How to Build a Reptile Cage

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:14
A reptile cage must do more than keep your reptile inside. It must provide it a safe, comfortable home and allow your reptile to enjoy his natural behaviors. The needs of reptiles vary according to species, and you must research what the...
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A reptile cage must do more than keep your reptile inside. It must provide it a safe, comfortable home and allow your reptile to enjoy his natural behaviors. The needs of reptiles vary according to species, and you must research what the needs of your reptile are before building him a cage.

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Building the Cage

  1. Step 2 Choose materials to work with.
    The materials you choose for the cage will depend on your budget and the needs of your reptile. Cages are typically made using screen or mesh, plastic or wooded, or acrylic or glass boxes.[2] Also consider how often you will need to clean the cage.
    • Unless you have experience working with acrylic and glass, buy pre-cut panels. The panels can be attached together or you can attach the panels to a wood or plastic frame.[3]
    • Plastic cages are more expensive, last longer, and hold heat better than glass cages.[4]
    • Melamine, high pressure particle board with a decorative laminate coating, looks good, holds up well and is easy to clean, but it's heavy. Other options include a good grade of plywood or pre-cut shelving boards.
    • Walls can be made of wood, glass, transparent thermoplastic, or coated wire mesh.
    • Consider building a reptile cage out of existing items, such as an aquarium, old chest of drawers, entertainment center or a refrigerator with the door removed.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

Preparing the Habitat

  1. Step 1 Choose the substrate (flooring).
    Flooring choices include sand (fine beach sand, playground sand, silica sand), gravel/stones (lava rock, pea gravel, polished stones), wood and paper products (bark, mulch, butcher paper, newspaper, paper towels, shavings), soils and mosses (sphagnum moss, potting soil, Spanish moss), or litter (cat litter, clay litter, alfalfa pellets).[9] The type of substrate you use will depend on the needs of your reptile.
    • When in doubt, seek professional advice from a reptile specialist. Some substrates, for example sand, can readily cause gut impactions if the lizards eats some when feeding off insects.
    • Wood is best for arboreal species of reptiles, such as lizards, that do not spend a lot of time on the ground.[10]
    • Paper towels and newspapers can be shredded and placed on the bottom of the cage. These materials are inexpensive and are easy to clean up, but they do not help with odor control.
    • Coconut fiber is good for reptiles that need a high humidity environment and helps control odor. It is also good for reptiles that like to burrow and hide.[11]
    • Moss is good for high humidity reptiles and is good for reptiles that like to burrow as well.[12]
    • Sand works for desert species reptiles; however, it can be harmful if large amounts are ingested.[13]
    • Never use soil, grass, bark or other substrates from the park or your yard. They may contain organisms and bacteria that may be harmful to your reptile.[14]
  2. Step 2 Add heat to the reptile cage.
    All reptiles need an external heat source because they cannot control their own body temperature and many of them come from warm climates. If your reptile spends most of his time on branches or in the upper portion of the cage, he will need basking heat. If your reptile spends most of his time on the ground, you will need ground heat. All cages need a thermometer as well. The ideal temperature is between 20 and 32 ºC (68 to 89.6 ºF).[15]
    • Ceramic heaters, basking lamps, and basking lights can be used to provide basking heat. Basking lights are used to create a desert environment. Basking lamps have time limits (14 hours in the summer and 8 hours during the winter) and must be monitored.[16]
    • Heat mats and pads, hot rocks, and heat cable and ropes provide ground heat. Heat mats and pads provide constant heat. Hot rocks are best for nocturnal reptiles, but may malfunction from time to time. Choose your hot rocks, mats, and pads carefully. Some mats get too hot and the reptile could burn his belly lying on it. Heat cables and ropes are flexible and can be wrapped around different objects. Heat cables and ropes get very hot. You will need to use a rheostat to monitor the temperature.
    • Do not place a basking light above a heat pad. This can cause the temperature of the heat pad to reach unsafe levels and can hurt your reptile.
  3. Step 3 Provide ultraviolet (UV) light.
    Most reptiles need full spectrum lights that provide either UVA or UVB light. Proper lighting will keep your reptile healthy and happy and provide adequate levels of Vitamin D3 and calcium. The specific light you use will depend on the type of reptile you have.
    • Lights should be placed 12 to 18 inches from where the reptile will lie.
    • Lights that provide 4% to 10% of radiation as UVB are best, depending on the animal.
    • You will most likely need at least two UV bulbs. It is best to switch your lights on and off — including the UV — to mimic day length in the habitat in which your lizard lives in the wild.
    • Lights should be replaced every six months, regardless of whether they appear to be functioning. This is because the UV levels emitted drop off markedly after six months.
    • Incandescent lights will add heat to a cage. While you can use this type of light as a heat source, take care that it doesn't make the cage too hot.
    • Install lights outside the cage if possible. If you choose to install a bulb inside the cage, build a shield around it so the reptile doesn't come into contact with it.
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Things You'll Need

  • Plywood, melamine, pegboard or wood shelving
  • Glass panes or transparent thermoplastic
  • Coated wire mesh, hardware cloth or window screen
  • Door hinges and latch
  • Wood stain
  • Topcoat (polyurethane)
  • Paint brushes
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Silicone sealant
  • Fluorescent or incandescent lights
  • Heat tape, pad or lamp
  • Branches, rocks and dens
  • Substrate or bedding
  • Thermometer

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