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There are many substrates used for leopard geckos, however, loose substrates are not good for their health. Never ask for advice about substrates from pet stores, since they usually have little to no knowledge about proper leopard gecko care and will suggest sand. Sand is a bad choice of substrate for the most part, because it can likely cause impaction. However, there are incidents where people have used regular play sand or fine-grained calcium sand for adult leopard geckos. Both of these can still cause impaction if large amounts are consumed. Leopard geckos often consume sand or any other loose substrate when lunging at crickets. Leopard geckos have also been known to 'lick' calcium sand to satisfy their need for calcium. The packaging of the calci sand I bought claimed it was perfectly safe for reptiles and healthy if ingested. This is not true (there are no laws regulating the claims of herp products). Calci sand will cause impaction just like any other type of sand. Here's a list of good and bad substrates.

Good substrates

  • Solid non-adhesive shelf liner
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper
  • Brown paper bags
  • Slate or ceramic tiles
  • Reptile carpets
  • Large rocks(for bottom only, or if built for a hide use silicone to prevent rocks from collapsing and injuring your gecko. Make sure to let the silicone dry completely for 2 days before putting into your tank )
  • vermiculite

Bad substrates

  • Mulch(wood pieces)
  • Sand(any type - can cause impaction )
  • Soil
  • Pebbles
  • Shredded wood
  • Any Loose Substrates