Substrate is an important concern, as well, and a point of great contention in the leopard gecko community. Some substrates are regarded as safer than others, while some are downright dangerous. There are a few that people have varying viewpoints on, such as sand.
Your lizards will not succeed on bare glass, so it is a fantastic idea to give them something to live on. There are many different options available, from newspaper to sand to stone to wood chips. You can find many of them in your house or local pet shop. But don’t assume safety.
Some are more suitable than others, and some are really hazardous to your lizard and can result in considerable health issues. Don’t assume that just because a substrate is offered in the pet store, it will be safe. Even bedding branded for leopard geckos might not be a fantastic idea.
Leopard geckos should never be housed on cedar or pine, as these aromatic woods are poisonous to them, and to nearly every other small animal kept as a pet. The substances that keep these wood chips smelling good are also toxic when inhaled in large amounts or when eaten.
Bear in mind that there’s a fantastic chance your pet will consume some of its substrate when it catches insects, or in an effort to maximize its calcium levels. Choose a bedding that won’t block its digestive system or be poisonous.
This tendency is one reason that some people choose to bed their lizards on special calcium-rich sand, because it provides a calcium supplement when ingested, and will not be poisonous. However, there is some debate about the digestibility of this substrate, in addition to concern over using other forms of sand, because they may cause blockages of the digestive tract.
Health issues may occur with sand beddings, most commonly in young geckos.
If sand is selected, be sure that it’s the best sand you can find, rather than a coarser builder’s sand, and supply regular and copious calcium supplementation to discourage your lizard from eating it. Many people successfully keep their animals on sand without any problems, but they need to pay careful attention.
If using paper, such as newspaper or paper towels, make certain it is blank, or that any inks used are non-toxic. Simply remove the paper and add new substrate whenever it’s dirty. It’s not a very natural looking option, however.
Bark is usually a poor option, being hard to clean and easy to ingest. Reptile carpet, specially made for use with snakes and lizards, is a washable, easy to clean substrate that comes pre cut into the most popular tank dimensions, but doesn’t offer a natural appearance.
Some people also choose to use slate or ceramic tiles, since these are relatively natural in appearance (unglazed ceramic is better for this than glazed) and provide horizontal basking surfaces without the danger of substrate ingestion.
No matter what substrate you decide to use, make sure that it’s clean and free of dangerous objects or substances before placing it in your terrarium. Decide whether you want to simply be able to wash it, or in the event you will want to replace it if its dirty, and if a natural appearance is a big priority. This will say the best bedding to your geckos.