Even though reptiles are cold-blooded, they still need the warmth of a home. Thus, if you have a pet reptile such as iguanas, snakes, lizards, tarantulas, spiders, or turtles, you must ensure that you have assembled the perfect terrarium.
They must be able to live comfortably, as they would in their natural habitat. You must have multiple questions and thoughts in your head, like what is the perfect reptile stand to use? Should I use terrarium pebbles or not? How should the clay bedding be? What are the best reptile supplies for my pet? And many more.
But, don’t worry. This blog has discussed easy tips that can help you set up a terrarium for your pet reptile. So, let’s get started.
Assembling A Terrarium For Reptiles
Gather The Terrarium Reptile Supplies
The first step is gathering all the reptile supplies you’ll need to set up the terrarium. This includes the aquarium/cage, locking top, hiding areas, bedding, water dish, feeding apparatus, scooper, thermometers, hygrometers, heat lamp, UVB lights, and decoration materials. Additionally, depending upon the pet, you must invest in reptile supplies like feeding tongs and a light timer, to name a few.
The most important material is the pet’s aquarium/cage. Thus, remember the following points before purchasing one for your pet.
Space: Depending upon your pet’s species, you may require a small or a big aquarium to allow them to roam. Also, a baby pet will require less space than an adult pet and vice versa.
Shape: As a general rule, if you have a pet that climbs, you need to have a terrarium whose height is more than the width. Similarly, if you have a reptile that doesn’t climb, the terrarium’s width should be more than the height.
Location: Ensure the terrarium is kept on a flat, stable surface. This will ensure that the terrarium won’t tip over. Additionally, keep the terrarium away from direct sunlight, electrical connections, areas with strong smells, or other hazardous areas.
Setting Up The Terrarium Tank
The next step is setting up the tank using the assembled reptile supplies. First, you need to clean the tank thoroughly. There are various cleaning reptile products available that you can use.
Next, determine the terrarium’s hot (basking) and cool zone. This is important to enable your pet self-regulate their body temperature. You can place a heat mat or a lamp on the ‘hot’ side of the tank. If you are using a heat mat, ensure that it is below the reptile bedding so that your pet doesn’t burn themselves.
You will need to keep thermometers on the hot and cold sides of the terrarium to monitor the temperatures. You can also keep a third thermometer to measure the ambient temperature of the terrarium. Ensure that the terrarium temperature is similar to the original habitat from where they belong.
Adding The Bedding
Next, you will have to add the bedding. Depending upon the pet, you can use reptile products such as textured mats, sand bedding, or moss bedding. For instance, if you have an iguana, lizards, or snakes, you can choose reptile sand as the bedding material. This will provide a habitat similar to their natural one. This will ensure that the pet remains healthy, grows correctly, and can live freely.
Similarly, you can use moss, aspen chips, or bark depending upon your pet reptile’s natural habitat. Before you choose the bedding pet supplies, make sure that you have done adequate research about the pet’s natural habitat. The wrong bedding can cause issues for your pet.
Decorating The Terrarium
Once you have created the perfect habitat for your pet, you can show your creativity skills by decorating the terrarium with various reptile supplies. For example, you can create a hiding spot for your pet if they like to burrow through naturally.
Similarly, you can add fake trees, plants, water sources, and other items to make the terrarium feel more natural for your pet. For example, if you have a pet snake, you can add a fake tree stump where they can bask and rest. Similarly, have the water dish or drinking source large enough that they can submerge themselves.
Additionally, if you have a pet that loves to climb, you can add multiple artificial branches for them to enjoy. The decoration choices are endless. Just ensure that they are useful for your pet, in addition to improving the visual appeal of the terrarium.
Sealing The Top Of The Terrarium
The next step is sealing the top of the terrarium to ensure your pet doesn’t escape. You can choose a screen cover depending upon the size of the terrarium and the pet species. Ensure that the top completely seals the terrarium and isn’t easily removable.
Setting Up The Lighting
Like us, even our pets require a day and night cycle to carry out their functions properly. Thus, you will need to purchase reptile supplies like UVB bulbs that can mimic the day and night cycle. However, depending on your pet species, you must choose the right UVB bulb.
For example, if your pet likes to stay in a habitat with less sun intensity, you need to choose a tropical or 5.0 UVB bulb. These bulbs mimic filtered sunlight and are less intense. Alternatively, consider a desert or 10.0 UVB bulb if your pet enjoys intense heat.
If unsure about the lighting your pet requires, do extensive research or consult an expert. It is also advisable to cycle the day/night for a few days before you add your pet to the terrarium. This will ensure that your pet gets the proper temperature upon introducing them to the terrarium.
Automating The Terrarium
This is the final step in setting up the terrarium completely optional. To automate the terrarium, you can buy a timer switch that automatically maintains a day/night cycle by switching the lighting on or off. You can find them in reptile supplies or local electrical and hardware stores.
Your terrarium setup is done. Your pet is ready to move into its new home, where it can live comfortably and have the same living conditions as its natural habitat. Ensure that you regularly maintain the terrarium, including cleaning, to provide a clean, hygienic, and safe environment for your pet.