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Best Tortoise Bedding for 2020

So you’ve got the lamps, the lighting and the enclosure you need to bring up a happy tortoise – but did you know that getting a good quality substrate for your little Esio Trot is actually incredibly vital too?

Choosing the wrong type of bedding for your not-so-fast friend can actually have really detrimental effects on their health, causing things like shell rot and respiratory infections.

It’s therefore crucial that your choice of your substrate is correct for your tortoise species, enclosure setup, room humidity, and temperature.

But with so many different types of bedding available and so many different materials… it can all get a little confusing!

So to help you solve your tortoise bedding quandary, we’ve went through all the options available and chosen our favourite selections on the market – so you can find the right bedding for you and your tortoise!

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    ProRep Hemp Bedding
    • Soft, fibrous substrate
    • Absorbent and dust-free
    • Biodegradable and edible
    • Comes in a huge 25L version!
    Check Price
    Komodo Edible Tortoise Bedding
    • Edible Marigold, Rose and Sunflowers to help strengthen immune system
    • Suitable for all species of tortoise
    • Packed with minerals & vitamins
    Check Price
    Pets At Home Tortoise Terrain
    • Perfect addition to a vivarium
    • Sterilised top soil with limestone grit
    • Can be mixed with other substrates as required
    Check Price

    The Top 5 Best Tortoise Bedding Reviewed

    1.
    ProRep Hemp Bedding

    For those of you after a more natural style substrate, this reptile bedding from ProRep offers all the expected properties of tortoise bedding, except with a softer, more fibrous feel, creating the comfiest of environments for your very own Esio Trot.

    It is entirely made from the dried chopped stem of the hemp plant, which helps form a highly absorbent, dust free and odourless area for your tortoise to inhabit and is completely biodegradable, meaning it’s super safe for swallowing should your wee chomper fancy a nibble.

    If you seem to find you’re going through substrate at a phenomenal rate, ProRep also offers this bedding in a humungous 25L bag, the biggest you’ll find on the market.

    This makes it a fantastic budget option, as well as one of the cosiest creature comforts for your plodding pal!

    Features

    • Soft, fibrous substrate
    • Absorbent and dust-free
    • Biodegradable and edible
    • Comes in a huge 25L version!

    Specifications

    • Weight: 1.33 Kg (10L)
    • Dimensions: 36 x 23 x 10 cm (10L)
    • Size: 10L, 25L

    2.
    Komodo Edible Tortoise Bedding

    Another fantastic tortoise substrate from Komodo, this edible tortoise bedding makes for a phenomenal well-being boosting meal as well as a snug and warm den for your pondering pet.

    Allowing added enrichment and nutrition to your tortoise’s diet, this bedding is actually a carefully crafted blend of  botanical flowers, edible leaves and dried grasses, and is suitable for all breeds of tortoise.

    Included in this mix of mouth-watering goodness is raspberry leaf and super herb nettles, which together provide a dose of potassium, calcium and crude fibre, making them a healthy and immune boosting snack.

    There’s even the addition of some mallow flowers, which provide soothing and anti-inflammatory effects, helping old timer tortoises to relax and feel at ease with their surroundings. So if you find your shelled troublemaker is always munching away on nutrient-free bedding, it really is your best bet to ensure a fitting home for an eventually even fitter tortoise!

    Pleasantly scented for pets and owners, simply place piles of goodness in dry areas of your tortoise enclosure to allow you pal to browse and forage away!

    Features

    • Edible Marigold, Rose and Sunflowers to help strengthen immune system
    • Suitable for all species of tortoise
    • Packed with minerals & vitamins

    Specifications

    • Weight: 630 g
    • Dimensions: 38.9 x 25.7 x 6.9 cm
    • Size: 10L

    3.
    Pets At Home Tortoise Terrain

    Sometimes we’re not looking for fanciest reptile bedding in the world, we just want something that does it’s job efficiently, and keeps our tortoise snug, warm and well looked after.

    Because while this Tortoise Terrain from Pets At Home may be a simple enough substrate, it really is a great option for pet owners who keep their shelled shuffler in a vivarium environment.

    Specifically designed just for tortoises, the bedding uses a mix of sterilised soil and limestone grit, which is dust free and great for burrowing. It also retains heat well, and utilises a fine texture which makes clean up quicker and more efficient than it is with thicker or leafier substrates.

    It’s a great alternative for Tortoises who are struggling to get on with pure soil substrates, as the added grit provides a more sand-like surrounding, which still provides all the benefits you would want in a tortoise bedding.

    It’s the easiest way to provide your pet with a comfortable and hassle-free home life!

    Features

    • Perfect addition to a vivarium
    • Sterilised top soil with limestone grit
    • Can be mixed with other substrates as required

    Specifications

    • Weight: 1.33 Kg
    • Dimensions: 41 x 23 x 13 cm
    • Size: 10L

    4.
    Komodo Straw Terrain

    When looking for the perfect tortoise terrain, it doesn’t get much better than this premium substrate from Komodo, the world’s leading reptile and amphibian care brand.

    Made from 100% natural straw, Komodo have made a substrate that’s suitably soft for our shelled friends, and helps promote the dry or humid environment that certain tortoise breeds thrive on.

    But as well as offering a comfortable quarters for your little Donatello to bask in, this bedding has been developed especially to also ensure the safety and well-being of your hare-fooling friend.

    Eco-friendly, sustainable and biodegradable, the straw pellets are virtually dust free and break down into fine particles when wet. This means they also break down in the same way if accidentally swallowed by your tortoise, reducing the risk of any digestive issues or impaction.

    They’re also ultra absorbent, meaning soiled pellets become easily spotted for removal, reducing the chance of ammonia build-up and making it easy for you to keep your tortoise’s home spotless and fresh-smelling.

    It’s one shell of a substrate!

    Features

    • Can be harmlessly digested by tortoises
    • Eco-friendly, sustainable and full bio-degradable
    • Ultra-absorbent - helps to reduce odours

    Specifications

    • Weight: 6.61 Kg (12L)
    • Dimensions: 39 x 31 x 11 cm (12L)
    • Size: 6L, 12L

    5.
    Lucky Reptile Tortoise Bedding

    The clue’s in the name with this one, and your tortoise will undoubtedly be thanking his lucky stars should he come home to find this fancy floor bedding waiting for him!

    A special substrate developed in collaboration with breeders and Zoological institutions, Lucky Reptile’s 100% natural, peat based bedding has been specifically designed for tortoises only, unlike other products which cater for several reptiles at once.

    This loose and airy, soil-like substance helps keep vivariums insulated, maintaining humidity levels and stabilising the microclimate you have painstakingly created for your shelled trooper’s life. Thanks to it’s soft and mildew-resistant properties, it’s also odour free, and quickly absorbs active scents attempting to stink up the tank!

    Our favourite feature though is the soil’s tortoise specific pH scale, making it a natural and healthy hatching substrate that is free from any chemical nastiness and even compostable!

    Because every tortoise home needs to be healthy as well as happy!

    Features

    • Loose fit, great for digging
    • Specified pH value for tortoises
    • Helps maintain humidity levels within a vivarium

    Specifications

    • Weight: 6.2 Kg
    • Dimensions: 31 x 19.5 x 19.5 cm
    • Size: 20L

    Buying Guide

    Choosing The Right Bedding For a Tortoise

    Choosing a good substrate is crucial to ensuring you help raise a healthy and happy tortoise, but with so many mixed messages out there on what makes a good one – it’s often a confusing task.

    Your tortoise is going to spend the majority of their life basking in and around whatever substance you choose and so critically, it needs to revolve around these key features:

    • Easy to dig up
    • Non Toxic
    • Easy to walk on

    Why Bedding Is So Important For Tortoises

    Because tortoises spend their lives so close to the ground, they amazingly experience things like weather and climate much more differently to us.

    They live in conditions which we call microclimates, where things like temperature and humidity are often completely different when observed just a few inches off the ground.

    For example, when it’s very sunny, but has recently rained, you will likely still feel very warm. However for a tortoise, the ground would still be fairly wet, and so their microclimate would conversely be very moist, humid and warm.

    Therefore, whichever substrate you choose, it has to be able to effectively replicate the microclimates your breed of tortoise naturally thrives in.

    Features To Look Out For

    Moisture

    Tortoises require lots of hydration to keep them healthy, and as well as drinking water, moisture absorbed through the air and their bedding can help them keep on top of this. That’s why it’s often a good idea to choose substrates with proven moisture retention which improve humidity and conditions for hatchlings should you require it.

    Annoyingly, you’ll need to get the balance right though to ensure your pet’s well-being, as the difference between a humid substrate and a downright wet one has conversely negative effects, especially if your tortoise breed is a lover of dry climates. Too much moisture leads to a build of bacteria and can lead to problems such as shell rot and infections, while bedding that fails to dry properly will often develop mould.

    Good bedding, therefore, should be able to retain moisture for just a few hours before drying up.

    Digging Capabilities

    Although they’re not going to get to China in any hurry, tortoises do have a real love of digging and so finding a substrate that allows them to burrow away carefree. This require a bedding that is easy and fine enough to dig up, but not so feeble that the structure of your enclosure becomes uneven or collapses after one lengthy digging session

    Edible

    This one is really important and at the very least your bedding should be able to be swallowed without incident.

    This is because in the past certain substrates that aren’t edible have been known to find their way into a tortoise’s digestive system and remain there, as they are not able to break them down. This causes a gastrointestinal blockage, or impaction, which can later cause a rupture.

    Getting bedding which doubles as food or fibrous materials that are at least safe to consume will help eliminate any such dangers.

    Breed Suitability

    Different tortoises thrive better in different climates. If your breed is used to hot, dry climates, don’t go for a super moisture absorbing substrate and vice versa if they prefer tropical climates.

    Manoeuvrability

    Your tortoise is going to be walking all over this substance every day, and so it needs to be hassle-free for them to make their way easily around their enclosure.

    Try and find the balance between a substrate that is not so thin your tortoise slips through, or so thick and coarse they struggle to walk across it.

    Non-Toxic

    We obviously don’t want to insult your intelligence here, but the point here is that not everything has a big sign on it saying ‘Toxic To Tortoises!’.

    For example certain types of wood release resins that are harmful to certain species and unsterilised soil can often contain fertilizers and chemicals that could be seriously harmful

    The best way to avoid it? Choose a substrate which specifically states it is non-toxic!

    Common Substrate Materials

    The following are materials which are commonly used in many tortoise substrates and so are seen as being generally the best option for your pet.

    These substrates are:
    Coconut Husks
    Aspen Shavings
    Mosses
    Mulches
    Unfertilised soil
    Hemp
    Straw/Hay
    Edible Flowers/ Leaves

    Bedding To Avoid

    Some of these substrates are often mistakenly used by tortoise owners, but if you want to keep your tortoise free for harm, make sure you avoid them!

    Substrate to avoid include:
    Paper
    Walnut Shells/ Corn Husks
    Reptile Carpets
    Rabbit Pellets
    Sand

    Other Buyers Ask...

    What’s the best tortoise bedding?

    We believe the best tortoise bedding would be a mix of Komodo’s Straw Terrain and Edible Tortoise mix packages.

    By combining the two, your tortoise is getting a suitably comfortable, dry and humid environment, with the added extra of leaves and flowers to munch away on and keep them strong and healthy.

    How often do I need to change tortoise bedding?

    You should probably do daily spot cleaning to save yourself a job later, which will also ensure you are keeping your tortoise’s hygiene as sanitary as possible.

    However, you only need to do a full scale changing of bedding approximately every 2-3 weeks.

    How much should tortoise bedding cost?

    An average 10L bag of tortoise subject should not cost you more than £10, and will usually be around the £5 to £8 mark.

    A larger bulk bag is obviously going to set you back a little more, and for twice the size, you’re often going to be paying twice the price. But if you can find any bulk bag of more than 20L for less than £20, you may save money in the long run.