Snakes are good pets as long as you choose a suitable type for your experience level and select a healthy reptile as your pet. Your snake needs a secure cage of the correct size, made from an appropriate material, and it must be closeable, with a proper lid.
There are several different types of substrate you can use in the cage to bed your snake. Consider their pros and cons to choose the best type for your pet's needs.
Newspaper is a popular snake bedding because it's readily available. You can often get it for free, and it's easy to change when your pet soils it. A snake can't easily burrow in newspaper, so it's best for species that don't burrow naturally. It's not a particularly decorative type of substrate, but it's very good for tight budgets.
Like newspaper, paper towels are good snake bedding because they're absorbent and easy to remove when they get soiled. Simply remove the towels and replace them with new ones when you clean your snake's cage. They're most suitable for snakes that don't burrow.
Unlike newspaper, paper towels are not free, but they're easy to find at any grocery store or big box retailer. You can stock up during sales if you need to save some money.
Sand is a more aesthetically pleasing substrate for snakes than newspaper or paper towels. You can purchase it at pet shops in a wide variety of decorative colors to fit it into an overall decorative scheme.
Snakes can burrow in sand, but it's bad for your pet if it gets swallowed. Ingested sand causes impaction, and grains of sand can get under the snake's scales. This bedding also gets soiled very quickly and must be completely replaced. Weigh its visual appeal against the potential problems.
Carpeting is a suitable substrate for non-burrowing snakes. It's cheap if you use remnants, but you'll need at least two pieces of a suitable size to fit in the cage. One piece of carpet can stay in the cage while you wash the other. Carpeting gets soiled quickly, so you need to be willing to do frequent washings.
Like carpeting, artificial turf works well if you have multiple pieces so you can put a clean piece in your snake's cage while cleaning the soiled turf. This material is very easy to clean. It's also durable and lasts a long time, although its appearance deteriorates from repeated washing.
Although snakes can't burrow in this type of bedding, it tends to be comfortable for them because it mimics real grass. You can buy it at most home improvement stores. Get a large piece and cut it down into several smaller squares that fit your pet's cage.
Cypress mulch is a comfortable substrate for snakes. They can dig around in the mulch, and it retains humidity nicely. It's attractive and has a pleasant, but not overwhelming, smell. You have to remove all the mulch to thoroughly clean the cage. This mulch is cheap and readily available at garden shops.
Always bake cypress mulch in your oven for half an hour before using it as snake substrate. This kills any mites or other insects that might be living among the chips.
Although cedar and pine shavings are not suitable for use in snake cages, aspen shavings make a good substrate. Use these shavings with smaller snakes and those that don't need high humidity. The shavings get moldy from too much moisture, and particles can get under a large snake's scales on its belly, which causes irritation.
You can easily buy aspen shavings at pet stores, since they're a popular bedding type for many different types of pets, including pocket pets like rabbits, rats, mice, and guinea pigs.