Substrate is the most important part of the enclosure environment of gecko. The choice of substrate will directly affect your gecko’s health. The wrong substrate can cause some diseases or even death for your pet.
Sand is very controversial as gecko substrate. Many gecko keepers prefer to use sand as a substrate since it is easy to remove waste from sand and it also looks more natural.
Some others consider sand as an unsafe substrate because gecko tent to ingestion sand and it leads to the risk of impaction.
What is the gecko natural environment like?
In the wild, geckos come from desert environments. But it is not the sandy as many people thought so. Their natural habitat is the rocky desert and grassland. There are rock, hardened clay dirt, and just a little amount of sand in their natural environment. They are not surrounded by any sand dunes. It is a mistake if you mimic their natural life by reptile sand products in their tank.
Moreover, the gecko is one of the firsts reptiles that is domesticated in the world. So your geckos may so much different with the geckos those are grown in the wild.
Geckos in captivity may have more sensitive digestive tracts. Therefore, the pure sand can consider as an unnatural substrate for your geckos.
What is wrong with sand?
Geckos tend to swallow their substrate when they eat. This is more often to happen with younger geckos. And when they eat sand it causes the impaction in geckos, the sand will become cement and causes a blockage in the gecko’s intestines.
Even if you feed your gecko with a food bowl, they still try to lick the sand anyway.
Some people use calcium sand as an alternative but it is still sand. Although calcium sand is proven safer and easy to ingest, but when eating with a much amount, it can still blockage gecko’s bowel.
Furthermore, calcium carbonate sand can neutralize intestines acid and cause digestive issues. Besides, sand also the environment for the growth of mold, bacterial and dust, which leads to respiratory issues.
However, if you still prefer to use sand as the best substrate for leopard gecko for your gecko despite the disadvantages above, ensure that your geckos are adult and they are healthy. The adult and healthy geckos will less likely to eat sand.