Zoo Med Excavator Clay Burrowing Reptile Substrate

By Zoo Med
Rated 3.625 out of 5 stars


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About This Item


  • All-natural and made with zero dyes or chemicals.
  • Helps encourage reptiles to satisfy their natural burrowing and digging instincts.
  • Mimics your reptile’s natural habitat.
  • Allows you to construct mounds and tunnels for your pet’s enjoyment.
  • Holds the shape of tunnels to help prevent them from collapsing.

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Questions & Answers

23 Customer Questions

How would you remove this from a glass tank after it has hardened without damaging the glass?
Answer by ChewyJun 10, 2019
To change the shape of the substrate or remove it, remove all reptiles from your terrarium. Then mist the substrate with water to soften it enough to mold or remove.

Is this bag enough for a 40-gallon terrarium? Would I have enough to make hides too? Can a leopard gecko go in the substrate while it's drying?
Answer by ChewyApr 03, 2020
Depending on the amount of tunnels wanted, two 10 pound bags of excavator clay may be suitable for a 40 gallon tank. it is recommended to set up your leopard gecko in a temporary tank until the excavator is completely dry. A heat lamp may be placed over the excavator to help it dry faster.

Could I use this for a salamander to burrow in?
Answer by ChewyFeb 05, 2020
This substrate is not recommended for salamanders.

How long for it to dry?
Answer by ChewyMay 20, 2021
The dry time of the excavator clay depends on how much water was used and how thick a layer of excavator is placed. To speed up the dry time you can always put a fan or a heat lamp over the tank to help.

ReviewsWrite a Review

Rated 3.625 out of 5 stars
24 Ratings
Would recommend to a friend

24 Customer Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 stars
By frenchy on Sep 5, 2023

Takes forever to dry

I like this idea and let it dry for over 10 hours and it was still wet. Drying "overnight" generally means 6-8 hours. So thats untrue. Id say expect it to take 24 hours to dry fully. I had no choice but to put my bearded dragon back in the tank as i have no other enclosure for her and its colder in my house. Also, 1 bag would maybe do a 30 gallon or smaller. I have a 40 gallon and it almost covered the bottom in a slightly thin layer. Not sure if i want to buy more of this to finish the tank.

Rated 1 out of 5 stars
By Lizzy on Sep 18, 2023

crumbled apart.

This unfortunately is no use for covering up a form to make a hide. It completely crumbled apart after drying. I used a layer of about 3/4” thick. Wasted.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By ABob on Apr 19, 2023

This is good, but,

This is a good product, just when you make it too thin, it might be unstable, but anyway, that’s just common sense.

Rated 4 out of 5 stars
By Bree on Jan 25, 2023

you need a lot of this for a whole tank setup

It’s good you just need a lot of it. It only did one small corner or my 55 gal tank. It’s kinda hard to work with but after you get the hang of it it’s great. ( also letting it dry takes a long time )

Rated 1 out of 5 stars
By Dodgegirl29 on Oct 13, 2022

Don't waste your money

I bought two bags of this then I decided to buy two more which are still on there way to my house so I can't cancel the order ugh. Honestly the worst thing I bought for my bearded dragon. Followed the instructions to the T, and I left it dry over night. It did not hardened at all. So now I have to clean my bearded dragon and his whole tank out due to this product.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars
By Nikki on Dec 29, 2021

Not for burrowing

This is a clay that hardens when it dries. It's used to form caves and structures for your pet's enclosure. I read that it takes days to fully dry. That means I'll need to purchase something to house my pet(bearded dragon) in while I set this up for him. I've read this is not for burrowing. That people's bearded dragons try to eat it. Something like this could cause impaction.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By MegH on Dec 19, 2021

Works great for beardie

My beardie was apprehensive at first, but has quickly come to love it. She likes to burrow in it in her hidie holes and chase insects on it.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By etd1776 on Mar 29, 2021

Great for desert terrariums!

I LOVE this stuff! I've used it in multiple leopard gecko terrariums and it looks fantastic. First of all it dries hard, so you can provide a natural looking terrarium without the risk of impaction from sand. Plus you can use the clay to create so much enrichment as well as so many hides and basking spots, and if you want to remake your landscape, you just wet the sand again and create a new layout. Cleaning is a little more difficult compared to paper towels or something like that, but honestly the looks and enrichment are well it.

Rated 5 out of 5 stars
By Kade on Aug 24, 2021

Definitely recommend

Shipping was fast! Bag was in perfect condition and was as expected!!

Rated 4 out of 5 stars
By Jenny on Feb 23, 2021

Great but MESSY

I only used it for a few days now but so far I'm pretty satisfied. The only thing I don't like is how hard to work with it can be! Expect to bend a few spoons and turn your hands chunky and red trying to get it in the shape you want.