There is no best bedding for tortoise that works for everyone. What works well for one tortoise keeper, may not work for another cage setting. The bedding choice also adjust depend on your tortoise species, type of indoor setup, room humidity, and room temperature level.
Coconut husk products are the common choice as tortoise bedding for many keepers. If you are considering to use coconut husk bedding in your tortoise cage, this post will help you make the right decision.
#1 What is coconut husk bedding
Coconut husk products are sold as small animal substrates, reptile substrates, soil amendments, and planting mediums. Depend on the manufactures, the exact texture and composition of coconut husk products can be different.
However, it usually comes in two forms: coco coir, otherwise known as coco peat, and coco fiber. coconut coir is ground more finely in texture, while coconut fiber is usually a lot more course, with its longer fibers, wiry in texture.
#2 Coconut coir
Coconut coir bedding is one of the least irritating indoor bedding for tortoises. It is available in loose or compressed form. You can easy get the compressed coconut coir in the market, very light weight, and packages are easy to carry and move, but it will extend multiply in volume when soaked in warm water.
When it is wet, it finely ground coconut substrate resembles coffee grounds. Coconut coir products are totally eco friendly, no negative impact on the environment. They are very popular, easy to find in stores.
However, the disadvantages of coconut coir are that they are very dusty when dry, they may leave a layer of “shell dust” around your room. But when they are wet, they can smell like musty leaves and dirt. Moreover, it becomes soft and spongey when it wet even when you try to pack it tight, making it difficult for your tortoise to walk on.
#3 Coconut chips
Coconut chips are another natural product that popular indoor tortoise enclosure substrate choice as they are natural, nice looking, and easy to find. The advantage of coco chips is that they are good absorbent, can be wetted to increase humidity in the tortoise cage.
Like coco coir, they are also light weight, easy to move and carry. Especially, slightly soiled chips can be washed with boiling water and reused.
Cons of coco chips are they can be very dusty and dehydrating if kept dry. If it becomes dry, its moisture retention can be problematic to your tortoise, as it will try to absorb the moisture away from your tortoise’s skin. They are more difficult to wet than coco fiber and less absorbent.