Is Reptisoil Safe For Leopard Geckos? (Quick Answer)

Can Reptisoil use for leopard geckos? Or Is Reptisoil Safe For Leopard Geckos? The substrate for leopard geckos is a contentious subject. Many sites advise against using loose substrate (sand, soil, etc.) out of concern that unintentional intake could result in intestinal blockage.

This illustrates folklore husbandry, which substitutes popular myth and pseudoscience for science and reality in the care of leopard geckos. Our recommendations at ReptiFiles are based on data from science, not rumor. The ideal substrate for harboring leopard geckos may be a loose, realistic substrate.

Is Reptisoil Safe For Leopard Geckos?

Given that it has a mixture of dirt, sand, and clay, ZooMed’s ReptiSoil appears to be the most outstanding candidate; yet, I have seen others claim that it is a poor substrate. If the Reptisoil is applied dry, the substrate is very dusty and could become lodged in the animals’ eyes. It must be used damp.

Is Reptisoil Safe For Leopard Geckos 1

Suitable Leopard Gecko Substrates

The ideal substrates for leopard geckos are those that ReptiFiles advises using. These substrates should be buried at least 3 inches deep to encourage natural burrowing.

  • ReptiSand from Zoo Med: Quartz desert sand that is naturally occurring is used as the substrate. It is generally in two colors, white and orange, but differs from calcium sand in that it is free of chemicals and dyes. (If you have concerns, continue reading for our comment about sand.)
  • Reptile Substrate from the Jurassic Sands: This substrate is natural, pre-washed sand from dunes. It claims tiny particle size, minor dust, and lower abrasion and impaction danger. It eliminates odors and clumps like cat litter for simple waste removal. (If you have concerns, continue reading for our comment about sand.)
  • The Lugar Natural Reptile Bedding can be wetted down and left to dry, resulting in a solid substrate resembling packed soil. Geckos can still dig burrows in it, and it’s not too difficult to clean.
  • DIY Naturalistic Mix: 20% Excavator Clay, 40% Organic Topsoil, and 40% Sand. Mix thoroughly, let it sit until muddy, and then compress it tightly into the enclosure’s bottom. Before adding the gecko to the setup, ensure it is scorched to prevent illness brought on by high humidity.
  • Bioactive: Setups for bioactive terrariums are intended to resemble a reptile’s natural habitat and to encourage natural behavior. It’s ideal if you want to build your leopard gecko a bioactive home. To get started, join this Facebook group.

Normal Leopard Gecko Substrates

Although these substrates are not ideal, they shouldn’t be harmful. These are suitable substitutes for loose substrate if impaction is an issue.

  • Paper towels are inexpensive, absorbent, and simple to refill. If wet, it needs to be replaced right away. Useful for quarantine setups.
  • Tile made of slate is simple to remove, clean, and excellent at retaining heat—better-looking than paper towels.
  • Reptile sand mat: Since all the “sand” particles are attached to the mat like gentle sandpaper, there is no chance of impaction. However, this texture can make cleaning difficult.
  • Zoo Med Excavator Clay: Beautiful and realistic but challenging to assemble or maintain. When wet, this material can be molded like clay; it becomes incredibly rigid after drying. But if improperly made, it does crumble readily.

Bad Leopard Gecko Substrates

  • Linoleum
  • Reptile carpet
  • Shelf liner
  • Aspen shavings or chips (Sani-Chips)
  • Ground walnut shell
  • Coconut fiber (Eco Earth, Plantation Soil, etc.)
  • Zoo Med ReptiBark

These substrates represent a serious impaction risk to leopard geckos if they are unintentionally consumed and release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can make your gecko very ill. Stick to the checklist in the previous section and steer clear of these substrates at all costs.

What’s The Big Deal About Loose Substrate?

Leopard gecko substrates like sand and other loose materials are up for debate. Many keepers believe switching to sand can kill a Leo within six months, while others contend that they’ve never noticed any harmful effects.

Claims that sand causes lethal impaction in leopard geckos by hardening into a cement-like sludge inside their intestines tend to support the most vital viewpoints. It is true that calcium carbonate-based substrates, despite their claims to be “digestible” (All Living Things Calcium Sand, Zoo Med Vita-Sand, etc.), can neutralize stomach acid, leading to additional digestive problems.

What’s The Big Deal About Loose Substrate

Sands with a lot of dust also have the unsavory habit of infecting and injuring reptiles’ eyes. A leopard gecko’s lungs can become clogged with dust particles, which is dangerous if the sand contains silica.

Sand must be nasty. Sand is secure for use with leopard geckos, but only if it is utilized appropriately, according to our findings after doing a lot of studies and deliberating on the subject here at ReptiFiles.

Leopard geckos can be safely used with pre-washed, silica-free play sand or fine-grain dune sand, such as Zoo Med ReptiSand and Jurassic Reptile Substrate (mentioned above). However, we suggest combining it with organic topsoil for the best results.

Best Leopard Gecko Substrates


Bioactive enclosures are microcosmic habitats containing live plants, natural soil, and a “cleanup crew” of living bacteria to decompose trash. Bioactive substrates closely resemble leopard geckos’ native habitat.

Multiple layers of gravel (for drainage), soil, and clay mixtures make up a bioactive substrate. Additionally, it features branches and natural plants.

This substrate has a highly natural appearance and draws attention to your leopard gecko’s unusual and wild appearance. Additionally, it enables your gecko to engage in behaviors similar to those found in the wild, like burrowing, digging, and searching for small arthropods to consume.

A bioactive substrate also has the significant advantage of requiring far less cleaning than other substrates due to the different species that dwell there. Bioactive enclosures need little upkeep after being set up and adjusted for temperature and humidity. The dark, organic portion of your gecko’s excrement will be broken down by the “cleanup crew” and helpful bacteria, while the white urates should still be eliminated.

Unfortunately, it’s the hardest to set up on this substrate correctly. A bioactive enclosure requires a lot of money and effort to set up. Additionally, a thorough understanding of horticulture and self-sustaining ecosystems is necessary. Your reptile tank will cost anywhere from $75 to $300, depending on its size.

Homemade Blended Substance

A DIY substrate is significantly less expensive than a bioactive setup. It is easy and inexpensive to give your gecko’s enclosure a distinctive, natural appearance.

We advise mixing organic topsoil, play sand, and clay 50:30:20. Beach or calcium sand should be excluded from the mixture. Make sure there are no pesticides or fertilizers in the soil or sand.

Consistency varies a little bit from DIY mix to DIY mix. This substrate, however, maintains its structure while being malleable enough for your gecko to burrow through. If you use a blended substrate, mix it up and add it to the tank before putting your lizard in it. This will allow you to change the temperature while watching the substrate’s stability develop.

Clay Excavator clay and self-hardening clay are two familiar names for clay offered at pet stores. The clay becomes pliable when combined with water and can be shaped into ledges, tunnels, and caverns. The clay will solidify as it dries. Due to its dryness, this clay is very simple to spot-clean. Excavator clay, which is appropriate for a 20-gallon long terrarium, usually sells for $10 to $15 for a 10-pound package.

Clay retains heat well, feels natural to geckos, and lends an organic appearance to enclosures. Numerous herpetologists find it to be quite popular. However, it is difficult to replace and can be dirty before including your reptile; plan and build clay structures for the best results.

Reptile Floor

Reptile carpet is a particularly popular substrate for many types of reptiles, including bearded dragons and leopard geckos.

The carpet is gentle and abrasion-free. It strikes a decent balance between an artificial substrate (like bioactive) and a natural substrate (e.g., newspaper). It is equally absorbent but more beautiful and environmentally friendly than paper towels. Pet retailers provide rolls of reptile carpet for $5 for 10″ × 20″ rolls and $20 for 15″ x 48″ rolls.

We advise buying two rolls so you may use one in the enclosure and wash the other. Unfortunately, this lessens the substrate’s cost-effectiveness, especially given that it needs to be changed every five washes.

Reptile carpet is an excellent option if you don’t mind spending more money over time. It is a superior substrate with no possibility of impaction.

Paper Towel Or A Newspaper

A simple, affordable, and secure leopard gecko substrate is newspaper. It is extensively used for various geckos and is particularly helpful for young ones who produce a lot of waste and are more susceptible to impaction. Two layers of paper towels or newspaper should be spread in a tank.

Paper towels should be placed on time over an under-tank heater. They might become too heated, in which case a cardboard barrier layer is needed. Using an infrared temperature gun, you may check the surface temperatures to ensure they are not excessively hot.

Paper towels need to be changed every week because they are absorbent. One newspaper should be consumed per month for a 20-gallon enclosure.


A flooring material that resembles stone or hardwood is linoleum. This simple-to-install substrate works well for leopard geckos but has a significant drawback. The installation process of peel-and-stick Lino is its biggest drawback.

As a result, once installed, it is incredibly challenging to remove. The intense heat of a leopard gecko’s habitat can also melt the adhesive glue. At around $5 per square foot, linoleum is relatively affordable. It is lightweight, flexible, and available in a number of styles, such as stone tiles, wood slats, or ceramic.

Linoleum can be easily cleaned by wiping it down with a moist towel and a non-phenol cleaning solution. There is no requirement to replace linoleum as long as it is cleaned often. It is a stable and sustainable substrate.


Although shelf liner can seem like an odd substrate, it can be used. An 18″ x 100″ roll of standard shelf liner costs $12 at a hardware shop, is cheap, can be bought in quantity, and is easy to use. Look for one that is not perforated and does not have an adhesive backing.

Shelf lining is a practical, secure, and affordable substrate despite not being beautiful or natural. The fact that the shelf liner is an insulator and not a conductor is the main issue with using it. To raise the liner to a comfortable surface temperature for basking, you need to boost the output of your heat fixtures.

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Do you understand Is Reptisoil Safe For Leopard Geckos? The environment can impact the contentment and well-being of your leopard gecko. You are not alone because there are many other viewpoints. Combining the convenience of cleaning up after your pet with the gecko’s natural habitat is essential.

Nevertheless, choosing the incorrect substrate can negatively affect your gecko’s quality of life. Leopard geckos typically survive between 10 and 20 years in captivity, substantially longer than the recommended two years.

The ideal substrate should be risk-free and not encourage bacterial growth that could lead to sickness in your gecko. To keep your little one (or girl) happy and active, it also needs to allow for natural behaviors like hiding, digging, climbing, and burrowing.

A layer of gravel for drainage, soil, and clay mixtures is the foundation of a bioactive substrate. Next, live plants and branches are added. These require little care once set up and “fine-tuned” for temperature and humidity, although they are not always straightforward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Reptisoil a reliable substrate?

The ideal tropical environments can be created with Zoo Med’s Reptisoil, a specific blend of peat moss, dirt, sand, and carbon that is excellent as a platform for egg laying and burrowing that supports the growth of live plants and natural behaviors. Carbon addition promotes drainage and aerates the soil.

Are leopard geckos safe to eat repti fresh?

The first substrate for reptile terrariums that eliminates odors is called ReptiFresh®. Bearded dragons, Uromastyx Lizards, Leopard Geckos, desert kinds of skinks, geckos, Agamid Lizards, and Sand Boas are among the reptiles that can use ReptiFresh®.

Does Reptisoil need to be moistened?

Application of dry Reptisoil results in an extremely dusty substrate that can become stuck in the animals’ eyes. One must apply a wet cloth to it.

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