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Best Tortoise Bedding for 2022

So you’ve got the lamps, the lighting and the tortoise enclosure you need to bring up a happy pet – but did you know that getting a good quality substrate for your little Esio Trot is actually incredibly vital too?

Choosing the wrong type of bedding for your not-so-fast friend can actually have really detrimental effects on their health. It can cause issues like shell rot and respiratory infections. They also can’t give in to their natural instinct to dig. Tortoises can also consume some bedding occasionally, so it needs to be safe for them to eat.

It’s therefore crucial that the choice of your substrate is correct for your tortoise.

Dedicated tortoise bedding is always the best place to start. This way, you know it is made with that animal in mind. A tortoise should be able to burrow into the bedding, but it should also hold its shape and provide moisture so it can absorb water.

Topsoil is ideal to retain moisture, and it also holds its shape. Coconut husk, sphagnum moss, and straw pellets are great choices, too. On the other hand, sand, walnut shells, cedar bedding, or alfalfa pellets should all be avoided. They are all too rough.

Either way, a tortoise should have around 2-3 inches of bedding in order to be able to burrow. This also provides ample cushioning if they were to fall or flip over accidentally.

So to help you solve your tortoise bedding quandary, we’ve gone through all the options available and chosen our favourite selections on the market – so you can find the right bedding for you and your tortoise!

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    Our Top Picks

    Image Product Details
    Komodo Edible Tortoise Bedding
    • Edible Marigold, Rose and Sunflowers to help strengthen immune system
    • Suitable for all species of tortoise
    • Packed with minerals & vitamins
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    Pets At Home Tortoise Terrain
    • Perfect addition to a vivarium
    • Sterilised top soil with limestone grit
    • Can be mixed with other substrates as required
    Check Price

    The Top Tortoise Bedding Reviewed

    Komodo Edible Tortoise Bedding

    Another fantastic tortoise substrate from Komodo, this bedding is perfectly safe to eat in case your tortoise has a habit of munching on theirs.

    It has been blended with flowers, leaves and grasses for a completely natural feel. If they do eat it, the high fibre content will keep everything running smoothly. It is also packed with natural vitamins and nutrients and is able to be used straight out of the packaging.

    You can also use this bedding as part of their diet, in conjunction with a natural balanced diet. Simply place it down on the base of their tank, and it will mean they eat in a foraging manner, which is more natural for them.

    The addition of flowers and other nice-smelling properties means it keeps smells at bay, too. Because it is a completely natural product, there are some twig-like stray pieces throughout, so either get these out or keep a close eye on your tortoise.


    • Edible Marigold, Rose and Sunflowers to help strengthen immune system
    • Suitable for all species of tortoise
    • Packed with minerals & vitamins


    • Weight: 10L
    • Dimensions: 38.9 x 25.7 x 6.9 cm

    Pets At Home Tortoise Terrain

    Sometimes we’re not looking for fanciest reptile bedding in the world, we just want something that does it’s job efficiently, and keeps our tortoise snug, warm and well looked after.

    Because while this Tortoise Terrain from Pets At Home may be a simple enough substrate, it really is a great option for pet owners who keep their shelled shuffler in a vivarium environment.

    Specifically designed just for tortoises, the bedding uses a mix of sterilised soil and limestone grit, which is dust free and great for burrowing. It also retains heat well, and utilises a fine texture which makes clean up quicker and more efficient than it is with thicker or leafier substrates.

    It’s a great alternative for Tortoises who are struggling to get on with pure soil substrates, as the added grit provides a more sand-like surrounding, which still provides all the benefits you would want in a tortoise bedding.

    It’s the easiest way to provide your pet with a comfortable and hassle-free home life!


    • Perfect addition to a vivarium
    • Sterilised top soil with limestone grit
    • Can be mixed with other substrates as required


    • Weight: 1.33 Kg
    • Dimensions: 41 x 23 x 13 cm
    • Size: 10L

    Komodo Straw Terrain

    When looking for the perfect tortoise terrain, it doesn’t get much better than this premium substrate from Komodo, the world’s leading reptile and amphibian care brand.

    Made from 100% natural straw, Komodo have made a substrate that’s suitably soft for our shelled friends, and helps promote the dry or humid environment that certain tortoise breeds thrive on.

    But as well as offering a comfortable quarters for your little Donatello to bask in, this bedding has been developed especially to also ensure the safety and well-being of your hare-fooling friend.

    Eco-friendly, sustainable and biodegradable, the straw pellets are virtually dust free and break down into fine particles when wet. This means they also break down in the same way if accidentally swallowed by your tortoise, reducing the risk of any digestive issues or impaction.

    They’re also ultra absorbent, meaning soiled pellets become easily spotted for removal, reducing the chance of ammonia build-up and making it easy for you to keep your tortoise’s home spotless and fresh-smelling.

    It’s one shell of a substrate!


    • Can be harmlessly digested by tortoises
    • Eco-friendly, sustainable and full bio-degradable
    • Ultra-absorbent - helps to reduce odours


    • Weight: 6.61 Kg (12L)
    • Dimensions: 39 x 31 x 11 cm (12L)
    • Size: 6L, 12L

    Lucky Reptile Tortoise Bedding

    The clue’s in the name with this one, and your tortoise will undoubtedly be thanking his lucky stars should he come home to find this fancy floor bedding waiting for him!

    A special substrate developed in collaboration with breeders and Zoological institutions, Lucky Reptile’s 100% natural, peat based bedding has been specifically designed for tortoises only, unlike other products which cater for several reptiles at once.

    This loose and airy, soil-like substance helps keep vivariums insulated, maintaining humidity levels and stabilising the microclimate you have painstakingly created for your shelled trooper’s life. Thanks to it’s soft and mildew-resistant properties, it’s also odour free, and quickly absorbs active scents attempting to stink up the tank!

    Our favourite feature though is the soil’s tortoise specific pH scale, making it a natural and healthy hatching substrate that is free from any chemical nastiness and even compostable!

    Because every tortoise home needs to be healthy as well as happy!


    • Loose fit, great for digging
    • Specified pH value for tortoises
    • Helps maintain humidity levels within a vivarium


    • Weight: 6.2 Kg
    • Dimensions: 31 x 19.5 x 19.5 cm
    • Size: 20L

    Buying Guide

    How we chose the best bedding for tortoises

    Choosing a good substrate is crucial to ensuring you help raise a healthy and happy tortoise, but with so many mixed messages out there on what makes a good one – it’s often a confusing task.

    They live in conditions that we call microclimates, where things like temperature and humidity are often completely different when observed just a few inches off the ground.

    For example, when it’s very sunny, but has recently rained, you will likely still feel very warm. However for a tortoise, the ground would still be fairly wet, and so their microclimate would conversely be very moist, humid and warm.

    Therefore, whichever substrate you choose, it has to be able to effectively replicate the microclimates your breed of tortoise naturally thrives in.

    Your tortoise is going to spend the majority of their life basking in and around whatever substance you choose and so critically, it needs to revolve around these key features:

    • Easy to dig up
    • Non-toxic
    • Easy to walk on

    All of those featured above are safe to eat in case of accidental (or on-purpose) munching. If something isn’t safe to eat, it could cause gastrointestinal impaction.

    Tortoises require lots of hydration to keep them healthy, and as well as drinking water, moisture absorbed through the air and their bedding can help them keep on top of this. That’s why it’s often a good idea to choose substrates with proven moisture retention which improve humidity and conditions for hatchlings should you require it.

    Annoyingly, you’ll need to get the balance right though to ensure your pet’s well-being, as the difference between a humid substrate and a downright wet one has conversely negative effects, especially if your tortoise breed is a lover of dry climates. Too much moisture leads to a build of bacteria and can lead to problems such as shell rot and infections, while bedding that fails to dry properly will often develop mould.

    Good bedding, therefore, should be able to retain moisture for just a few hours before drying up. You also need something easy to clean, so mould doesn’t develop.

    Although they’re not going to get to China in any hurry, tortoises do have a real love of digging and so finding a substrate that allows them to burrow away carefree. This require a bedding that is easy and fine enough to dig up, but not so feeble that the structure of your enclosure becomes uneven or collapses after one lengthy digging session

    Other Buyers Ask...

    How often do I need to change tortoise bedding?

    You should probably do daily spot cleaning to save yourself a job later, which will also ensure you are keeping your tortoise’s hygiene as sanitary as possible.

    However, you only need to do a full-scale changing of bedding approximately every 2-3 weeks.

    How much should tortoise bedding cost?

    An average 10L bag of tortoise subject should not cost you more than £10, and will usually be around the £5 to £8 mark.

    A larger bulk bag is obviously going to set you back a little more, and for twice the size, you’re often going to be paying twice the price. But if you can find any bulk bag of more than 20L for less than £20, you may save money in the long run.

    Can I use hemp as tortoise bedding?

    Some hemp reptile bedding is advertised as safe for tortoises, but in actual fact, a lot of it isn’t.

    It is usually too rough for tortoises to eat, dig or even walk on. There are some stories of tortoises getting tough pieces of grass and straw stuck up nostrils and in their throat. Always look at other user reviews.