Leopard Gecko, Loose Substrate, Humidity Substrate

Wondering if anyone else has tried the loose substrate with thier leopard with any success? I kept my one of a fine loose mix with rocks and decor so it wasn’t everywhere. But he seemed to be eating way too much of it, passing it fine but I switched him to tile and gave him a little dig area. He’s fine hasn’t been eating it at all. As for my Humidity hide I’ve been using spagnom moss with all of my leopards with no problem except for this one. He seems to be eating pieces when he sheds. I guess he gets it in his mouth thinking it’s shed. He has a hard time passing it sometimes. I thought about switching to an eco earth or something but that’s what his substrate was like before and he was eating that too much. Any suggestions for a better substrate in for him? Paper towel can dry out quick and I see the ones with sponge in them idk. Maybe even large chunks of coco block.

Before getting into leos (i have multiple now their kind of addicting) I had heard many “horror” stories of geckos dying from impaction. The bottom line is I wouldn’t want to risk anything it would be best just to go with paper towels and tile. I have had much success with paper towels (and they are super easy to clean too) considering you said you were using a fine substrate I’m very surprised your gecko didn’t get impacted and die! I would take his dig box out and leave the moist hide in as it helps them shed.

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We use brown craft paper on the bottom of the cage and new Zealand spagum moss in the moist hide. Damp eco earth works as well. Never seen a leo get impacted from eco earth not to say it hasn’t happened just haven’t seen it.

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Someone on this forum actually had their leo die from eco earth impaction, so it can happen pretty easily. Loose substrate of any kind poses a huge risk, since if anything happens, it can mean the death of your animal. Better safe than sorry honestly, and avoid any loose substrate even for a dig box. You can keep a humid hide for them though.

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Impaction only occurs from improper husbandy.

Eco earth cannot be digested so will cause a blockage. Sandy soil mixes are ideal if you husbandry is spot on. We use it in all 34 set ups, with arcadia shade dweller uv kits, a bowl of calcium/magnesium supplied for calcium intake. Livefood is dusted with arcadia pro vit A/ calcium/magnesium/Revitilize D3 on a rota. The only risk is if your husbandry isn’t on point. If It isn’t then it needs to be looked at

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Paper. Towels.

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Thanks,. I know loose substrate is taboo but you’re spot on with calling it a husbandry issue. Paper towels can be an issue if you don’t change them too. I hope to work towards something like that. Arcadia products are limited in supply here, I’m nervous about mixing my own soil just yet. But I know something like the BioDude offers is just mixed by them. The thing I like about the tile is letting a few crickets or dubias or even mealworms loose in the tank with limited supervision. But all three of mine enjoy digging around in some loose. I just like giving them some different options to give their joints a good range. Not just hard or soft. I will stear clear of eco earth for them,. Do you think zilla jungle mix would be ok? (If you’re familiar with that,. Zoomed makes one too but I noticed a lot of Large wood pieces in it. )

I just googled it. It’s more on the woody side than an arid type, and may have issues if consumed. Most organic top soil is sterilized. Can you get that there at all?

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maybe a coco fiber mat?? i think it holds moisture.

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Yeah,. I’ve just been hesitant on any non reptile branded substrate. Which is dumb but everyone says something different about what to use or not. I’m gonna look into it and see what’s available near me. I’ll have to check out the coco mat even if not for them.

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Just a quick remark- never ever leave uneaten crickets loose in a tank. They will eat your gecko if they don’t easily find something else to eat. I tried to save a leo that belonged to the son of a professor of mine after a cricket had eaten a hole into its coelomic cavity, but was not successful.

My opinion with regards to loose substrate is that it’s a foolish and selfish risk to take for the sake of aesthetics. If you set a kid next to a loaded gun, even if you also have a circus, video games, and candy- you are still at fault if they choose to play with the gun instead.

I actually rarely feed them crickets too loud to keep, I prefer dubias they just hide if they’re in there. Again loose substrate may be taboo but it’s not just for aesthetic. I would rather my Leo die than be put into a tank/rack with bare essentials and a steral environment. I’m risking the health of every animal I own by just owning them. Keeping has come a long way, but it didn’t get there only doing what is “best”. Many people keep on loose and many die as a result. Many thrive also.

This is not a smart idea! Even leos in the wild don’t come in contact with loose sand but more packed in rocks and sand. Please don’t even put a dig box as this will kill your gecko! Leopard geckos on tile, paper towel, and other bare substrate thrive in captivity as long as you give them proper enrichment.

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I’m not going for “loose” I’m going replication of packed soil, rocks and sand. But that is still considered loose Substrate. I understand the concern and risk but if I sit there and watch my leopards dig into a compacted soil and scratch around their must be something to it. I don’t want lethargic, derpy lizards. I want lizards that hunt and investigate thier surrounding. Otherwise I’d throw them into a rack system with towel, a single hide , calcium and mealworms. Sounds too familiar.

My geckos are in a large aquarium with drift wood, 3 hides (one a moist hide), a large water dish, and 24/7 calcium. Many people are very good to their geckos and keeping them on not loose substrate is the best bet for a long happy life! Just because you keep them on paper towels doesn’t mean they don’t thrive.

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A bioactive enclousure would be ok Ig as long as the you watch the Gecko while it eats and If you dont want any risk of Impaction you can feed it from a feeding bowl but as you probably know this would expend less energy from the gecko therefore giveing not as good of an exercise you know (edit: Some Bioactive dirts the Gecko can pass if its not in a big amount)

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Though you’re right, feeding from a bowl or tongs lowers risk of impaction, it does not eliminate it. It’s my understanding that leopard geckos will instinctively seek out particulate substrate and ingest it if they are low on calcium. Thus the trick of leaving a bowl of calcium powder in a tank.

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here’s a link to the coco mat

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I was curious about the coco mat, so i decided to check it out, to see if there are any issues with using underbelly heat. I’m still not actually sure, but they have an amusing graphic of the coco mat repelling cartoon germs that made me chuckle. :upside_down_face:

Does anyone know about the impact of one of these coco mats on belly heat?

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It looks like it has a lot of strands, I still want to get some to check it out. I’m iffy on bellying heating much of anything like that. I don’t like the idea of even paper towel on my hot spots. I’m paranoid. I just got over my fear of using a hot spot on * sani chip. Eitherway I still wouldn’t go longer than a month on it, germ defense or not.

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