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May 05, 2005

Eco Earth and Forest Bed Substrate

Below is the substrate that I use in my chameleon's pen, Eco Earth. (Here is the link to how I use the substrate, which is not simply lining the bottom of the pen with it). The current page is about the substrate itself, as opposed to how it is used.

Forest Bed, Eco Earth, Substrate

The "Forest Bed" pictured to the left is a different brand from Eco Earth, but ultimately the same thing: ground up coconut husks pressed into bricks. You can often find both in a pet store, often with different prices, though I can't imagine why - they seem to be the same weight (though one brand makes a smaller, more dense brick than the other). What's neat about the link to the Eco Earth I've been using here is that it's only $5.99 for 3 bricks. The lowest price I've been able to find where I live is $4.99 per brick. Of course you have to factor in shipping, which if you bought nothing else you'd get as inexpensively as $5.95, for a total cost of $11.94. That's a savings of $3.03 as compared to the stores around here (sales tax may present yet a greater savings). The Internet rocks! Anyway, moving swiftly on....

Forest Bed Substrate Expanded

The instructions say to add 1 gallon - 4 quarts - of water to a container with the brick to expand the substrate, but because I want the substrate bone dry before I put it into the chameleon's pen, I use as little water as possible. In the case of these pictures, I first used 3 quarts of water, which ultimately wasn't enough, and I needed to add another 2.5 cups. You can see how large the brick grew after absorbing the water! (The measuring stick is 8 inches long.)

Forest Bed Prepared

Drying the Eco Earth substrate is the major pain in the asterisk about using it. Consider what your climate is like, then ask yourself how long you think it'd take to evaporate a gallon of water from a bucket into the air. That's about what you have to expect when it comes to drying that gallon of water out of the substrate. It can take days. For this reason, it's a good idea to have it prepared and dried out long before you anticipate needing to use it.

Drying Forest Bed Substrate

To dry it, I put it out into the sun using a method which will help to prevent any breezes from either blowing it away, or blowing foreign debris into it. In this case, I used a box, open on one end to the sun, and kept the other sides up to block the wind. It took a few days, considering it was done in April when the temps aren't too high and the humidity is.

Dried Forest Bed Substrate

You'll notice that when it's completely dry its color will have reverted back to the color of the original pressed brick. At that point it's ready for me to use. Dryness is important given my method of hydrating my chameleon - but that's an entry for another day! (Check back soon.)

If you're interested in seeing a time lapse video of the expansion of the bricks, you may see it at the link below. However, because the video is such a large size, and because I don't want people embedding it on outside websites, I've placed it within a protected area of this website which requires a username and a password. They are:

Username: Veiled
Password: Chameleon

Note that they are CaSe SeNsItIvE

"Expand" AVI file (12.0 MB) (MediaPlayer or RealPlayer)

"Expand" animated gif (26.33 MB)

Posted by Jeff at May 5, 2005 10:27 PM



I just bought 4 packages! Twelve bricks!!! It came to $31.49 with tx and shp. Thats 1/2 price per brick compared to stores!

Posted by: Jango at May 6, 2005 10:43 AM

Hmm. I typed "Veiled" and "Chameleon" more times in the last five minutes to get the clip to work than I've ever typed either of those words before. LMAO!

Cool and neat posting, Jeff.

**blog envy**


Posted by: kenny at May 7, 2005 04:41 AM

If you really want a cheap price for Eco-Earth on the internet... I buy mine here...

$3.89 a three-pack.

Posted by: Tracy at May 31, 2006 10:01 AM

@Tracy: Thanks! But things are not always as they seem.

Assuming that you're on PetsMart's mailing list, they'll be sending you out coupons for FREE SHIPPING every couple of weeks. Yesterday, from PetsMart, I bought 10 packages of Avi-Cakes for cockatiels, and 3 jars of Cricket Quencher. Just now, after reading your link, I comparison shopped, and the shipping on that from the link you gave would've been:


That's huge.

It's offset a bit by PetsMart charging tax, however, but the bottom line:

1) The link you gave: $47.04

2) PetsMart: $47.30

Still a win for your link, right?

Again, not all is as it seems. The link you gave didn't have everything I needed (or I couldn't find them). Cricket pillows, for example:

Cricket Watering Pillows: http://www.veiled-chameleon.com/cgi-bin/newfront/link.cgi?af=pm&pd=cricketpillows

So getting those with my order required buying from PetsMart.

Also, the Avi-Cakes which I buy for my bird are sometimes stale (any tiny hole in the package will make them dry as hard as concrete). It's important to be able to return them to a local store.

Bottom line: Same price (once free shipping is considered), but greater selection and convenience through PetsMart.

Incidentally, the current free shipping coupon code is: PAWS60M (only good until June 4th, 2006; $50 minimum purchase).

Posted by: Jeff at May 31, 2006 03:20 PM

Nice site with good info. FYI: The Eco Earth link at top no longer works. Pet Smart still has it, though, this should work. Here's the plain link, in case your comments program doesn't allow for hotlinking: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752603&cp&kw=eco+earth&origkw=eco+earth&sr=1

Posted by: Red Marilyn at October 15, 2007 06:29 PM

awesome blog!! thanks a lot :) really helpful, looking into buying eco earth for my snakes, but still looking into it and your site helped a lot! sweet cameloan (sp?) by the way!!

Posted by: caroline at August 2, 2008 01:57 PM

You can also squeeze the water out of the stuff. It works for me. I grab a handful of it...squeeze the crap out of it, and set it in w/e it is I plan to dry it on and grab another handful. More work but it seems to dry out in just hours

Posted by: Sean at August 5, 2008 06:53 PM

i use it for my california king Caroline. Not sure what kind of snake you have but mine always seemed to want to burrow. I put a few bricks worth in the tank, enough to make it about 5-6 inchs of the stuff maybe a bit more, and she loves it. If your got a more...terrestial I believe is the word...corect me if Im wrong, I think its only natural for them to want to find a hole to hide in. I also put the stuff in the tank when its slightly moist still. Not sure fi it helps or not but I can see every little hole my snake uses. Where she burrows and all that. Kind of entertaining =)

Posted by: Sean at August 5, 2008 06:57 PM

My female chameleon Crystal looks like should is carrying eggs. How much sand do i need to use for her to lay her eggs.

Posted by: Alison at November 20, 2008 10:48 AM

Hi my name is Harrison. I really want a Veiled Chameleon so if anybody knows where I can get a free veiled chameleon that's great. Or if somebody can send me one my email address is hthwizard@gmail.com.

Posted by: Harrison at June 20, 2009 07:59 AM

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