Part of the proper corn snake husbandry is giving them good bedding. That said, you’re probably wondering: What bedding do corn snakes need?
Corn snakes need substrates that help regulate humidity and allow them to burrow. Aspen, cypress mulch, and coconut fiber are the top bedding choices for these reptiles.
By the end of this post, you’ll discover some alternative bedding for your corn snake. We’ll also include their pros and cons to help you decide the option that can provide the best care for your pet.
What Qualities Should the Corn Snake Bedding Have?
Using the appropriate bedding in your corn snake’s vivarium is essential. Either it creates a comfortable and safe environment for your pet or provides an unfavorable and harmful one.
Now, here are some of the qualities you should look for in your corn snake bedding:
When choosing a substrate for your corn snake, look for one that won’t irritate your pet’s skin. Opt for bedding that can protect this reptile’s belly, as it slides around its enclosure.
Most importantly, choose a more natural substrate that allows your snake to burrow.
Your corn snake may accidentally swallow grains that are too small. Hence, you should opt for appropriate-sized substrates for this reptile’s vivarium.
Be mindful of chemically treated bedding since it can harm your pet. Only buy from a trusted pet store and not anywhere else.
There are several materials used for bedding, but not all can keep your pet’s vivarium clean.
As much as possible, look for materials with naturalizing properties to prevent bacteria from growing.
Opt for an easy-to-clean substrate that won’t make an instant mess.
What Are the Popular Corn Snake Beddings?
Here are some of the highly recommended substrates for corn snakes, with their benefits and downsides.
1 – Aspen Bedding
Aspen is the most popular and highly recommended bedding for corn snakes. It comes from shaved Aspen wood and is pretty affordable.
It imitates the natural habitat of these reptiles and allows them to burrow.
Advantages of Aspen Bedding
- Has a light color shade, making it easy to spot and remove poops
- Safe when accidentally ingested and won’t cause constipation
- Natural and doesn’t have toxic oils
- Good for maintaining humidity
Disadvantages of Aspen Bedding
- Aspen bedding molds easily when wet, hence you’ll need to change it regularly
- Can be too dry for your corn snake
2 – Cypress Mulch
Similar to Aspen, Cypress Mulch also comes from wood shaved into small pieces. Unlike Aspen, though, it’s a little damper.
This bedding is affordable, readily available, and allows corn snakes to burrow also.
Advantages of Cypress Mulch
- Retains humidity
- Doesn’t hold mold easily
- Doesn’t need to replace regularly
Disadvantages of Cypress Mulch
- Need to bake it first before using it in your snake’s vivarium
3 – Coconut Fiber
Coconut fiber is a green bedding made from coco coir. It’s soft, comfortable, easy to burrow, and environment-friendly.
Advantages of Coconut Fiber
- Good at fighting odors
- Effective in regulating humidity
- Doesn’t hold mold
- Environment-friendly and safe for corn snakes
- Doesn’t have chemicals or toxins
Disadvantages of Coconut Fiber
- Made from tiny particles which can stock on the prey’s fur and harm your corn snake once ingested
- Higher price
- Requires preparation before using it
Corn Snake Bedding Alternatives
Aside from the substrates we’ve mentioned above, there are also other great bedding alternatives.
1 – Lignocel
Lignocel is a good alternative to Aspen. Made from fir and spruce, this substrate is natural and dust-free, so it’s safe for your corn snake.
Advantages of Lignocel
- Doesn’t contain sharp pieces or dust
- Good bedding for your corn snake to burrow
- Absorbent and holds humility well
Disadvantages of Lignocel
- A little tricky to source
2 – Reptichip
Reptichip substrate is made from 100% coconut husks.
This bedding isn’t small enough to cause impaction to your reptile. Plus, it’s chipped rather than shaved to eliminate any dust that can harm your pet.
In general, Reptichip is a premium alternative to Aspen. It’s best to use in enclosures suffering from humid issues.
Advantages of Reptichip
- Sustainable and eco-friendly
- Allows corn snakes to burrow
- Holds onto humidity
- Absorbs poops and peeps quickly
- Can neutralize the smell inside the vivarium
- Safe and natural-looking
Disadvantages of Reptichip
- Difficult to spot clean
- Can get too damp
- Expensive compared to other substrates
3 – Paper Towels
Paper towels are a good option to use as a substrate, especially if you’re on a budget. It’s quite versatile since you can lay it at the bottom shredded, torn, or scrunched up.
Advantages of Paper Towels
- Paper towels are cheap and easy to use
- Soiled paper towels are easy to pick and remove
Disadvantages of Paper Towels
- Unsuitable for burrowing
- Not as good as the other substrates
- Can hold too much water
4 – Hemp
Hemp is also a good alternative bedding for corn snakes. Made from plant stem, Hemp appears to be a soft, fibrous substrate.
Advantages of Hemp
- Allows corn snakes to burrow
- Comfortable and won’t irritate your pet’s skin
- Safe when ingested accidentally
- Resistant to mold
Disadvantages of Hemp
- Can be a bit hard to source
Is Pine Bedding Safe for Corn Snakes?
Beddings made from pine materials aren’t recommended for corn snakes. The compound used to make it smell good and the toxic oils it contains can harm your pet.
Unless the oils are removed through kiln-drying, you should avoid using pine as bedding for your corn snake.
Can You Use Newspaper for Corn Snakes Bedding?
Yes, snake owners use newspapers as substrates for corn snakes.
Newspapers are pretty economical and readily available. They’re easy to replace, helping you keep a clean, sterile environment for your corn snake.
Additionally, such bedding lets you monitor your pet’s droppings, since you can easily spot any parasites or blood in their stool.
However, newspaper bedding has some drawbacks. For one, they don’t replicate the natural environment of corn snakes and aren’t good for burrowing.
It doesn’t hold moisture well either, so dampness becomes another issue. To boot, the inks used on this material may not be safe when ingested.
Can You Use Sand for Corn Snakes?
Sand bedding isn’t good for your corn snake.
The grains may cause abrasion to your pet’s scales. When ingested, it can cause impaction and health issues.
Additionally, it doesn’t trap snake waste, so you’ll need to manage it as soon as possible.
Can You Use Sawdust for Corn Snakes?
Yes, you can use sawdust as bedding for corn snakes. It’s relatively inexpensive, absorbs moisture well, and is easy to clean.
However, it’s important to note that sawdust isn’t the best substrate for corn snakes. Such bedding may have lots of dust, which can irritate your pet’s respiratory system.
Moreover, this substrate can harbor bacteria and mold when not cleaned regularly.
How Many Substrates Do You Need for Corn Snake?
The amount of substrate you need to put into your corn snake’s vivarium will depend on the size of your pet. Juvenile corn snakes typically need one to two inches.
Adult corn snakes, on the other hand, will need two to three inches to feel comfortable and be able to burrow. If you feel like adding more depth, your pet may also like it.
How Often Should You Change Corn Snake Bedding?
How often you’ll need to change your corn snake bedding depends on the type of material you used. However, remember that changing the bedding completely isn’t necessary every time your pet poops.
Generally, these reptiles will excrete a few days after feeding. Instead of changing the whole bedding, you can scoop the soiled part and replace it with a new one.
You can change your corn snake’s bedding once every two to three months. It should be enough to keep your pet’s environment clean and free from bacteria and dirt build-up.
Aspen is the standard bedding used for corn snakes. However, considering that this substrate won’t amaze every snake keeper, alternatives such as newspaper towels, Lignocel, cypress mulch, Reptichip, etc. are great options, too.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.