Substrate is a significant 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 won’t do well on bare glass, so it is a good idea to provide them with something to live on. There are many different options available, from newspaper to sand to rock to wood chips. You can find many of them in your home or local pet shop. However, don’t assume safety.
Some are more convenient than others, and some are actually hazardous to your lizard and can cause considerable health problems. Do not assume that just because a substrate is supplied in the pet store, it is going to be safe. Even bedding labeled for leopard geckos may not be a fantastic idea.
Leopard geckos should never be housed on cedar or pine, since these aromatic forests are poisonous to them, and to nearly every other small animal kept as a pet. The substances that maintain these wood chips smelling good are also toxic when inhaled in large quantities or when eaten.
Bear in mind that there’s a good chance that your pet will consume some of its substrate when it catches insects, or in an effort to increase its calcium levels.
This trend is one reason that some people decide to bed their lizards on special calcium-rich sand, as it provides a calcium supplement when ingested, and will not be poisonous. However, there is some disagreement about the digestibility of the substrate, in addition to concern over the use of other forms of sand, because they can cause blockages of the digestive tract.
Health problems may occur with sand beddings, most commonly in young geckos. Aquarium gravel and walnut shells may also be dangerous, as they are small enough to eat, but not big enough to pass efficiently through the digestive tract.
If sand is selected, make sure it’s the best sand you can find, as opposed to 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 must pay careful attention.
If using paper, such as paper or paper towels, make certain it’s blank, or any inks used are non-toxic. This substrate has the advantage of being extremely easy to clean. Just remove the paper and add new substrate whenever it’s dirty. It is not a very natural looking choice, however.
Bark is usually a bad choice, being hard to clean and easy to consume. Reptile carpet, especially made to be used with snakes and lizards, is a washable, easy to clean substrate that comes pre cut into the most popular tank dimensions, but does not offer a natural appearance.
Some people also choose to use ceramic or slate tiles, since these are relatively natural in appearance (unglazed ceramic is better for this than glazed) and offer flat basking surfaces without the danger of substrate ingestion.
Regardless of what substrate you opt to use, make sure it’s clean and free of dangerous objects or substances before putting it in your terrarium. Decide whether you want to simply have the ability to clean it, or if you’ll need to replace it if its dirty, and if a natural look is a significant priority. This will say the best bedding to your geckos.