Top 10 Best Substrates for Tegu Reviews 2022

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Best Substrate for Tegu

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As you know tegus are lizards that like to burrow a lot, which means you’ll need to provide them with some bedding that is not just the best, but with a lot of it too. The right amount of bedding that a tegu enclosure has should be around 30 to 60 cm deep. That is a lot of substrates.

But what kind of substrate should you get for your pet lizard? There are several types of substrates out there that you can for your lizard, but be careful to not choose a bedding that is not good for their health such as pine shavings.

Brief Introduction to Tegu Lizards

Tegu is one of the best lizards out there that you can keep as a pet. They are big, very easy to care for, affectionate, and if they have a very good diet, they can live for as long as 20 years. If you are wondering if these kinds of lizards can be tamed, yes they can, but not as tamed as dogs.

When tegus are tamed, they act more like a cat than a dog, therefore, they are really easy to take care of. Hatchling tegus have an average length of 7 to 10 inches, once they into adults, they’ll grow to up to 4 to 5 feet in length and weighs to up to 35 pounds.

The Right Enclosure to Place Substrate

If you are to provide your Tegu with a substrate, your pet should also have a large enclosure where you can place the bedding. If you own a baby tegu, the right of the enclosure for them should measure around 36 x 18 x 17 inches. However, you should keep in mind that young tegus can grow fast.

Therefore, instead of buying a small enclosure for a young tegu, you should rather get one that is appropriate for the size of an adult tegu. An enclosure that measures 6 x 3 x 3 feet is already suitable for a tegu, but if you want the best for your pet lizard, then you should get an even larger one that measures around 8 x 4 x 3 feet, this is suitable for your pet for a lifetime.

With that said, once you have the perfect enclosure for your pet, you can then get the right substrate for its enclosure. Since adult tegus grow about 4 to 5 feet, its substrate depth should be at least 8 inches or deeper as these lizards tend to burrow a lot. If you are taking care of hatchlings, a 3-inches substrate would be the ideal depth for them.

Top 10 Best Substrate for Tegus

Choosing a bedding for your pet can be a frustrating task, as you won’t know which product would be good enough for your pet. As a note, your substrate options for a tegu should consist of Orchid bark, Coconut husk, Cypress mulch, Eucalyptus mulch, or a Do-It-Yourself naturalistic mixture.

Here are the best brands of substrates that you can get in the market. Choose the most suitable one for your reptile:

Zilla Bark Blend

This substrate is loose and light enough for your pet to encourage its natural burrowing behavior. Since tegu lizards need enough humidity, this substrate would be a great choice. This substrate promotes a free and even amount of heat and moisture inside your pet’s tank.

This product is made from natural bark and was even dried up in the oven to eliminate all the pests that it contains. This product is 100% organic. Since tegus have large enclosures, you would need to get enough that can cover the whole or 80% of the enclosure.


  • Also ideal for chameleons, rainforest geckos, frogs, salamanders, and newts
  • 100% Organic
  • Encourages the natural burrowing behavior
  • Distributes an even heat inside the terrarium
  • Affordable

Reptichip Premium Coconut Substrate

Here is another great substrate for all kinds of reptiles. The great thing about this product is that it can absorb the odor inside the terrarium, and perfectly retains the amount of humidity in it. The bedding doesn’t contain any dust which makes it very easy to clean. You won’t even need to mist your pet’s enclosure if you are to use this substrate, with enough substrate depth, it would naturally stimulate your tegu’s burrowing behavior.

Each of the Reptichip blocks measures 12 x 13 x 6 inches when compressed, when it is expanded, it can reach to up to 72 quarts or about 2.5 cubic feet. With that said, measure your pet’s tank so that you can purchase the right amount of coconut husks.


  • 100% Organic
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable
  • Made from high-quality coconuts

Zilla Walnut Shells Desert Blend

If you prefer using sand as your pet’s substrate, you can try using this ground English Walnut shells as an alternative. It is 100% made of ground walnut shells, which perfectly replicates the natural habitats. It can also create an attractive desert-like environment.

For a much better substrate for your tegu, you can mix it with natural soil to help retain the humidity levels well. This product not only stimulates the natural burrowing behavior, but it also works as an excellent heat conductor. For proper caring, remove and replace this bedding at least once a month.


  • Works well for tegus, monitors, bearded dragons, and other dwelling reptiles.
  • 100% made from Grounded English Walnut Shells
  • Available in 5, 10, and 25 Quart bag
  • Great in stimulating digging and burrowing behavior of reptiles
  • Great heat conductor
  • It creates a desert-like environment in the enclosure

Reptile Prime Coconut Fiber Substrate

The Reptile Prime is an excellent substrate for a terrarium set-up for all kinds of amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles. It can also be used for both tropical and desert-dwelling species as this product can be used as dry or damp. This substrate is capable of retaining humidity well, which is perfect for your pet reptile.

Reptile Prime also has the ability to absorb and break down the odor, preventing your pet’s terrarium from having bad smells. It also absorbs liquid waste such as fruit juices, water, and other wastes.


  • Excellent absorption capability
  • The used substrate can be used on plants
  • Perfect for terrariums with live plants
  • Can be used as dry or damp
  • Weighs 6 pounds
  • 100% Organic
  • Made in the USA
  • Biodegradable and eco-friendly

Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding

Unlike other substrates in the market, you can save a whole lot more on this product as it contains more bedding at a very reasonable price. If your tegu’s terrarium is large, you can try getting this product as they also come in packs.

This product is 100% made of natural cypress mulch, which is great in holding humidity well, especially if it is layered with a soil and sand mix on top. This all natural “green” substrate is recommended as a reptile substrate. Aside from tegu’s, it is also ideal for frogs, turtles, salamanders, toads, snakes, tarantulas, and many more.


  • Very affordable
  • 100% made of Natural Cypress Mulch
  • Ideal a lot of species
  • Creates a natural forest floor look
  • Excellent in retaining humidity
  • Mites and beasties-free

Fluker’s Premium Cypress Bedding

This premium cypress bedding is designed to be used on tropical terrariums, but it actually also works well for other types of terrariums. This product is milled twice to prevent from decaying and grow molds in it. This product is breeder tested which is why it is highly recommended for reptile owners. Cypress mulch is known to hold humidity well, which is why it is one of the best substrates for lizards, snakes, amphibians, and more.

This product is recommended as a substrate for its high humidity, but it can also be used for low humidity and desert habitats. To maintain humidity, the terrarium should be misted periodically, while for desert habitats the substrate should only be used dry, using the substrate damp can raise the terrariums humidity levels.


  • Recommended for all kinds of terrarium
  • Can be used as dry or damp
  • Holds humidity well
  • Resists mold and decays
  • Free from mites and other beasties
  • One bag is enough to cover a 40-gallon tank with a thin layer

Zoo Med Laboratories Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum moss substrates are another great option for tegu lizards. It can hold more water and will stay moist for a long time unlike other types of moss. Since the moss stays damp for a long time, it will also mean that the humidity level will also be maintained for a long time. This way you can lessen the number of times you mist your pet’s terrarium.

The natural components of the moss will prevent it from rotting in humid environments, which is perfect for tropical terrariums. This product is packed in a good size, but you’ll have to purchase several or fewer packs of it to cover your pet’s terrarium in a thick layer. The moss is also soft enough for your tegu to dig and burrow too.


  • Soft enough to dig through
  • Stimulates the natural digging and burrowing behavior of reptiles
  • Very easy to clean
  • Does not have an overwhelming smell
  • Doesn’t get moldy or rotten
  • Holds humidity well
  • Stays moist for a long time

Carib Sea Coco Soft Bedding

This substrate is more unique than other coconut beddings, it consists of coarse chip bedding to provide a healthy growth of waste reducing organisms, which helps in keeping your pet’s terrarium fresh between changing. Each pack contains fresh coconut husks to help control the odor better than other products.

Also, unlike other coconut husk substrates out there, this one consists of feather-soft materials to provide comfort and stimulate the burrowing behavior of your tegu. The husks don’t have sharp edges that can make your pet uncomfortable, and will not scratch the glass of your pet’s tank.


  • Feather soft feel
  • Effectively absorbs odor
  • Holds humidity level well
  • Doesn’t contain aromatic oils
  • Non-toxic
  • 100% organic
  • Parasite free

Exo Terra Plantation Soil Substrate

Exo Terra’s tropical terrarium substrate not only works as a great bedding for reptiles, but it is also great for plants as it keeps them alive and healthy. Since tegu terrariums are quite large, there would probably be a couple of live plants as its decoration that can benefit from this substrate.

This product is 100% natural, perfectly safe for your pet’s health. It helps increase humidity level and stimulates the natural behavior of reptiles to dig and burrow into it. If your pet’s terrarium contains plants, make sure to also put some on them as nutritional soil.


  • Can be used as a nutritional planting soil
  • Holds and increases the humidity level
  • Stimulates the natural digging and burrowing behavior of reptiles
  • It consists of 3 packs
  • Does not contain pesticides and other chemicals
  • 100% Organic

Zoo Med ReptiSand

Here is another sand substrate that you can use for your tegu’s terrarium. Substrate sand is free from harmful chemicals and dyes which makes it perfectly safe for reptiles. This bedding can stimulate the natural digging behavior of your pet.

For best results, instead of placing plain sad in your pet’s terrarium, you should try mixing it with organic topsoil, sphagnum or peat moss. This also helps to lessen the amount of soil that you attain.


  • Stimulates natural digging behavior
  • 100% natural
  • Does not contain dyes or colors
  • Works great for desert habitats


All of the substrates that are on the list above work as an excellent bedding for tegu lizards. As a money-saving tip, rather than using a plain substrate for your pet’s tank such as “mulch only”, you can try mixing different types of naturalistic substrates to create an ultimate bedding for your tegu.

As an example, you can try mixing 30% of Sphagnum moss, 15% or Peat moss, 40% of Organic topsoil, and 15% of playing sand. This DIY substrate mixture holds humidity well and will stimulate your pet’s natural burrowing behavior when kept damp.