Ball python mulch substrate

What type of mulch from lowes is safe for ball ball pythons? Can someone post a pic of what they use if they’ve had no problems with it, some of the mulch from lowes says no chemicals on the bag but I think there is some chemicals in it because it makes my arms itch and break out into rashes for 2 days almost like poison ivy but without the blisters.
What type of wood should it be?
Is it considered mulch or bark or something else?

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If I am not mistaken, all processed mulch is treated. This would be to help prevent bugs. You braking out when touching it, would be a good indicator. Personally, I would not use any of it. If nothing else, it is colored, so there would have to be something in it.

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Im going to post one other alternative here to the rash issue.

Pine and cedar wood/mulch/shavings/chips have oils that can be/are bad for snakes. Im not sure about cypress.

Some of these oils can also affect humans negatively, so if the organic/chem free mulch is giving you a rash, you may just be allergic.

If the mulch is dyed (black, red, brown are most common) you could also have an allergy to the dye (i would also not trust dye with snakes)

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Cypress would be just about it, as long as it is natural and not dyed. Heat treated is ok, not chemical treated. Some may say aspen, and while it is a good substrate for corn snakes and others, it molds too easily for the humidity you want for your python. @scaledcanvas is quite right cedar is horrible for snakes and can make them sick or stressed. Pine isn’t quite as bad but still contains irritants in the oils. Personally I would not recommend buying anything that isn’t reptile specific, yes I know they cost more but I know they definitely don’t have chemicals or harmful woods. Hey I recommend and use paper towels still to this day! If I were to recommend a substrate it would be coco blocks. I have only heard good things about it! Hope this helps you.


I dont use aspen either as it would get mildew easily but my friend found lab grade aspen and i never heard about that before. Literally no dust, holds humidity and has not mildewed even with multiple mistings. After about 6 months I’m gonna have him give me a small review so maybe this will eventually be a good alternative? I concur with cocoblox