For those of you who don’t know me I keep quite a range of exotic pets in my home including some amphibians and quite a sizable collection of invertebrates including tarantulas, mantids and leaf insects.
The problem is that as my collection has grown over the years I have also amassed a random collection of cages, tubs, vivariums, terrariums and containers to keep all my pets in and frankly the cabinet that I use to store most of my smaller cages was really starting to look a mess.
Rather than enjoying my pets for what they are I was constantly annoyed either by how messy all the different vivariums looked or by how impractical a number of them are when it comes to cleaning and feeding.
So after six months of grumbling I finally decided recently to grab the bull by the horns and investigate replacing all my odds and ends with a matching selection of terrariums capable of housing pretty much my entire collection. By doing this my aim was really to draw attention away from the mess of containers to create a professional-looking collection of cages where my pets would be the main focal point.
I spent several months visiting reptile stores looking at all the housing available and also surfing the internet visiting what seemed like every online reptile supplier in the country to see what looked most hopeful.
A few weeks ago I began the changeover from my old system to the new though I expect it to be some months before I am fully up and running with all my herps safely installed in their new homes.
After literally weeks of research and analysis I finally opted to use Exo Terra glass terrariums for all but my largest captives and having finally made that decision (which wasn’t made lightly) I thought that I might take the time to create an Exo Terra glass terrarium review in the hope that my own findings and research may come in handy for other like-minded keepers of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates looking for herp cage they can be proud of.
Smart, Professional Design
The first thing which really caught my interest about the Exo Terra glass terrarium range is quite simply how smart and professional they look. The combination of glass and black plastic looks not only very attractive but in my opinion also helps to highlight my captives well. Trust me when I say that one or two of these cages set up attractively and well-lit are just about the most eye-catching reptile housing around in my opinion.
Unlike some of the other terrariums on the market the Exo Terra glass terrariums look solid and hard-wearing and having spoken to a few people who have been using these cages for some time it seems they will put up with a lot of use. This is in start contrast to some of the plastic cages which scratch easily or wooden vivariums which rot in humid environments so I think the cost of the Exo Terra vivariums is very reasonable based on a long-life.
As most of my herp cages are housed in a large shelving unit it can be frustrating when cages only allow access from the top meaning I have to remove them from the unit, place them on the floor and then do my routine maintenance. The way the Exo Terra terrariums have two doors which open to the front makes adding livefood, changing water and so on much easier and more practical.
Unique Door Locking System
I once had a baby iguana manage to push open the door of another brand of vivarium and it took me hours to track him down and catch him though luckily I had been at work so all the doors and windows in the house were closed meaning at least I knew he was in the house. However things might not have worked out so well in another situation.
Furthermore whilst my girlfriend quite likes to watch all the animals when they are the other side of a piece of glass any escapees are not tolerated quite so well!
Because of this a further point I liked about the Exo Terra glass terrarium is that the two glass doors lock securely so that nothing can get out or in and the doors can be opened independently of one another so if a lizard is by one door I can open the other to drop in some crickets without worrying if he is going to jump out of the open door just next to him.
Removable Mesh Lid
This is such a tiny thing but to me makes such a massive difference. The top of the cage is basically a removable mesh grill with very fine holes so none of my captives can get through them.
So why am I so happy about the mesh lid then I hear you ask! Firstly the fact that is can be easily removed means that it is easy to put large items of tank decor into the cage easily like cork bark and plants. Secondly the mesh allows air to circulate which means a healthier environment for my pets and less chance of a build-up of mould of bacteria.
Finally the holes in the mesh mean that UV light can enter the cage which cannot be said for most other materials including glass. In this way one can add a UV tube above the cage if keeping lizards and the ultraviolet light will make it’s way into the cage where the lizards can benefit from it.
Being able to place the tube outside of the cage means it is safer for my reptiles, easier to keep an eye on and doesn’t risk getting messy for example when my geckos climb up and defecate near the roof of the cage.
Easy To Fit Electrics
A few years ago I bought a large wooden vivarium for one of my snakes. After getting it home I realized there was no easy way to add electrics to it. I had to drill holes in the side for electric cables to come out of. I had to carefully attach light fittings inside the roof of the cage. I had to take the plugs off everything so I could the wires through holes and so on. I did it eventually but it was a nasty surprise when I realized all the extra work this would be.
The Exo Terra cages are designed smartly with electrics in mind. As already mentioned lights can be placed above the mesh lid outside the cage. Other electrics have special holes created for them making it easy to fit heaters, thermostats, hygrometers and the like without needing to resort to any DIY skills or power tools
High Glass Wall At Front
Below the two front-opening glass doors is a reasonable-height panel of glass (please see the picture as I am struggling to explain this aspect!). This piece of glass has a number of benefits. Firstly it is high enough that when you open up your cages most ground-dwelling animals are lower than the door opening greatly reducing the chances of them getting out.
It also means that you can include quite a lot of substrate if you like without it falling out every time you open the door so for some of my burrowing tarantulas I have been able to include quite a few inches of peat-free compost in which they can dig and feel more at home while I still have full access to their home for feeding and cleaning.
Naturalistic “Rock” Effect Background
The back wall of the cage is covered by a naturalistic “rock effect” tile which can be easily removed for cleaning. The tile at the back helps to set the stage for an attractive naturalistic cage and contrasts starkly to bare glass or wood that is visible at the back of most reptile cages.
Range Of Sizes Available
Best of all for someone like me with quite a collection of exotic pets, Exo Terra make quite a range of different sizes of their glass terrarium which means I have been able to select a range of sizes to suit my various pets yet they still “work” together on the shelving unit because they all follow the same basic design.
Here are the model numbers with the dimensions…
PT2600 – 30cm (12″) in width by 30cm (12″) in depth by 30cm (12″) in height
PT2602 – 30cm (12″) in width by 30cm (12″) in depth by 45cm (18″) in height
PT2605 – 45cm (18″) in width by 45cm (18″) in depth by 45cm (18″) in height
PT2607 – 45cm (18″) in width by 45cm (18″) in depth by 60cm (24″) in height
PT2610 – 60cm (24″) in width by 45cm (18″) in depth by 45cm (18″) in height
PT2612 – 60cm (24″) in width by 45cm (18″) in depth by 60cm (24″) in height
PT2613 – 90cm (36″) in width by 45cm (18″) in depth by 45cm (18″) in height
PT2614 – 90cm (36″) in width by 45cm (18″) in depth by 60cm (24″) in height
As you can see that is a pretty good range of sizes though it seems many of the reptile stores I visited only stocked a small number of these sizes so in my opinion getting them online is probably the best method.
Also you can see that the range of sizes will cover most common reptile, amphibian and invertebrate species with the smaller cages suitable for tarantulas, mantids and the like, the slightly larger cages for small lizards and amphibians and the largest sizes suitable for leopard geckos, bearded dragons and average-sized snakes like ball pythons and corn snakes.
One of the common problems with setting up a vivarium is quite simply all the different types of equipment that is available. You’re left guessing what might work with what and many times in the past I have had a nasty surprise after spending quite some time deciding on some lighting for a cage only to get home and find that for whatever reason it won’t fit.
A real strength of the Exo Terra glass terrariums then in my opinion is the range of specially-designed accessories made specially to fit any of these cages. For example one can buy lighting units made specifically to fit over part of the mesh lid of the cage thus providing light easily and neatly and there are even hygrometers and thermometers that are designed to slip neatly onto the outside of the cage so you can control the condition inside.
Incase you can’t tell I really like these terrariums and as I say I am slowly moving all of my smaller animals over into them. I have yet to find a single weakness to them apart possibly from the fact that their sturdy glass construction means they’re a little heavier than wooden vivariums though I feel all the other benefits more than outway this slight niggle of mine.
I am buying mine from Amazon because they offer great prices, fast delivery and customer service and you can find out more by visiting their site here.