On this page you can find general information about my terrariums.

For more detailed information and build logs please click the links at the bottom of the page.

When I first started keeping snakes I built my terrariums from melamine with sliding glass doors. The melamine was good at holding temperature and if you took care not to damage the surface and sealed all the edges with silicone they held up very well to moisture too. The one big drawback with melamine was the weight of the finished terrariums.


Here is an
image taken in 1994 of part of my set up in England using melamine and sliding glass door terrariums.


All my terrariums in Sweden are built using Form-Ply (an epoxy coated plywood) and Ikea hinged glass doors.
Form-Ply has good thermal qualities, withstands moisture very well and is lightweight. The hinged doors that I buy from Ikea are cheaper than having glass cut for sliding glass doors and I like the fact that with a hinged door the whole front of the terrarium can be open rather than half at a time that you get with sliding glass doors.

Below is an image of part of my current set up in Sweden, showing hinged door design.
The enclosures on the left of the image are L98cm and have a single hinged door and the ones on the right of the image are L120cm and have double hinged doors.

form ply terrariums

All my terrariums are heated using ceiling mounted heat panels that are controlled using Pulse Proportional, Day/Night Thermostats.

Lighting is a mix of daylight fluorescence or strips of halogen spotlights that have had the halogen G4 bulbs replaced with led's to cut down on the heat they produce. This allows for more accurate control of the day/night temps.
I have also fitted low intensity red LED strip lights that can be dimmed for night time viewing.

All my terrariums are on a 12hr on 12hr off light cycle and the temp settings are dependant on species.

I build three different sizes of terrariums for my animals;
L90cm x D60cm x H60cm
L60cm x D90cm x H60cm
L120cm x D90cm x H60cm

Here is another image of my current set up in Sweden.

My young are kept in a rack system that has back heat supplied by heat mats covering the whole back wall of the rack. They are again controlled by Pulse Proportional thermostats and have a general temperature of 29.5C at the rear of the tubs and 27.5C at the front. Each tub measures 34cm x 25cm x 16cm.

This is my rack system.
In the image shown it is
Every second shelf can be removed and this allows me to use it either with 33 small tubs or to have 10 tubs that measure,
50cm x 38cm x 26cm, or a combination of both size tubs.

reptile rack

The tubs are kept quite basic to allow for easy cleaning and have paper towels for substrate with plastic mesh perches, plastic hide boxes with an entrance hole cut in the top and small glass water bowls.

Basic tub set up for baby Jungle Carpet Python.

I generally change all my animals water once or twice a week and disinfect all water bowels every two weeks. To disinfect the water bowels, feeding tongs, hooks and to clean tubs/terrariums when needed I use a product called DAX Plus.
I also make an effort to clean water bowels and offer fresh water on feeding days as I have noticed many snakes in my collection will often drink quite heavily straight after feeding.

With feeding I am a firm believer in the "less is more" approach and think it is better in the long term to grow animals slowly, rather than pushing to gain bulk and body weight as quickly as possible.
Aside from avoiding obesity and all the health issues that can arise from over feeding, I believe there may be another reason to feed less often.

Research into python digestion has shown the intestines and liver grow in size after prey is swallowed by up to three times their original size. These organs begin to shrink in size again after the prey passes through the intestines and return to normal size within the next eight days or so.
Snakes have evolved the ability to develop their digestive organs into extremely efficient functional units within a very short time and return them to their original state when they have done their job (Starck, Beese 2001)

If snakes in captivity are fed on a regular schedule with no irregularity or fasting breaks and therefore never allowing the digestive organs to achieve "normal" size and remain at this normal size for any period of time, then maybe we are denying these animals a natural and possibly necessary bodily function that may aid longevity and overall health.

Arboreal snakes in general make great display animals and so I have chosen to build display style terrariums for my collection rather than using rack style accommodation.
Observing my adult animals at night under low intensity red light, all of my collection will make full use of the space they are given. All my animals move around their terrariums most nights when they are not digesting meals or in slough. This high amount of nocturnal activity in terrariums that give the animals room to stretch out fully also helps to reduce intestinal compaction and constipation issues that can often arise with sometimes sedentary arboreal species.

My Bothrochilus albertisii (White Lipped Pythons) are very active snakes and will use the whole terrarium space given, but I have also found, even usually non active snakes such as Corallus caninus will move around a surprising amount if given the space to do so.

There is some opinion that younger animals in large enclosures do not feel secure and can get stressed, but if some thought is put into furnishing a larger enclosure with adequate cover and hiding places I have never found this to be a problem.

green tree python enclosure
green tree python enclosure

The two images above show adult
Morelia viridis (Green Tree Python)
enclosures and measure
L90cm x D60cm x H60cm.

I have found that by providing perches with plant cover above them my animals daily resting places vary quite frequently rather than always sitting on the highest perch as is commonly reported in many arboreal species.

morelia viridis under leaf

This male Morelia viridis (Green tree python) uses three or four perch positions in his terrarium but almost always chooses areas of perch that are under leaf cover.

Something new that I have been trying recently is adding backgrounds to my terrariums. I have tried to add to the terrariums usable space by incorporating shelves and hides in the background design at both the warm and cool sides of the terrarium.

natural terrarium
Adult jungle carpet enclosure measuring
120cm length x 90cm depth x 60cm high.

I've also started to use a bio active substrate and plant directly into this rather than keeping the plants in pots. After trying this in a couple of terrariums I changed all my terrariums from bark chip substrate to bio active.

Amazon tree boa enclosure
120cm length x 90cm depth x 60cm high.

The bio active substrates ability to hold moisture and keep humidity levels up whilst staying dry on the surface compared to the bark chip, showed instant results with better sheds especially withBothrochilus albertisi a very thin skinned python that can often have trouble sloughing in one piece. I have also noticedmore active behaviour generally in my snakes.



The bio active substrate is less labour intensive too as it can be quite heavily watered and will slowly release the moisture over several days from the bottom up whilst leaving the surface relatively dry avoiding the need for daily spraying to raise humidity levels.
Cultures of springtails and small arthropods are added to break down some of the waste from the snakes and I have found this has worked very well as long as most of the urates and fecal matter are removed from the terrarium when spotted.


For build logs and more information about my terrariums please click
HERE


For more information about backgrounds, substrate and decor please click
HERE