Skip to content
Home » Choosing the Best Substrate for Your Tegu

Choosing the Best Substrate for Your Tegu

Tegus are large, ground-dwelling lizards that love to dig and burrow. When choosing a substrate for your tegu’s enclosure, it is important to consider their needs and preferences.

Tegus love to dig and burrow, so you should provide a varied substrate that will allow them to do so.

A good substrate option is a mixture of newspaper or butcher paper as a base, with large sections of topsoil, cypress mulch or aspen bedding. This will give them a variety of textures to explore and burrow in.

If you have to pick a single type of bedding, then cypress mulch is your best option. This type of substrate will resemble a natural tropical forest flooring and is ideal for humidity-loving reptiles such as tegus.

This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon associates we may earn a commission for eligible product purchases. This is at no additional costs to you.

tegu lizard on brown sand
Photo by Mateo Franciosi on

Cypress Mulch

Cypress mulch is a good choice for tegus because it is soft, absorbent, and has a pleasant smell that tegus seem to enjoy. It is also less likely to cause blockages in the digestive tract than other substrates, such as sand.

Cypress mulch is made from the bark of cypress trees, and often comes labeled as “forest” bedding. It is a good choice for tegus of all ages, and it is relatively inexpensive.

SuperMoss Galápagos Cypress Tank Mulch Forest Floor BeddingJosh’s Frogs Super Cypress Reptile MulchZoo Med Forest Floor BeddingFluker’s Premium Tropical Cypress Bedding for Reptile
Browse More Options

Aspen Shavings

Aspen shavings are another good option for tegus. They are also soft and absorbent, and they are less likely to mold than cypress mulch.

However, they are not as pleasant-smelling as cypress mulch. Aspen shavings are made from the bark of aspen trees, and they are available in a variety of colors.

Ideally, use aspen shavings as an addition to cypress mulch to allow for easier burrowing.

Galápagos Aspen Digs Shavings BeddingZoo Med Aspen Snake BeddingBNOSDM Premium Natural Aspen Bedding for Snakes
Browse More Options

Newspaper or Butcher Paper

Newspaper or butcher paper are inexpensive and easy to find substrates that are also non-toxic and easy to clean.

These are a good option for tegus that are still young or that are prone to ingesting substrate.

Newspaper and butcher paper are not as absorbent as other substrates, so they will need to be changed more frequently. However, they are a good way to keep your tegu’s enclosure clean and free of odors.


ReptiSand is a sand-based substrate that is designed for reptiles that live in desert or sandy environments.

Sand can be added to a tegu’s terrarium to provide a more diverse environment and burrowing opportunities.

A good mixture for tegus would be 40% Reptisand, 20% organic topsoil, and 10% coconut mulch

It is available in a variety of colors, and it can be used to create a variety of substratescapes.

Eco Earth

Eco Earth is a coconut-fiber substrate that is good for tegus. It is absorbent and helps to keep the enclosure clean. However, it can be dusty, so it is important to wet it before using it.

Eco Earth is made from coconut husks, and it is available in a variety of forms, including bricks, loose fiber, and pellets.

It is a good choice for tegus of all ages, and it is also relatively inexpensive.

Leave a Reply