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My Reptiles Enclosures

Discussion in 'Pets & Animals' started by Catherine Read, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. Catherine Read

    Catherine Read Member

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    I'm a big fan of reptiles and currently own 4 corn snakes and a Leopard gecko. Last year I thought I'd get creative and make new interiors for all of them (except for Eddy as hers was already done).

    The first one I did was Spikes enclosure, going for a specific theme (Greek). I wanted to make sure I had the basics: somewhere to bask, warm hide, cool hide, humid hide. I still want to add more around the basking area so it's not fully complete yet, but he does use all the hides.

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    For Kevins enclosure I decided to go for something more natural looking. His favourite place is on his basking ledge, although he does visit his cave from time to time and will sometimes hang out in the ground level log or under the 'tree' on the cool side.

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  2. Catherine Read

    Catherine Read Member

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    For Rupert I decided to go for a textured surface as I found that sand makes for a nice basking surface. I'm still wanting to add a little more around the basking area though so he can bask while remaining hidden (known as cryptic basking).

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    For Amy, my Leopard Gecko, I wanted to make something to encourage her to climb a bit more. She's selected the hammock as her toilet which is handy for me as I just need to take the hammock out and wash it every now and again.

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    All in all they all seem pretty content with their homes.
     
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  3. i-wanna-blue

    i-wanna-blue Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Great work on your pets' habitats. I've been considering getting a reptile for a pet, but I'm still undecided. I am leaning towards a lizard or tortoise. I'm just not sure whether or not there are any diseases which come from reptiles, or anything which could trigger allergies. Also, what are essential or not for a happy environment? I don't want a pet store owner to milk me just because I'm a novice. What reptile would you recommend for a novice?
     
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  4. Catherine Read

    Catherine Read Member

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    Each species varies in the complexity of care required to meet their needs, but generally speaking, snakes are the simplest reptiles to care for as they have the least complex needs. As they eat whole prey they don’t typically need nutritional supplementation, and only eat every 1-2 weeks, Corn Snakes would be my personal recommendation on the snake front. Lizards usually rely on a more varied diet and typically require extra nutritional supplementation (usually in the form of species specific multivitamin powder and calcium). They often eat more frequently (ranging from daily to once a week depending on species and age), and usually have a strong dependancy on proper UV set-up. For a lizard, a Leopard Gecko would be my recommendation to a beginner. Tortoises are arguably the most difficult to keep with their care requirements typically being more complex than that of snakes and lizards. Box turtles are quite popular for beginners.

    I actually wrote an article on this a while back that you might find helpful

    Is a Reptile Right For You?


    On the subject of diseases, disease risk tends to be pretty low in captive populations that have been properly looked after. Salmonella is one of the more well known diseases to affect reptiles, although this is not so common in captive bred animals. I’ve personally not come across an infected reptile myself, but regardless it is always good practice to sanitise your hands before and after handling, not only as a safeguard for yourself but for that of the reptile. Reptiles are also generally considered to be hypoallergenic pets.

    For an optimal environment:

    -The first thing is a large enough enclosure. The bigger the enclosure the better but it also wants to be adequately secure to prevent escape (e.g. consider fitting enclosure with a lock). If possible, wooden vivariums are the preferred option as they retain heat better than glass enclosures.

    -Generally you’ll want a heat lamp for a basking area (preferably an incandescent flood type lamp), this wants to be hooked up to a thermostat (dimming stat) and set to the species optimal basking temperature. Heat lamps without thermostats can cause an enclosure to overheat and prove fatal. Heat mats are an option as a secondary heat source but not essential when a heat bulb is in use. Heat mats would also want to be regulated by a thermostat (on/off stat).

    -Digital thermometers should be positioned at the basking area and another in the cool side to keep an eye on temperatures and make sure a proper temperature gradient is being maintained. Temperature guns are also useful for spot checking temps.

    -UV lighting is beneficial to all species, as all reptiles utilise UV to some degree, including nocturnal species. What UV light to use is dependant on species, Arcadia Reptile have a handy tool to help choose the correct light for the species.

    Lighting Guide - Arcadia Reptile

    -Heat/UV lights can be plugged in to timers, it’s simplest to set it for 12 hours on and 12 hours off (e.g. 8am - 8pm).

    -Reptiles require proper coverage to feel secure in the form of hides and clutter (leaves/rocks/braches etc). A few hides should be provided throughout the enclosure on both warm and cool side with one hide being a dedicated humid hide, sphagnum moss is usually a good medium for the humid hide.

    -Some reptiles like to soak in their water dish so it’s useful to have a dish large enough for the reptile to fit inside.

    Hot rocks are notoriously recommended to be avoided as they can cause burns. I personally do not like sand as a substrate for species such as bearded dragons or leopard geckos due to impaction issues. Don’t bother with the coloured bulbs (red or blue bulbs). They’re often sold as nighttime viewing bulbs but are disruptive to the reptile, no lights should be on at night. Ceramic Heat Emitters (CHE’s) are a type of heat lamp that do not produce light, they’re good for warming the ambient air but useless as basking lamps. The dial-type thermometers are slow to respond to temperature changes and usually pretty inaccurate, I'd stick with digital thermometers. A digital hygrometer is also useful.

    I think that might just about cover the basics for now but if there’s anything more specific you want to know about I’m happy to answer. Personally for me, my reptiles weren’t just pets but were a life changing force, I couldn’t imagine life without them.

    If you're on Facebook, there's a really good Facebook group called "Advancing Herpetological Husbandry", probably the best source of information for the most up-to-date optimal care of reptiles around.

    There's also some really good Youtube channels such as "Reptiles and Research" and "JTB Reptiles" which are worth checking out. "Lori Torrini" Specialises in snake training and enrichment videos which I personally find really cool.

    https://www.youtube.com/c/ReptilesandResearch/videos
    https://www.youtube.com/c/JTBReptiles/videos
    https://www.youtube.com/c/LoriTorriniAnimalBehavior/videos
     
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  5. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit "..experience moments of happiness."

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    Those are beautiful habitats
     
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  6. i-wanna-blue

    i-wanna-blue Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank you so much for your detailed info. I will be doing my research in the next few weeks and I'm sure the resources you've provided will be of great help. :)
     
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  7. theporgsnest

    theporgsnest Well-Known Member

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    I would have never have thought to make your own props for enclosures before, these are really good, especially the amphora (It reminds me of civilisation projects I did at school, only way better).
    I'm really interested by the facial markings that both Spike and Rufus have - it seems like they are the standard corn snake morph you see.
    I really want to get into owning reptiles but it will have to wait until I move out, my family are very anti-snake or the like.
     
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  8. Catherine Read

    Catherine Read Member

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    Thank you :)

    Thanks!

    Both Spike and Roo are indeed the standard "normal" or "wild type" corn snake morphs, while their brother, Kev, lacks black pigmentation so has more of an orange appearance, he's "Amelanistic" (lacks melanin).

    It's a pity you can't get your own reptiles for the time being, I think I was very fortunate to have a family that was relaxed about them, reptile phobias do seem very common though. At least you can research for the time being so you're prepped for when you do get one (or two, or three... lol).
     
  9. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit "..experience moments of happiness."

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    It seems like you added more pics since i first saw this. One of your enclosures reminds me of a display case in a store, with the overlapping glass panes as doors. Its such a neat thread.
     
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  10. i-wanna-blue

    i-wanna-blue Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hey, Catherine I'm wondering if you could give me some advice. It seems that both the leopard gecko and bearded dragon are my best options for a reptile. However the price for all the equipment and necessities seem a bit steep for me at the moment. I was just wondering if I were to go ahead with one of these two, is it possible for me to feed them an alternative to live insects?
     
  11. Catherine Read

    Catherine Read Member

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    Unfortunately there’s not really anything in the way of an alternative to well fed/hydrated, live insects. Live insects can be fed a variety of nutritional foods or supplements to increase their benefit to the reptile, this is a process known as ‘gut-loading’ and can be very advantageous in the nutritional care of insectivorous reptiles. Insects should ideally be gut-loaded at least 24 hours before being fed to the reptile to maximise their nutritional value (dusting with correct supplement also helps to aid in this process). Preferably, you’d also want to occasionally offer a variety of insects outside of the animals staple diet. My Leo is fed mealworms and locusts as her staple, she hates crickets, but I’ll occasionally give her wax worms, butterworms, silk worms, phoenix worms, and dubia roaches.
     
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