Bedding for bps

So I bought a banana boy at the last reptile show. I’ve wanted one for so long. He died today. Only had him for 3 weeks. His set up is the same as my other 5. I use aspen snake bedding and have had no issues. Everyone eats and sheds fine. I messaged the breeder I bought him from and he’s basically saying aspen is bad and that’s why he died.

Thoughts? Do I need to change bedding?

Thanks for the help in advance. I love my noodles and just want the best for them.

First of all, I am so sorry for your loss, but I would definitely not use aspen. It doesn’t hold humidity adequately, is super dusty which is bad for their respiratory system and it can be moldy

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3 weeks on aspen would not kill a BP. What were your temps and humidity at? It had something else wrong with it if it suddenly died after a short while on aspen. Did you notice anything wrong with it? If you can, put the animal in the refrigerator and schedule an necropsy asap. Could he have ingested some of the bedding?

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It depends on the kind of aspen bedding. It isn’t anymore dusty than other loose substrate, as even coconut bedding is dusty. If they live in a humid place, then aspen might be good given high humidity can make a BP ill too. If kept dry it shouldn’t be moldy, and 3 weeks on it would not kill a snake even if it was. It would likely just cause an RI if anything, and that takes a while to kill a snake and is noticeable.

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While I also doubt 3 weeks on aspen would be enough to kill a snake, it’s still not a good bedding. It’s way more dusty than coconut fiber. I live in a place that’s about as humid as it gets and coconut fiber keeps the humidity at perfect levels. Cocoanut fiber/cypress chips are better and safer choice for snake bedding

Aspen if fine I have been using aspen for 14 years without issue there is no best bedding it depends on needs and conditions.

The only way to know what happened and even than it might not be conclusive would have been to put the body in the fridge and take it to a vet for a necropsy.


To weigh in on the humidity issue, I mix my aspen with sphagnum moss and I find it holds it better (for my particular house) then the chunky coco-block bedding that I’ve used in the past, and honestly way more cost effect for my needs and set ups. One bag of cocoblox barely fills all my enclosures, and that’s if I skimp on the ones that like to burrow. Whereas a big’ol bag of aspen and a couple of $5 bricks of moss will get me threw like 3-4 deep cleans of the whole collection.

As for the dust issue, I have to agree it really does come down to the brand. There are 2-3 different brands in my area that I’ve tried (though I do want to try sani-chip), and the one I like the most is Petsmart’s sophresh, and the dust isn’t any worse than cocoblox (though if you do get a particularly bad batch/brand I’d recommend spraying it down with water to help it settle once you’ve poured it out of the bag. You don’t really notice the dust with cocoblox because you soak it before hand. But I’m looking at a dry bag that I have left over right now and it’s dusty AF).

I’m not trying to say one is better than the other, they both have their time and their place. And certainly if you feel safer not using aspen for your particular circumstances than that’s your choice, I would never fault anyone for that, but aspen really isn’t any worse for your snake than cocofiber or cypress if you get a good brand that works for you and your home/natural environment.

But to get myself back on topic, @dogsledder2010, I’m so sorry you lost your snake. That’s never an easy thing, especially when it’s sudden. If you’re not having any issues with your other snakes then I doubt it was the bedding. But honestly you never now. Was it shredded aspen?

One of mine ended up getting a sliver stuck in their mouth before I switched to the chipped kind and it got infected. Maybe that had something to do with it? If a piece got lodged somewhere along the line?

I highly doubt your snake died from Aspen bedding

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He was fine other than he didn’t want to eat. Tried live and frozen. I wasn’t super worried because my one girl did the same thing when I brought her home.

Temp on heat mat around 90 and cool side about 75. Humidity about 65%.

Thank you. He was my favorite boy.

I’ve been using zoomed aspen bedding, yea shredded. That’s what I’ve been told to use by the breeders I got my others from. Like I said, no issues with the others.

If I need to switch it I am more than willing to do so.

He’s telling me that’s why he died. Blaming me. Very upsetting

I live in Kentucky. Does get humid. I can switch to coco fiber if that’s best.

I wouldn’t switch given coco fiber has a higher dust amount, and can raise humidity and you don’t want it higher than you have it. The only way to tell what happened is a necropsy.

I put him in the freezer. Probably not able to do a necropsy now right? Also not sure if anyone around me does that.

Unfortunately the extremely low temperature in the freezer will likely break down tissue within the animal making it difficult to do a autopsy.

This is why a fridge is recommended as it preserves tissue and bacteria while slowing down the internal processes of death. I would switch it to the fridge as soon as possible to help preserve the necessary tissue.

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Aspen bedding did not kill your snake. I have used it for close to 15 years for many different species of snakes and never had a problem. It’s hard to say what the cause was if he was already an established feeder. Really sucks to lose any animal though. Keep everything clean and sanitized as often as you can.

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