What are the best pets for reptile terrariums?

reptile terrariumsReptile terrariums vary in the way they are set up depending on the animal’s natural habitat. There are a number of different types of terrarium: rainforest, desert, aquatic, semi-aquatic, woodlands and savanna. Within each of these ecosystems there are microhabitat variations, and you need to know which microhabitat your reptile requires to thrive. For example, some desert lizards like to bask in the sun, whilst others hide under damp rocks. Naturally the set up of a desert terrarium would be quite different for these two species. This web site has a number of articles about the different types of terrariums, and how to set them up, and in this article we are going to consider some specific reptiles and the conditions they need to thrive.

Desert Terrarium
Starting with the desert terrarium there are a number of snakes that come to mind, from the ground snake (Sonora semi-annulata) to the more exotic Kenyan sand boa (Eryx colubrinus loveridgei). Most desert snakes are burrowing and nocturnal so you may not see much of them. Their feeding habits vary from invertebrates to rodents, with some even choosing to dine on scorpions (another excellent choice for desert terrariums, but not with snakes!) You should take care not to select snakes that grow too large, as desert terrariums tend to be of a small scale. Something like a bull snake is not a good choice as it can outgrow its home. Other more suitable choices include: saddled leaf-nosed snake (Phyllorhynchus browni), hog-nosed snake (Heterodon nasicus), banded sand snake (Chilomeniscus cinctus), western shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis), spotted leaf-nosed snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus), or spotted python (Antaresia maculosa).

For some owner of reptile terrariums lizards are the preferred pet, and most specimens with thrive is a desert set up. The leopard gecko and bearded dragon are two of the firm favorites, but there are many other possibilities, including: side-blotched lizard (Uta), collard lizard (Crotaphytus), great plains skink (Eumeces obsoletus), Namibian sand gecko (Chrondrodactylus), web-footed sand gecko (Palmatogecko), desert iguana (Dipsosaurus), granite spiny lizard (Sceloporus orcutti), prairie lizard (Sceloporus undulatus), painted rock agama (Laudakia stellio), spiny-talied agamids (Uromastyx), and chuckwallas (Sauromalus obesus). And that is just to name a few of the options!

Savanna Terrarium

A savanna terrarium recreates the areas between woodland and desert. A savanna’s plant and animal life are shaped by it weather, which is one of modest rainfall for most of the year, interspersed with downpours that feed the vegetation in a massive burst. Your substrate and plants will be quite different from the desert set up, as will the animals. Tortoises are just one examples of the reptiles that live in the savanna, but there need of extensive space means that they are not so suitable for the confines of a terrarium, particularly as they can grow to significant sizes. If you do decide that a tortoise is for you, then a suitable choice would be the central Asian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldi) as the adult grows to a maximum of just eight inches.

Besides tortoises there are a number of lizard and snakes that you can consider. Lizards include Bibron’s, Moorish, nanded, fat-tailed, and Ocelot geckos. Eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) are native to US woodlands, and can make nice small pets. Savanna snakes include the desert kingsnake, red milksnake, and Baird’s rat snake.

Heating a Reptile Terrarium

Aquatic Terrariums
Outside of turtles and alligators there are not so many reptiles that appreciate an aquatic or semi-aquatic environment. One that does is the tentacled snake (Erpeton tentaculatum). This is a fascinating animal that can barely move above ground. It is mildly venomous, and has paired tentacle structures.

Outdoor Terrariums
Outdoor terrariums, like the aquatic terrarium, is well-liked by turtles as long as some water area is included. One of the most common options is the ornate box turtle, but the desert box and yellow-margined box turtles are also readily available. The yellow-margined box turtle is usually imported from China, but it is also native to other parts of Asia.

Finally, don’t forget that different reptile terrariums support different types of plants, and you should take some time to select the right terrarium plants during the set up.

blog comments powered by Disqus