Substrate and decor for bearded dragons | Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons (2023)

Welcome to Part 5 of the Bearded Dragon Care Sheet: Bearded Dragon Substrates and Terrarium Decorations!

Substrate and decor for bearded dragons | Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons (1)

A quality substrate is very important to the health and well-being of your bearded dragon.Matrixis the designation for the medium that forms the bottom of the housing. Use a substrate medium to create a more comfortable and natural environment for the bearded dragon.

learning points

  • Learn more about the different substrates that can be used in a bearded dragon terrarium
  • Discover ways to decorate your terrarium and make your bearded dragon feel right at home
  • Learn how best to use food and water bowls
  • Find out why offering hidden cabins is important
  • Learn how to use backgrounds to make your bearded dragon feel safer
  • Find out which live plants you can use in your bearded dragon terrarium

There are many different types of substrate to choose from, and some are better choices than others. Let's take a look at different types of substrates to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

calcium sand and playground sand

One of the most popular substrates for bearded dragons iscalcium sandAndplayground sand.Pool sand is a good choice as it tends to be much cleaner than playground sand. Using this sand gives the terrarium a real desert look and is generally easy to maintain.

Calcium sand is manufactured by many reputable reptile suppliers and is available in many different colors. They are made of calcium and look and feel very similar to real sand. This substrate encourages the bearded dragon's natural digging instinct and helps retain some heat in the enclosure.

Playground sand is also another option as it is quite cheap and readily available. Most hardware stores, pet stores, or Walmart sell pool or playground sand. Bake playground sand in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes to kill any potentially harmful germs or germs—just to be on the safe side.

Replace the sand-based sub-floor once a month while removing any dirt.

Frequently asked questions about sand substrates

Using these substrates has one major disadvantage – they lead toimpact problem, especially young bearded dragons. When jumping up, bearded dragons like to swallow small particles of substrate. Over time, substrate particles build up in the digestive system, causing clogs or blockages. Left untreated, an impaction can be fatal. Too bad you usually only realize that your bearded dragon is taking a hit when it's too late.

Use a separate, empty enclosure solely for feeding and temporarily housing your bearded dragon while you clean up the permanent home. At feeding time, remove the bearded dragon from its terrarium and place it in an empty terrarium. Prepare the lining and remove it from loose ground. When feeding is complete, place it back in its permanent terrarium.

This greatly reduces the risk of an impact, but every time the bearded dragon comes in contact with the loose granular matrix there is a possibility of an impact.

We do not recommend using loose granular substrates (e.g. lime sand or ground walnut shells) for young or young bearded dragons. Newspaper, reptile cage rugs, or tile are safer solutions.

reptile cage carpet

Reptiliensandmatteis a synthetic mat specially developed for use in reptile terrariums. It resembles green or brown indoor/outdoor carpets that used to resemble grass.

This is an inexpensive, low-maintenance option that works really well. It's super easy to clean, easy to replace, and relatively inexpensive. It may not be the most attractive substrate choice, but it is one of the safest. The risk of impact is low with this substrate as it does not contain small loose particles that a bearded dragon could swallow.

The reptile cage carpet is easy to remove and clean. Wash reptile rugs with warm water and a very mild soap at least once a week. Be sure to rinse the rug thoroughly and let it dry completely before placing it back in the terrarium. Remove leftover food or feces immediately or as soon as possible. You should replace your carpet at least every 3 months or as needed.

Do not use indoor/outdoor carpets! Instead, choose cage blankets/terrarium liners made specifically for reptiles. Toes can get caught in the loops of the carpet material and cause foot and toe injuries.


Another viable substrate option is newsprint. Newspapers are usually readily available at home and are a simple solution. Simply lay out three or four layers of newspaper to cover the entire floor area.

Replace the newspaper substrate daily. Remove any dirt immediately or as quickly as possible.

While certainly unattractive, newspapers are a very inexpensive option.

The key to success

  • Make your bearded dragon feel more comfortable with quality substrates
  • Reptile rugs, newspaper, or porcelain/ceramic tiles are the best choices for a young bearded dragon substrate
  • Avoid loose, small-grain substrates such as chalky sand, ground walnut shells, or playground sand for hatchlings and young bearded dragons. These matrices have implications

glass container decoration

Terrarium decoration is an essential element in a bearded dragon's home. You can create a natural and cozy habitat for your bearded dragon by adding a few essential terrarium decor pieces.

Next, we look at these must-have terrarium decor pieces to really bring your bearded dragon mat to life.

sun shelf

Your bearded dragon definitely needs a sturdy dogBass Bass.They like to have something to climb while basking in the sun.

One of the most commonly used sun frames is a piece of driftwood or some type of branch. Driftwood blocks are easy to find at most pet stores and relatively inexpensive.

Substrate and decor for bearded dragons | Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons (2)

largerocks and stonesAnother beautiful and practical basking back bass. Many pet shops and garden centers carry high-quality materials for balcony construction.

Whatever you intend to use, make sure you sterilize it before adding it to the terrarium. Boil wood products in a large pot of water to remove potentially harmful bacteria.

Also make sure that the lounger is big enough for your bearded dragon to lie comfortably on. The way the Basking Bass is placed prevents it from accidentally falling. You don't want it to tip over and potentially harm your bearded dragon.

hidden hut

To make your bearded dragon feel safe, here's what you should doOffer him a place to hide.Pet shops have many different styles to choose from and are a great place to hide.

haveFelsenhöhle, semicircular pieces of bark, or get creative and hide them yourself. Just make sure it's big enough for your bearded dragon to fit in and that the entrance is easily accessible.

food and water bowls

Needless to say if nofood bowl.There are many different feeding bowls to choose from in the market today. Most pet stores offer a variety of tempting food bowls.

Make sure you put the food bowl in a place where it can be easily found by the bearded dragon and away from heat sources. Plant-based foods near sunny areas can spoil quickly from the heat of sunlamps.

If you have a very small baby bearded dragon, use a shallow bowl that is easy for your baby to see and reach.

Bearded dragons have difficulty detecting standing water and generally do not drinkwater bowl.However, it is wise to use fresh,dechlorinated water.Make sure the water bowl is not so deep that your bearded dragon will not drown. A shallow bowl less than 1 inch deep should work perfectly.

Empty and clean food and water bowls daily. You don't want to leave spoiled feed in the barn overnight. Change the water daily with fresh dechlorinated water.


Providing a home where he feels safe is very important to your bearded dragon's sanity. We mentioned one way: provide a suitable hiding place. You should also specify onebackgroundon the back of the case for added security.

There are many background options available. Some newer versions have backgrounds of molded Styrofoam and plastic shaped to resemble rock faces and other landscapes. They are inexpensive, light and above all very attractive.

Even a simple aquarium background works well to convey a sense of security.

You can let your creativity run wild and even create your own beautiful backgrounds. Just make sure the materials you use are non-toxic and safe to use. So avoid anything your bearded dragon might eat or swallow.

If there is a lot of traffic around your bearded dragon enclosure, you may want to cover the sides as well so that only the front is visible.

Providing the background gives the bearded dragon a sense of security while creating a more comfortable terrarium.

useful URL

  • Detailed articles on substrates and terrarium decoration
  • Bearded dragon terrarium plants and ornaments
  • Select the appropriate hidden field


the possibility thatDecorated bearded dragon terrariumAlmost endless. You can go as far as your imagination allows you.

Substrate and decor for bearded dragons | Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons (3)

Rocks and blocks of driftwood are common decorations. there are manyfake plantYou can add cacti, desert bushes and more.

It is better to use artificial plants than to add live plants. Bearded dragons are omnivores and therefore love plants, for example live plants. Therefore, the bearded dragon will likely eat all safe living plants within a few weeks.

If you're using a live plant, you need to make sure it's safe. You don't want to accidentally poison your bearded dragon resulting in illness or death.

Here is a short list of live plants that are safe for bearded dragons:

Designing a habitat for a bearded dragon can be fun. Google some really interesting terrarium designs for inspiration!

Funny ornament for a bearded dragon

Substrate and decor for bearded dragons | Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons (4)

Substrate and decor for bearded dragons | Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons (5)

Substrate and decor for bearded dragons | Care Sheet for Bearded Dragons (6)

Continue reading: Part 6

Bearded Dragon Diet: The Complete Guide (2020)

Previous: Part 4

Heat requirements for bearded dragons

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