Technically yes, bearded dragon poop is good fertilizer, but it is not recommended here’s why…
Bearded dragon poop could make an effective fertilizer particularly for nitrogen-loving plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and leafy greens. Bearded dragon poop contains phosphorus and potassium, which are essential nutrients for plant growth. The level of these nutrients would depend on a number of factors, such as the composition of the bearded dragons diet, and the conditions of the soil, type of soil, the plant species being grown, and the specific needs of the plants.
However, in general, bearded dragon poop is not recommended as fertilizer, as it can contain a variety of bacteria and microorganisms. These include aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, as well as fungi and protozoa. While the exact composition of the microbiota present in bearded dragon faeces varies depending on the individual animal’s diet and gut health. Some of the more commonly found types of organisms found are coccidia and pinworms.
While most of these organisms are relatively harmless, they have the potential to cause disease to plants and humans. Thorough hand washing is extremely important when handling bearded dragons and their faeces (poop). Avoid touching the face especially mouth and eyes and contact with open wounds.
Can You Compost Reptile Poop / Substrate?
Have you ever wondered if there is a better way to dispose of your reptiles used substrate? Well there is as much of it can be composted!
Most reptile substrate can be composted, but there are a few things to keep in mind. The substrate should have all faecal matter and uneaten food is removed before adding it to the compost bin. If you have any live plants in the substrate, they should be removed carefully as they can be reused again in your reptiles enclosure.
Don’t compost substrates that have been treated with chemicals or pesticides (which if they have been used for reptiles they should not be).
Only a small amount of substrate should be added to the compost pile at a time. Too much substrate will not break down properly and could attract pests. Also be aware that some reptile substrates (such as those made from cypress mulch) can take longer to break down in the compost bin.
It is important to monitor the compost pile to make sure the substrate is breaking down properly. If it is not, it should be removed and disposed of properly. Be sure to turn the pile regularly to aerate it and help the substrate break down. This can be done with a garden fork. When the substrate has broken down completely, it can be used as a natural fertilizer for your plants.
How to Compost Reptile Substrate
When it comes to creating nutrient-rich soil for your garden, there’s no better way to do it than through composting. Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil that can then be used to improve the quality of your garden soil. Not only is composting great for your plants, it’s also great for the environment. By composting your reptile substrate you’re diverting organic waste from landfills where it emits methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas.
To make good compost you need a mix of ingredients containing nitrogen and carbon. As a general rule of thumb is waste containing nitrogen tends be “green” moist/wet materials such as grass clippings and weeds. Carbon waste matter is more “brown” and dry material such as sawdust, bark chips, and coco coir.
The majority of reptiles substrate will be carbon based, so if you want to successfully compost this waste you will need to add equal amounts of “green” waste.
If you’re new to composting, here’s a quick guide to get you started.
- Choose a location for your compost bin or pile. Your compost bin can be as simple as a wire mesh enclosure or a plastic bin with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage. If you have a lot of space, you can also create a compost pile directly on the ground. Just be sure to locate it in a spot that’s convenient for you to access.
- Add organic material to your bin or pile. You can compost just about any organic material, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, and even shredded newspaper, egg boxes and cardboard. Avoid adding meat, bones, and dairy products, as these can attract pests.
- Keep your compost moist. Your compost pile should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge. If it’s too dry, the composting process will slow down. If it’s too wet, the material will start to break down anaerobically, creating unpleasant odours and mould.
- Turn your compost pile regularly. To aerate your compost pile and speed up the composting process, turn it with a pitchfork or shovel every few days.
- Use your compost. After a few weeks or months, your compost will be ready to use. Spread it on your garden beds to improve the quality of your soil. With a little effort, you can turn your reptiles substrate along with kitchen scraps and yard waste into a valuable asset for your garden. So get started composting today!
If you want a more comprehensive guide to composting we recommend: https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/maintain-the-garden/how-to-make-compost/ as a good place to start.
Best Substrate Composters
There are many substrates that can be used for composting, generally the best reptile substrates for composting are ones that are high in organic matter. and provide good drainage. The type of substrate will vary depending on the type of reptile you have.
Some of the best substrates for composting include leaf litter, wood chips, and shredded bark. Shredded newspaper, eggboxes, reptile safe soil are also good for composting.
The best all rounder is Coconut fibre also called coco coir, its made from the fibrous husks of coconuts and is an excellent substrate for composting. It’s absorbent, so it helps keep your compost pile moist, and it’s also aerated, so it helps keep your compost pile from getting too dense. `If you’d like to find out more about the best substrates for bearded dragons, click here.
Ultimately always use the correct substate based on the type of reptile you have, that is best suited for the health and wellbeing first and foremost.
Featured Image by Reinhart Zehetbauer from Pixabay