The 10 Best Substrate For Russian Tortoise Reviews 2022

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Are you looking for best substrate for Russian tortoise? For pet owners who are used to taking care of cats or dogs, they might be used to a situation where the use of a substrate isn’t important. In fact, using newspapers or a bed specifically made for cats and dogs would be good enough for them. But for Russian tortoises, the situation would be different.

When you’re setting up a habitat for your Russian tortoise, it’s important for you to consider whether your tortoise will be kept inside or outside the house. Whatever your choice may be, it’s crucial to include bedding in their habitat, which would provide them with temperature and footing regulation. Therefore, we would be listing down the best substrate for Russian tortoise below.

Top 10 Best Substrate For Russian Tortoise

Zoo Med Cypress Mulch Bedding

The great thing about this product is that it is 100% made from natural cypress mulch, therefore this makes it an all-natural green substrate for your Russian tortoise. And since it’s natural, it also means that it’s free from all kinds of harsh chemicals making it perfectly safe for your reptile. This product is Amazon’s best-selling product, which means this is a highly recommended bedding for your pet.

In addition, this bedding is not only meant for tortoises, but it can also be used in the habitats of various species, including snakes, frogs, lizards, salamanders, tarantulas, and more. Also, using cypress mulch as bedding can make your pet’s terrarium look more like a natural environment, which could help keep your tortoise happy.

Zilla Reptile Bedding and Litter

Now, this bedding is 100% based on natural alfalfa, therefore it is perfectly safe for your pet even if they consume it. It can also be used on either herbivore or carnivorous reptiles since it is completely free of harmful chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Aside from being used as bedding, you can also use this as your pet’s litter as it’s great in absorbing liquids and moisture inside the tank.

However, since it contains too much protein, which could cause some health issues when ingested in high amounts, it would be best if you mix it together with another substrate for Russian tortois , such as coconut coir to avoid issues in the future. This could also cause dehydration, but as long as you mix it with another bedding, your tortoise would live with no problems at all.

Carib Sea Coconut Husks Bedding

If you are looking for soft bedding for your tortoise, this bedding would provide the perfect comfort in your pet’s habitat. Not only does it provide comfort, but it also increases the growth of healthy and waste reducing organisms, which keeps your pet’s habitat smelling fresh in between the change of beddings.

Each package of Carib Sea Products contains fresh and all-natural coconut husks, which effectively helps control odor better than other product in the market. Aside from tortoises, this substrate is also ideal for snakes, iguanas, frogs, salamanders, tarantulas, and more. In addition, it is completely free from harmful pesticides making it safe for all kinds of reptiles.

ReptiChip Premium Organic Coconut Substrate

When it comes to absorbing odor and retaining the habitat’s humidity level, nothing can beat how the ReptiChip Premium substrate works. In addition to its amazing absorption capabilities, it is also very easy to clean and doesn’t require constant misting. It is also free from dust which helps prevent respiratory problems and allows certain species to hide underneath it.

Upon purchasing this product, you’ll notice that it’s compressed into a huge block of chipped coconut for better transportation. To use it, you’ll have to put in a large container and then add a couple of buckets of water in it to expand. Once done, the block of chipped coconut would expand to up to 2.5 cubic feet. If the bedding ended up being too damp for your tortoise, you can dry it under the sun until you get the desired dryness.

Zoo Med Coconut Fiber Substrate

Coconut fiber is an ideal type of substrate that you can use to create a naturalistic environment for your tortoise. Not only is its ideal for reptiles like Russian tortoises, but it’s also ideal for amphibians and invertebrates. If you think this substrate is too dry when used directly from the bag, you can add a bit of water in it to make it a bit damp.

Like the Carib Sea substrate, this coconut fiber from Zoo Med is also made from coconut husks. In addition, it not only works as a substrate for Russian tortoise, but it can also be used for potted plants or garden as an alternative to soil or manure.

Galapagos Cypress Mulch Bedding

Here is another brand of Cypress Mulch substrate that you can choose from for your tortoise. Unlike the previous product, this substrate from Galapagos is a bit cheaper, which makes it perfect for those who are on a budget. This may be a bit cheaper, but it’s also excellent in absorbing moisture and controlling the levels of humidity like the premium version. In addition, it’s packed with smaller barks of cypress to help stimulate the feeding habit of your pet.

If you’re worried about the product containing parasites and small critters, you can stop now as this product has been thoroughly processed to ensure its free parasites, critters, chemicals, and toxic oils. This makes it one of the safest and ideal substrates for your little Russian reptile.

Brian Barezyk’s Coconut Fiber Substrate

You can either use this substrate as dry or damp depending on what your pet needs. Amphibians, invertebrates, or reptiles can use this bedding as their permanent addition in their habitats without causing problems. And as long as you keep this product dry, it would also work great for most kinds of species that naturally dwell in tropical or desert areas.

Aside from being used as damp or dry, it also has the ability to retain the humidity levels of the enclosure. It also naturally absorbs your pet’s liquid waste and helps break down odors to keep the enclosure smelling fresh. Another great feature of this bedding is that you can recycle and use it as an alternative soil for your plants.

Fluker’s All-Natural Repta-Bark Substrate

Zoo Med and Zila products are one of the most trusted brands when it comes to providing the needs of exotic animals. Fluker’s is also among those trusted brands as they always provide high-quality foods and materials. If you want to keep your pet’s humidity at an accurate level in their enclosure, you can soak this substrate in water for up to 20 minutes and then evenly spread it out in the terrarium.

However, if you want to keep it a bit dry, you can dry it under the sun until you achieve the desired wetness. This way it can absorb the moisture inside the terrarium and help reduce annoying odor.

Kaytee Aspen Substrate

Usually, Russian tortoise owners use hemp rather than aspen shavings as their pet’s bedding, but since not all countries are selling hemp products in the market, a great alternative for it would be the use of aspen shavings. This aspen substrate from Kaytee’s is one of the best products in Amazon, therefore we highly recommend you this substrate for Russian tortoise.

Each bag of Kaytee aspen bedding contains hardwood that is completely free from inks and oils for your pet’s health. Since this is an all-natural product, you can use it in different kinds of enclosures such as cages, terrariums, vivarium, and aquariums. The only downside of this product is that it’s a bit too dry for your tortoise, but if you’re keeping your pet outdoors then this substrate would work well.

Reptile Sciences ProCalcium Sand

Using sand as your pet’s substrate isn’t ideal, but if you insist on using it as your pet’s bedding then we recommend this product sand substrate from Reptile Sciences. The reason why we recommend this product is that it is 100% digestible, while it helps prevent external and internal abrasions. However, it is made of calcium which could be bad to your pet’s health when too much of it is consumed.

But to make sure nothing bad would happen to your pet’s health, we recommend that you mix it with loam or coconut coir to prevent impaction, eye irritation, or any health conditions if your pet has consumed a lot of it. As long as this digestible calcium sand is mixed with an all-natural substrate, your pet would only obtain a bit of calcium which could be good for their health.


When it comes to choosing substrates for Russian tortoise, we recommend that you keep their substrates as natural or organic as possible to make sure it won’t cause health-related problems. There may be a lot of substrates that you can choose from in the market that claims to be “safe” for your pet, not all of them would be ideal for your tortoise. And as a tip, here are the kinds of substrates that you should avoid using; cedar, normal sand, pine shavings, walnut shells, and small pebbles as they not only cause health issues but impaction as well.