Cheaper bulk bedding products?

Hi guys, I am looking for a cheaper bulk substrate option than the 24-quart bags you get in the chain pet stores (Petsmart for me). I have heard of people using kiln-dried pine bedding, would this be ok to use?

I know many people who use kiln dried pine. But many others who are completely against its use. You can get a bag and see what you think of it and decide for yourself.

I use it for my rats but not my reptiles.


Since pine is toxic to reptiles I wouldn’t use it. I don’t know much about colubrids but @solarserpents might be able to help.

No pine, but you can use the rodent grade aspen. It’s bigger pieces, but it’s much cheaper than the reptile specific stuff. If you really need a bulk amount, you can also buy horse/farm animal aspen in humongous bags! I think feed stores typically have it.

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I know a lot of people swear by getting Organic Coco Mulch/Chips from garden supply stores. (Gotta be organic, you don’t want weird chemical stuff on your reptile of course)

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If you have a fleet farm near you: This is a great option. I know some tractor supplys will carry it, but it’s not listed on their website. You’ll need to call them to check.

You can also check out laboratory supply stores in their area. Many of them will carry Sani-chips or other types of aspen bedding.

I use the pellets for pellet stoves. Ill never use anything else. The wood they are made of drpends on what part of the country you are in.

I found this


Most pine bedding, and all of the cheapest products, are not safe to use due to the presence of phenols. Properly kiln dried pine does not have the phenols in question. The East Bay Vivarium in Berkeley has been using KD pine for a couple decades. That said, I would not recommend it as bedding for snakes. It’s not easy to source in some places.

Wal-Mart has the same size bag of aspen that petco carries for $9.99, that’s the cheapest I’ve paid for it.

I suggest making a screen and dumping any bedding you out over the screen to cut down on the amount of dust.


I buy the rodent/rabbit aspen in 141-L bags from Tractor Supply for all of mine who are older than about 6 months. It’s a coarser texture and much less expensive than what I usually find elsewhere. It’s good for any of the older ones, and good for the budget. Hatchlings have much more delicate skin, so I go ahead and give them the finer shavings you initially referenced.

I also advise steering clear of pine. I do understand that the kiln dried product is theoretically much safer. I also understand that much of the advertised toxicity of pine comes from animals’ cheating on or swallowing it. That said, I likewise understand that occasional production irregularities occur in virtually every product, and my while my snakes don’t chew on wood, they do (despite my best efforts) push bedding into their water dishes from time to time. To me, the potential risk just isn’t worth the relatively small savings.