Housing a reptile can be as simple or as complex as your want it to be. Most herpetologists use laminated timber cages with glass windowed doors to house lizards and snakes.
Homes for reptiles also range from Aquariums, to outdoor enclosures, with modifications made to each depending on the animal kept. If you're a beginner, before purchasing a reptile, you need to do some research. Does the animal come from a dry, humid, wet, forest, scrub, tree top area. Will it need UV lighting, a basking lamp, a heat pad, a thermostat. Once you know the answer to these questions, you can then create your environment accordingly.
Almost every reptile house will need the following basic equipment requirements:
- Substrate (flooring material such as gravel, sand or newspaper)
- Heating to around 30c
- Thermostat to control heat
- Air circulation
- Access to drinking water
- and with most lizards, an Ultra-Violet light
Lighting is also another major factor when setting up your vivarium. Every animal benefits from Ultra Violet light, it' aids vitamin production and comes free of charge from the sun! Of course, if you have a vivarium indoors, UVA / UVB cannot be accessed by your animal. Even if your cage is near a window, the full spectrum cannot pass through glass, so with most set ups, you'll need to provide UV light.
Failure to do so will result in growth problems and lethargic behaviour. Nearly all lizards need UV and some snakes too, so check with us to make sure you're providing your reptile with the appropriate set up.
Reptiles are cold blooded animals and cannot regulate their own body heat, they need warmth to be able to do everything from basic movement, to digesting food. When providing heat for your reptile, it's essential that you provide temperature variants within the vivarium. A lizard will enjoy basking under a heat lamp during the morning hours, then may find a comfortable, cooler spot during the midday hours. A cool spot is simply an area of the set up that isn't under constant direct heat. Snakes generally enjoy regulated cage temperatures controlled by a preset thermostat (30c is ideal) but providing shade such as a hollow log is essential.
Aquariums make great vivariums, they are water tight and you can see the animal from almost every angle. However, during the colder months, they can loose a lot of heat. For reptiles such as Gippsland Water Dragons, a large half land / water aquarium is ideal.
A certain amount of empathy should be used when creating a home for your reptile. Every animal needs stimulation, so provide pots, hiding holes, climbing branches, swimming bowls and whatever else may help recreate its natural environment.
Avoid real plants and never use soil as a substrate.
Contact Us if you have any questions about the sort of home needed for a certain species.
For a quote on pricing, design ideas and requirements, please contact Pails for Scales by visiting our contact page.
DID YOU KNOW WE ALSO STOCK SECOND HAND CAGES FOR THOSE ON A BUDGET?
If you are interested in keeping a snake of the smaller breed you are best to start with a Stimsons Python (Large Blotched), Spotted Python or Children's Python. All of these breeds grow to an average length of one metre but can reach lengths of a metre and a half.
You will require an enclosure that is a minimum of 60 x 45 x 45 centimetres, wooden with a thermostat and two heat globes, either top opening or front opening. Ensure the gap between the glass is minimal as these snakes are very good at escaping through small gaps!
If you are looking at keeping a snake of the larger breed you may want to purchase a Victorian Carpet Python (Murray Darling Python), Diamond Python or Central Carpet Python. These breeds of snake average two metres in length and up to three point two metres.
Woma Pythons are also a great snake to begin with, reaching an average of one point five metres. South Australian breeds will get a lot bigger than this. Enclosure size for this breed is 90 x 45 x 45 centimetres, this will allow you a few years before you will need to upgrade on the cage. Larger breeds again are the Black headed Python and Olive Python which can reach lengths of over three metres. To begin with an enclosure needed would be 90 x 45 x 45 centimetres, these are a fast growing snake and will later require a bigger enclosure.mThe main thing withenclosures is to ensure they are the best quality, do not use a home made fish tank design as they loose too much heat through the glass.