Although keeping reptiles in general has really seen an increase in popularity within recent years, specifically keeping snakes has seen a huge spike in popularity with corn snakes and ball pythons now being the second and third most commonly kept reptile in the USA behind the bearded dragon in first position.
With so many people keeping snakes these days we commonly see people reaching out and asking a wide range of questions about exactly what people should be doing to try and offer their snakes the best care possible.
One point of snake keeping that is often controversial is the specific substrate that you should use in the vivarium and although there are a number of suitable substrate choices, people are always asking about using sphagnum moss for snakes.
In our opinion, using sphagnum moss for snakes is definitely one of the better substrate and bedding options as it is cheap, easy to use, and very easy to find in pet stores.
Can You Use Sphagnum Moss For Snakes?
In short, the answer is yes! You can most certainly use sphagnum moss for snakes as it offers a number of features and benefits that make it an ideal substrate for many snake owners.
Sphagnum moss is often thought to be one of the superior substrate options for snakes when compared to the other substrates on the market such as aspen bedding or cypress mulch.
This is primarily because sphagnum moss is able to hold a large amount of moisture within it, which is great for some types of snakes that require high humidity levels such as many of the tropical species.
Not only does sphagnum moss hold moisture well, but it also breaks down very slowly meaning that you won’t need to replace it as often as you would with other substrates.
Another great thing about sphagnum moss is that it is very soft which makes it much more comfortable for your snake to walk and burrow through when compared to something like cypress mulch which can be quite sharp.
Is Sphagnum Moss Good For Snakes?
So, we’ve established that you can use sphagnum moss for snakes, but is sphagnum moss good for snakes?
As we mentioned above, sphagnum moss is a great substrate choice for many snake owners as it offers a number of benefits that other substrates simply don’t.
However, it is worth noting that sphagnum moss is not necessarily the best substrate for every single snake out there and there are a few things that you need to take into consideration before using sphagnum moss in your snake’s enclosure.
One of the main things that you need to consider is the humidity requirements of your specific snake species as sphagnum moss is able to hold a lot of moisture within it.
If you have a snake that does not require high humidity levels then sphagnum moss may not be the best substrate choice for you as it could make the enclosure too humid which can lead to a number of health problems for your snake.
Another thing to consider is that sphagnum moss can be quite difficult to keep clean and free of mould and bacteria if it is constantly wet.
This is why it is often recommended that you only use sphagnum moss in a ‘dry’ setup where the humidity levels are not too high.
If you do use sphagnum moss in a ‘wet’ setup then you will need to be sure to check it regularly and remove any mould or bacteria that may be present.
What Do I Need To Consider Before Using Sphagnum Moss For My Snake?
If you have decided that sphagnum moss is the right substrate choice for your snake then there are a few things that you need to take into consideration before using it.
One of the main things to consider is the size of your snake’s enclosure as sphagnum moss can be quite difficult to keep clean in larger enclosures.
This is because sphagnum moss tends to break down slowly and can quickly become mouldy and full of bacteria if it is not cleaned on a regular basis.
For this reason, we would only recommend using sphagnum moss in smaller enclosures or if you are willing to clean it out on a weekly basis.
Another thing to consider is the humidity requirements of your snake as sphagnum moss can hold a lot of moisture within it.
If you have a snake that does not require high humidity levels then sphagnum moss may not be the best substrate choice for you.
Finally, you need to consider the cost of sphagnum moss as it can be quite expensive when compared to other substrates on the market.
How Do You Use Sphagnum Moss In A Snake Tank?
If you have decided to use sphagnum moss in your snake’s enclosure then there are a few things that you need to do in order to set it up correctly.
The first thing that you need to do is to find a good quality sphagnum moss that is free of mould and bacteria.
You can usually find this type of sphagnum moss at your local pet store or online.
Once you have found a good quality sphagnum moss, the next thing that you need to do is to soak it in water for 24 hours.
After the sphagnum moss has been soaked for 24 hours, it will need to be drained and allowed to dry out completely before you use it in your snake’s enclosure.
Once the sphagnum moss is dry, you can then add it to your snake’s enclosure.
You can either add it directly to the bottom of the enclosure or create a ‘nest’ for your snake to sleep in by adding it to one side of the enclosure.
Either way, you will need to make sure that the sphagnum moss is not too close to your snake’s heat source as this could dry it out and make it uncomfortable for your snake to sleep in.
What Are Some Alternatives To Sphagnum Moss For Snake?
There are a few different alternatives that you can use if sphagnum moss is not the right substrate choice for your snake.
One alternative that you could use is coco coir which is a type of natural fibre that is made from coconut husks.
Coco coir is an excellent substrate choice for some types of snake as it is able to hold a lot of moisture within it and is also very easy to clean.
Another alternative that you could use is cypress mulch which is made from the bark of cypress trees.
Cypress mulch is another excellent substrate choice for a small number of snakes as it is able to hold a lot of moisture within it and is also very easy to clean.
A final alternative that you could use is aspen shavings which are made from the wood of aspen trees.
Aspen shavings are a popular substrate choice for some types of snake as they are able to hold a moderate amount of moisture within them and are also fairly easy to clean but we usually recommend against Aspen shavings for snakes.
How Much Sphagnum Moss Should I Use In My Snakes Vivarium?
The amount of sphagnum moss that you should use in your snake’s enclosure will depend on a few different factors such as the size of the enclosure and the humidity requirements of your snake.
If you have a small enclosure then you will only need to use a small amount of sphagnum moss, however, if you have a large enclosure then you may need to use a larger amount of sphagnum moss.
Although this sounds basic, it is often overlooked as the price of sphagnum moss can quickly increase to a level where it’s just not worth it for larger vivarium setups.