You need substrate for your Hermann tortoise. Problem is, you don’t know which type to get or which brand is best.
Besides, it’s an incredibly important choice. It’s literally the ground they walk on and what they will spend most of their time upon. It lines the length of the enclosure, after all.
So with this, all in mind, here are the best substrates for Hermann tortoises based on the recommendations of tortoise experts and perhaps, more importantly, fellow Hermann tortoise keepers.
Here are the top three picks:
Let us now review each individual product, weighing up the pros and cons of each one.
Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding
- 100% natural cypress mulch
- All natural green "product"
- Recommended terrarium substrate for many species of snakes, lizards, land turtles, tortoises, frogs, toads, salamanders, tarantulas
👍 Retains moisture and holds humidity particularly well.
👍 Encourages digging and burrowing; behaviors that come naturally to Hermann tortoises
👍 Bedding sizes are large enough to prevent ingestion and complications.
👍 Economical and good value for money.
👍 Ideal substrate consistency with no natural odors or funky smells.
👎 Has been known to arrive wet, where you will need to dry it prior to use.
Exo Terra Forest Bark Substrate
- Reptile terrarium substrate made from 100% natural fir bark
- Controls air humidity levels and is ideal for humidity loving reptiles
- Hygroscopic, readily absorbs and releases moisture
- Stimulates natural digging and burrowing behavior
- 8-quart bag of natural reptile terrarium substrate
👍 Particularly easy to clean and replace.
👍 Substrate is a great size, preventing ingestion.
👎 May require soaking (if it arrives to dry) or drying (if it arrives too wet).
👎 Quality has been known to differ, batch by batch.
Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding
- Only the Best for You and Your Furry Friend: The ideal Bedding for your rabbit, guinea pig, gerbil, hamster, chinchilla, rat, mouse, snake, reptile, or any small animal; Small Pet Select Premium Small Animal Aspen Bedding is a very low-dust, safe, high-quality product that will last
- 100% Heat-Dried All Natural Aspen Shavings: Made in the USA without any harmful dyes, chemicals or additives; Made from wood shavings directly off the tree - so no potentially dangerous fibers that may cause respiratory problems or other health issues; Breaks down easily and organically for safe disposal in your garden, compost, or organic waste bin
- Comfy Is Key: Super cozy and fluffy but still super absorbent; We have developed this product for optimal absorbency which aids in odor control without any added artificial scents; Safe for your pets and for you!
- Recommended Use: Line the bedding inside the pet's habitat; Remove and replace as used; Damp bedding can cause urine scald, so we recommend removing damp spots or soiled areas between changes and replacing the paper bedding every one to two days (or fluffing to prevent large damp areas where your animal stands); Store in a dry place
- Pawtastic Products for Your Pet: When it comes to pet care, quality should never be compromised; Small Pet Select is a family-owned company that handpicks each of our products with love; We aim to deliver the safest, most effective, and highest-quality pet essentials
👍 Very soft and comfortable on the feet of tortoises.
👍 Naturally fluffs up, preventing any accidental ingestion.
👍 Very absorbent.
👍 Has a nice, natural smell ‘woodsy’ which helps keep odors at bay.
👎 Has been known to be dusty.
👎 More difficult to use and can be messy.
Hermann Tortoise Substrate Buyers Guide
What Makes A Good Substrate For A Hermann Tortoise?
A good substrate for a Hermann tortoise is one that retains sufficient humidity (around 70% for this particular species), encourages natural foraging behaviors, and is entirely safe without potentially contributing to health issues.
It’s essential that the substrate you use retains the right level of moisture. Too wet can result in shell rot, too dry and your Hermann tortoise could suffer from dehydration.
Substrate should also not be dusty, which can result in respiratory issues, and should be soft and gentle and easy to burrow into.
This particular species can dig between 8-24″ deep so the substrate needs to allow for this kind of activity. It needs to be relatively giving.
What Substrate Types To Not Use For A Hermann Tortoise
It is not recommended that you use pine/cedar shavings, sand, paper, or alfalfa substrates. All of which can be dangerous and harmful to your tortoise. Whether it is the toxic chemicals and fumes they emit or the complications that could arise from ingestion, there are much better substrate alternatives to use.
How Much Substrate Should You Use For Your Hermann Tortoise?
It is recommended that the substrate sufficiently covers the floor area of your enclosure, and with sufficient depth.
2″ is considered the minimum, whereas 3-5″ would be more preferable.
This will allow your Hermann tortoise with sufficient substrate to dig and burrow, as they deem necessary.
How Often Should You Change The Substrate?
It is considered good practice to change the substrate completely every few months. Although, daily spot cleaning is recommended to keep the enclosure environment much more pleasant and hygienic.
You may want to use a designated tool for daily spot cleans, but be sure to only use that exclusively for this job!
All of the substrate types and brands here will do an excellent job.
Besides, they had to meet strict criteria to be selected. They are hand-picked, after all.
However, if you wanted a standout recommendation and an instant pick, do not look any further than the Zoo Med Forest Floor Bedding.
It’s all-natural; looks terrific when laid in the enclosure, and meets all the needs of the Hermann species.
So check it out 👇
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.