Part 3: Substrate
Once you have an enclosure for your snake, you need some sort of substrate or bedding to cover the cage floor. Snakes like to burrow in their substrate and hide between layers of paper; it makes them feel secure. There are several substrates that are suitable for most snakes. We prefer to use Aspen shavings for our hatchlings and juvenile snakes and newspaper for our adults. Cypress bark is also an acceptable substrate.
Wood shavings and bark should be spot cleaned every few days and replaced every few weeks—or more often—as needed. Newspaper should be changed at least once a week or as it becomes soiled. It is very important to keep your snake's enclosure clean to avoid potential health issues.
NEVER use cedar shavings as the oils in the wood are toxic to snakes, Pine shavings have received mixed reviews, so we avoid using this in our cages. Also avoid sand and other soils, as they may be ingested and cause intestinal impaction. They're also more difficult to clean.