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Can You Use Cypress Mulch For Snakes?

Finding the right substrate for your snake is one of the most important things about keeping snakes, and will make a big difference to both your snake’s happiness and the amount of maintenance that you need to do in order to keep the tank clean and fresh. Using the wrong substrate could result in your snake’s enclosure being too wet or too dry, or you having to constantly clean the tank out every few days. It can also result in a bad smell, or – in the worst case scenario – pose a danger to your snake.

Different snakes will have different requirements, so it is important to make sure that you do research on the specific kind of snake you are thinking of keeping before you choose which substrate you are going to use. There are many different options, including newspaper, carpet, paper towels, sand, cypress mulch, coconut, and others, and each has different benefits and drawbacks to consider. Choosing with care should save you time in the future, although you can always switch substrate if your current one is not working for you.

Using cypress mulch for snakes is a great way to keep the tank clean and fresh, and it’s a good option for both tropical snakes and species that like to burrow. More importantly, it’s considered a very safe option, particularly compared with some of the other substrates that may be used.

Can You Use Cypress Mulch For Snakes?

Yes, cypress mulch can be used for snakes, and many people find that this is an ideal substrate, because it offers lots of different advantages. It is particularly useful if you keep tropical snakes as it holds onto humidity well, and it will help to keep the enclosure damp with little extra effort on your part. It is also easy to get hold of in most places and relatively inexpensive.

The biggest advantage of cypress mulch is that it is highly absorbent, so it will soak up moisture, making sure your snake is comfortable and reducing the frequency with which you need to clean out the tank. This can also help with odor control; it has a pleasant, woody scent that will mask any unpleasant odors from your snake’s waste. It’s easy to see when the mulch is wet, so you can quickly identify any areas that need cleaning and scoop them out, meaning you don’t need to clean the whole tank out every time.

Cypress mulch is also loose enough for the snake to burrow in, and this is ideal for keeping some kinds of snakes, such as ball pythons. These sometimes enjoy digging down and crawling through the substrate, as well as just resting on the surface of it. 

Is Cypress Mulch Bad For Snakes?

Some kinds of substrates suffer from issues that make them unsuitable for use around snakes, such as cedar and pine shavings, because these contain toxins that can be harmful to reptiles. However, cypress mulch is thought to be completely safe for use in both the short term and the long term, and it should not be harmful if it is swallowed (unlike options like sand, which can be very harmful if the snake eats them).

Like all natural substrates, cypress mulch can become infested with mites, which is obviously problematic for the snake and can be very frustrating for the owner. Fortunately, there is a simple fix for this: you can just freeze the bedding before you use it, and this will kill off all the mites and the eggs that may be in the mulch.

The only other issue that you may encounter when using cypress mulch is that it is not particularly suitable for snakes that prefer a very arid environment, because it tends to trap moisture. However, if it is properly dried out before it is added to the tank, it should be okay to use, or you can choose a different substrate for desert-dwellers. Overall, cypress mulch is a non-toxic substrate that allows snakes to burrow and helps to absorb moisture, which can make it easier for them to shed their skins and keeps the tank environment cleaner. 

Is Cypress Mulch One Of The Best Substrates For Snakes?

It’s difficult to say which the best substrates are because it does depend on the species of snake that you have, but on the whole, cypress mulch is a very popular choice, particularly for snakes that prefer humidity. It is better than sand, paper, and coconut, and because it is easy to get hold of, it’s the go-to option for many snake owners.

It will keep the enclosure much cleaner and fresher than if you use a non-absorbent material such as paper or coconut, where any waste will stay on the surface of the substrate or seep down to pool at the bottom. You can change small amounts of the substrate, rather than needing to empty the whole tank out, and it may be easier to see when you need to clean.

Cypress mulch is also safer than sand, as your snake might swallow the sand, especially if it likes to burrow in it. If a snake does swallow small amounts of the mulch, they should not be harmful, whereas sand is sharp and could cause small cuts inside the snake’s stomach and digestive system. Overall, cypress mulch is a superior option compared with most of the other substrates, and there is no reason to avoid it unless you have access to another comparable substrate at a significantly lower price.


Using cypress mulch for snakes is a great idea, particularly for people who own tropical snakes that prefer a humid environment. This kind of substrate offers many advantages over the other options: it is easy to clean, reasonably cheap, absorbent, odor free, readily available, and not particularly messy. Furthermore, and most importantly, it is considered a safe bedding to add to your snake’s tank, even if they choose to burrow in it rather than remaining on the surface.