Overview of Reptile Enclosures and Husbandry Styles

Reptile Enclosures 101

 

This quick guide will be going over the basics pros and cons of the following reptile enclosures to help you decide what enclosure and husbandry style will work best for you and your reptiles.

*Racks & Tubs*
Plastic storage containers/tubs that have been repurposed to house reptiles.

*Aquariums*
Traditional fish tanks.

*Terrariums*
Similar to aquariums but designed for reptiles/amphibians.

*PVC*
Small to large custom reptile enclosures build from PVC.

*Wood*
Small to large custom reptile enclosures build from a variety of reptile-safe woods.

Racks and Tubs

Pros:
  • Space-saving and cost-efficient.
  • Possible to heat multiple enclosures with a single heat unit (ie: heat tape).
  • Lightweight.
  • Good for maintaining sterility.
  • Depending on the specifics they can hold heat and humidity well.
Cons:
  • Tubs are often short/narrow, not designed to meet reptile needs (ethical concerns).
  • Greater risk of escape (no locks).
  • Fewer options for lighting & heating.

Aquariums

Pros:
  • Easily available.
  • Cheap.
  • Increased viewability.
  • Accommodates multiple heating/lighting options.
  • Glass is easy to clean.
Cons:
  • Many reptiles do not like being picked up from the top of the cage.
  • Does not retain heat or humidity well.
  • Heavy.
  • Not designed to suit reptile needs, often too narrow.
  • Not suitable for large reptiles.

Front-Opening Glass Terrariums

Pros:
  • Increased viewability.
  • Accommodates multiple heating/lighting options.
  • Can be opened from top and front.
  • Glass is easy to clean.
  • Multiple size options.
  • Options to add locks on some models.
Cons:
  • Does not retain heat or humidity well.
  • Reptiles can get stressed out if they feel too exposed.
  • Expensive and heavy.
  • Not designed to house large reptiles.
  • Glass is difficult to drill.

PVC

Pros:
  • Waterproof – holds up well in humid environments and easy to clean.
  • Easy to drill to modify to your needs.
  • Lightweight.
  • Custom-made for specific reptile needs (lots of sizes).
  • Retains heat and humidity well.
  • Stackable.
  • Lockable options.
Cons:
  • PVC can be expensive.
  • Long wait times since they are usually custom made.
  • Can be unattractive.

Wood

Pros:
  • Wood can be stained to match furniture.
  • Custom-made for specific reptile needs (lots of sizes).
  • Easy to cut and drill to modify for needs.
  • Generally less expensive than PVC.
  • Good for DIY projects.
  • Stackable.
  • Lockable options.
Cons:
  • Constant exposure to moisture can cause wood to warp or rot. Needs to be sealed with water-proof coat.
  • Can be very heavy.
  • Can be hard to clean.

Reptile Husbandry Styles

  1. Sterile/minimalistic
  2. Naturalistic
  3. Bioactive

I will explore these husbandry styles with more detail in upcoming articles. 

Sterile/Minimalist

  • Common husbandry method for long term-housing by reptile breeders or hobbyists with large collections, and for short-term housing of quarantined animals.

*Naturalistic*

  • Very common method for most hobbyists, beginners and advanced keepers alike.

*Bioactive*

  • This method has been for amphibians for decades but is now becoming increasingly common in the reptile community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *