invertebrates, reptiles, and amphibians. As a matter of fact, it can be utilized with desert dwelling and tropical species. Leopard gecko owners, on the other hand, can use this product damp or dry.

Another good thing about this coconut fiber substrate has excellent humidity retention abilities. Not only that, it also breaks down and absorbs waste products as well as odor naturally.

Either way, it is better to use the Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Substrate alone so that you will be able to give your gecko a more realistic and naturalistic habitat.

6. Zilla Beaked Terrarium Moss

This all-natural moss maintains humidity and holds moisture. In fact, this substrate can offer amphibians and reptiles a realistic environment by giving a luxurious green carpet setting.

The Zilla Beaked Terrarium does not contain any chemical or dyes, plus it is harvested from the coniferous rain forests in Oregon. Nevertheless, your exotic pet will surely love this bedding underneath him/her.

Even so, this substrate is ideal for newts, chameleons, toads, green anoles, frogs, salamanders, and rainforest geckos.

7. Sporer Reptiles Carpet Terrarium Liner

This terrarium substrate is specifically designed for reptiles that make their habitat. In addition, it sports a unique design. This carpet liner, on the other hand, is solid on one side while the other side is plush and softer which protects your pet’s teeth, feet, and tummy that fiber or sand substrate can do.

Aside from sporting a unique design, it also features a natural color that looks like a well-manicured and pretty green lawn with slightly rough ground with small stuff and hills.

Either way, this carpet liner fit all types of reptiles like a frog, spiders, snakes, turtles, newt, bearded dragons, anoles, iguanas, lizards, and of course geckos.

Most importantly, this liner can be cut depending on the size of your pet’s tank or cage.

8. Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding Substrate Liner

This low-maintenance terrarium bedding can be easily rolled out and cut when needed. The Zilla Reptile Terrarium Bedding substrate line is very safe to use since it can’t be eaten like other types of substrates.

As a matter of fact, it is ideal for juvenile leopard geckos and other young reptiles.  On the other hand, it is preserved with a biodegradable enzyme which lessens the odors. Also, this substrate can be easily cleaned with cold tap water.

Even so, this product is made of a non-abrasive as well as absorbent materials. Thus, this substrate will not annoy reptiles. Nevertheless, this substrate liner measures 17.25 by 47.25 inches.

9. Josh’s Frogs Coco Husk Brick

This environmental-friendly and inexpensive substrate are ideal for a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles that needs an adequate to a high level of moisture.

The Josh’s Frog Coco Husk, on the other hand, is very easy to clean and an absorbent bedding. In fact, it can be expanded six times than its original volume. Most importantly, this substrate facilitates burrowing.

So if you’re looking for coconut husk substrate for your leopard gecko, then this is for you.

10. Carib Sea SCS00710 Reptiles Calcium Substrate Sand

This sand substrate is made of aragonite a solvable form of calcium and features easily digestible, and 100% edible and naturally round grains that will not cut animals inside and out.

In addition, the Carib Sea SCS00710 contains magnesium and strontium and it is free from phosphates and silica.  In fact, the strontium found in this product can increase bone density.

Also, this substrate is very easy to use and accessible at a very affordable price. In fact, this product is trusted by expert reptile breeders.

Either way, the Carib Sea SCS00710 weighs 10 pounds and available in a natural white color.

What is a Substrate?

A substrate is the flooring or bedding you’ll place in your leopard gecko’s tank for her/him to walk on. However, you have to be cautious when choosing since some substrates consist of fine particles that can be ingested easily. As a matter of fact, if your leopard gecko accidentally swallowed those fine particles your exotic pet may possibly experience severe health problems like impaction.

What Substrate Should You Utilize For Your Leopard Gecko? 

Honestly, choosing the right substrate is considered one of the most challenging parts of putting up a tank for geckos. As a matter of fact, there’s much debate over which substrate is best and safe for leopard geckos.

Even though they are not as attractive as some other options, paper towels are one of the most common substrates today. For hatchlings and juveniles, paper towels may possibly the best substrate for them. While for adult leopard geckos, there are lots of available choices for them that is why choosing the right one is a bit confusing.

Nevertheless, listed below are some of the common substrates where you can choose from. Also, we have included a few substrates that should be avoided.


For some, they considered sand as an unsafe substrate because the risk of impaction and ingestion that is associated with it is higher. Sand ingestion, on the other hand, is very common in juvenile leopard geckos that is why sand substrates are not recommended for them.

Other potential difficulties with sand include mold or bacterial and dust growth that leads to respiratory problems.

But regardless of these facts, many leopard gecko keepers tend to use sand as their substrate, because scooping or cleaning their waste is easier and it looks more natural.

However, adult, properly supplemented, and healthy geckos are less likely to swallow sand. Nevertheless, if you prefer to use sand as a substrate make sure that your exotic pet is healthy and adult. Even so, both calcium-based and fine-grained sand is proven safer and digestible, though it should be digested slowly.

Paper Towels

As what we have mentioned a while ago, paper towels are considered as one of the best substrates for young geckos and sick geckos as well. However, adult leopard geckos can also use paper towels.

With this substrate, you don’t have to worry about inhalation and ingestion of particles. Not only that, paper towels are easy to clean, very absorbent, and hygienic. Plus, it makes health monitoring even easier.

But the problem about paper towels is that geckos can’t burrow in them, unlike sand where geckos are free to burrow their bodies in it. Nonetheless, if your leopard gecko doesn’t burrow himself/herself, then you can consider paper towels as your leopard gecko’s substrate.

Reptile Carpet

Reptile carpets carry the little possibility of ingestion and easy to clean as well, however, some reptile carpets are uneven for gecko’s skin. Nevertheless, to make the cleaning process easier, make sure to keep two pieces in your hand.

Prepackaged Reptile Bedding

Nowadays, there are lots of reptile bedding products on the market and in fact, some individuals use these to give their gecko’s tank a comfortable bedding or flooring.

Even so, some of these consists have tiny particles that can be ingested while leopard geckos are eating. That is why, if you consider this substrate, take the safety measures as with sand.

Slate Rocks

Some leopard gecko owners make use of slate rocks. If you want to give your gecko smooth and flat stones, then slate rocks can be a great option. In fact, slate rocks can offer a natural environment that distributes and holds heat very well without much threat of ingesting substrate.


Similar to other substrates, particular paper towels and sand, newspaper as a substrate easy to replace and clean. Newspaper, on the other hand, is really impressive simply because there are no wobbly pieces that can be swallowed by your leopard gecko. Nevertheless, your gecko’s tank may not look attractive, but it is absolutely safe.

Substrates to Avoid

Corn cob, wood shavings, gravel, wood chips, as well as walnut shells are not suitable options of leopard geckos, especially for juvenile ones. Because these substrate choices come with several risks that may possibly harm your exotic pet.

Now that you already know the different substrates for leopard gecko perhaps you have already decided which one is best for your pet. Either way, to help you with the selection process, we have reviewed some substrates for leopard geckos.


We hope that this content about the best substrate for leopard gecko helps you a lot. Either way, if you want to prolong the life of your gecko, then consider buying one of the substrates mentioned above and most importantly use the right substrate.