What are you going to put along the bottom of the enclosure? There are so many different options for bedding and substrate you can use for your snake that it might be hard to decide.
When you first get your snake, it’s okay and even recommended to use something simple like paper towels. Although it is very plain, it makes it a lot easier for you to monitor your snake’s health. If your snake has any mites, they will easier to spot against the white paper towel. If your snake is able to properly digest its meal, you will not have a hard time finding its poop in the enclosure. Once you know your snake is healthy, you can switch over to something better for both your snake and your eyes.
Sand: Personally, I don’t recommend sand as a substrate on its own. Although it can look very nice, it can accidentally be ingested when a snake is eating its meal. If it swallows too much sand, it can become impacted. Precautions can be taken to try and avoid the problem, but snakes move their food everywhere and sand is bound to get stuck on the food.
Reptile Carpet: This is not something I recommend, but there are some picky snakes that refuse to use anything else. Although there is no risk of swallowing the carpet, it isn’t the easiest thing to clean and it can harbor a lot of bacteria. Although you can technically wash it and reuse it, the risk of bacteria growth is a bit too much for me to feel comfortable.
Cypress Mulch: This is a more natural kind of substrate for snakes. It is recommended to bake it first so it can be sanitized. It’s a great choice for when you need to take care of a snake with high humidity requirements!
Aspen Shavings: By far one of the most popular substrates, aspen is great for snakes that do not require high levels of humidity. Caution is recommended around water though since aspen does have an easier time building mold. Additionally, for snakes that love to burrow and tunnel, aspen is usually capable of holding their tunnels!
Coconut Fiber: Another natural-looking substrate that is very easy on the eyes. Coco Fiber is very soft and extremely effective at fighting odors. It can hold humidity pretty well, but you need to mix in the water, otherwise, it will just sit on the top of the substrate. Snakes can also dig and burrow in this bedding.
In regards to impaction, a good way to avoid it (despite which choice in bedding), is to either place the food on to of a plate or lid. Some people even go the extra step to make sure the prey item is dry, making it harder for the substrate to cling onto it. There are plenty of hides that can be flipped upside-down and used as food bowls. Other people just use a lid to an old plastic container. It’s very important to know exactly what kind of humidity your snake requires before picking a substrate for your pet snake.