vivariums – Keeping Exotic Pets http://www.keepingexoticpets.com Tue, 26 Dec 2017 10:39:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 Corn Snake Enclosures http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/corn-snake-enclosures/ http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/corn-snake-enclosures/#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 11:26:21 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=1961 Corn snakes are one of the most popular pet snakes due to their docile nature, ease of care and low cost of purchase. Like all snakes, however, the key to a long and healthy life for your pet is in the provision of a suitable enclosure. A corn snake enclosure should meet all of the […]

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Corn snakes are one of the most popular pet snakes due to their docile nature, ease of care and low cost of purchase.

Like all snakes, however, the key to a long and healthy life for your pet is in the provision of a suitable enclosure.

A corn snake enclosure should meet all of the following requirements:

Security / Escape-Proof – Corn snakes are natural escape artists, and are capable of squeezing through the tiniest of gaps. A suitable corn snake enclosure should therefore address this situation, ensuring that there is no way that your pet can escape. This is particularly important as corn snakes tend to be nocturnal, so they are likely to be most active (and therefore to escape) while you’re tucked up in bed. By the following morning trying to track them down can be a frustrating experience.

Just as important as preventing your corn snake from escaping, however, is preventing unauthorized access to your snake from outside. This doesn’t just apply to other people in your home, but also other domestic pets. Cats can be a particular nuisance, so ensure there is no way for your cat to open the cage door or to sneak a paw into the enclosure.  

Suitable Environmental Conditions – One of the key differences between keeping exotic pets like corn snakes and other more traditional pets is that they are far more affected by their environment. Temperature and light levels should be suitably controlled to ensure maximum comfort. At the same time, your corn snake should have continual access to fresh water, somewhere snug to hide away from prying eyes, and should enough space to move around.

Cleanliness and Hygiene – Corn snakes are surprisingly clean animals. While they may eat dead rodents and birds, these are normally swallowed whole, leaving little or no residue in their cage. Eating only occasionally, snakes also tend to defecate only irregularly, and this often dried quite quickly in the confines of a warm cage.

Cleaning tends to be a reasonably simple affair as a result, but is important all the same. Drinking water should of course be changed daily, the cage should be spot-cleaned as necessary and the whole thing emptied, scrubbed with reptile-safe disinfectant and set up again on a regular basis.

Visibility – Lastly, of course, you should be able to see and enjoy your pet from afar. A corn snake enclosure with a clear plastic or glass front ensures that you can get the most from owning a snake, and can observe your snake’s everyday activities without interfering unnecessarily.

Corn Snake Cage Size

corn snakes photo

Unlike more timid snakes such as ball pythons, corn snakes can be surprisingly active, especially around dawn and dusk. They willingly explore their cage, looking for suitable prey (and, some people might argue, opportunities for escape!). Growing to an adult length of around 120cm (4’) corn snakes therefore appreciate a reasonable amount of space.

Cage Sizes for Adult Corn Snakes

Opinions vary as to the optimum but a good rule of thumb for adult corn snakes is a cage measuring no less than 90cm (3’) in length with a depth of 40cm (15”). Of course, as with other active snakes, if you’re able to provide a larger cage then all the better. A corn snake kept in a four foot long (120cm) cage with a depth of eighteen inches (45cm) will all the happier.

Cage Sizes for Hatchling Corn Snakes

Of course, a pencil-sized baby corn snake would soon get lost in a large enclosure, which would also make maintaining your snake rather more problematic. Ideally corn snakes should be housed in a cage where you can easily lay eyes on them at any time, in order to ensure they are in full health.

Many baby corn snakes are kept in clear plastic containers measuring little more than 18” long by 8-10” deep. Such a container is suitable for the smallest of hatchlings, but of course over time your snake will need to be rehoused as it grows.

Types of Corn Snake Enclosures

corn snakes photo

In theory, any container which effectively meets the guidelines provided earlier can make a suitable corn snake enclosure. In reality, there are a limited number of “tried-and-tested” cages which tend to work best for corn snakes in captivity…

Glass Aquariums with a Suitable Lid

One of the more popular corn snake enclosures is a suitably-sized glass aquarium. Such a cage provides excellent visibility of your pet and is both easy to source and to clean. There are, however, downsides. Firstly, of course, glass aquariums can be heavy to get home and to move around.

Secondly, it is critical to purchase a suitable reptile-safe lid. This lid should not only prevent escape of your pet, but should also prevent too much heat from escaping in colder months. Increasingly, a small range of specialist glass tanks are being made available to reptile keepers, complete with a specially-made lid which offers the maximum in security.

Wooden Vivariums

Possibly the most popular option of all for housing larger corn snakes is a wooden vivarium. These tanks are available online or from most good pet stores, and often for rather less than an aquarium.

With their ventilated sides for air movement, and the sliding glass doors at the front, wooden snake vivariums offer all the practicality needed with an attractive design and easy access.

The solid sides and roof also offer other benefits; not only do they allow your corn snake to feel rather more secure than having glass on all sides, but they also help to hold the heat on cold winter days. As a result, keeping your corn snake warm and comfortable becomes easier and cheaper.

Lastly, note that the wooden construction can make it easier to affix the electrical components necessary. It is simplicity itself to drill a small hole in the side, in order to feed through a heater, light or thermostat cable; something that is far more challenging in a solid glass tank.

For these reasons, my own personal preference when keeping corn snakes is for one of the reasonably-priced, highly practical wooden vivariums.

Glass Exo Terra Cages

For smaller corn snakes glass Exo Terra cages can work very well; offering a compromise between wooden vivariums and glass tanks. The Exo Terra is of all-glass construction but offers a number of carefully-designed benefits.

For one thing, the lockable front-opening doors make accessing your snake very simple. The raised glass floor also makes fitting a heater beneath very simple indeed. Exo Terras also come with built-in cable holes, which can be closed easily, making it easy to install any electrical equipment required.

Lastly, if you opt to provide artificial lighting for your snake, or heat the cage from above, then Exo Terra also offer custom-designed cage hoods, complete with bulb fittings, into which your chosen lighting solution can be fitted.  

Exo Terras come in a wide range of sizes, making them ideal for corn snakes of many sizes, from tiny hatchlings right up to full-grown adults.

Faunariums

A faunarium is a low-cost corn snake enclosure, suitable for smaller specimens. It is made of rigid clear plastic, with a closely-attaching ventilated plastic lid. Larger models tend to also have a “trapdoor” in the middle of the lid, to enable access to the enclosure without removing the entire lid.

To me, these are a solid solution for smaller snakes. Indeed, you may see some reptile shops placing multiple faunariums into one single large vivariums, with each one containing a baby snake.

Due to the size that your corn snake should achieve, however, these are unlikely to be suitable for larger snakes, however they can be a cheap solution while you’re waiting for your corn snake to reach a suitable size for their own wooden vivarium or Exo Terra.

Really Useful Boxes

Other escape-proof plastic containers have also become popular among exotic pet owners over the years. Of these, arguably the Really Useful Box (or “RUB” for short) is the most popular. These sturdy, stackable boxes have the distinct benefit of offering a “locking” lid thanks to two blue devices which “click” over the lid, preventing escape.

RUBs are also quite cheap to buy, and due to their solid design it is very simple to drill some air holes in the side using an electric drill. These are arguably the most practical enclosure of all for very small snakes.

What is the Best Corn Snake Enclosure?

One of the more common questions I receive through my contact form is what the best corn snake enclosure really is. Of course, with the wide range of cages available there is no easy answer to this question. Some are far more practical than others, while prices can vary considerably between the different options.

My own personal preference is to opt for one of the smaller Exo Terras if I’m buying just a single baby snake. The appearance and practicality of these cages is, I think, exceptional. Of course, if you’re keeping a number of baby snakes then these can quickly become expensive, in which case you may opt for something less visually appealing but far cheaper – such as a suitably-sized RUB.

For adult corn snakes I think the best enclosure is a wooden vivarium. These come in a range of different colors, look fantastic, and offer both security and practicality for you – especially if combined with a low-cost cage lock.

That said, I would encourage you to consider your budget, and the size of the snake you’re planning to buy, to decide what the optimum compromise is for you regarding price, size, practicality and appearance.

Siting Your Corn Snake Enclosure

snake vivarium photo

Alongside buying a suitable corn snake enclosure another critical aspect relating to corn snake enclosures is where to place the cage in your home. Like other reptiles, corn snakes are sensitive to noise and vibrations, as well as to a range of common household chemicals.

In terms of which room to place your corn snake enclosure in, the kitchen and bathroom are therefore best avoided. The best option is a quiet bedroom or office where your snake won’t be regularly disturbed. The enclosure may alternatively be placed in your living room, assuming you won’t have children running around and causing stress to the snake.

Being sensitive to noise, it is best to place your corn snake enclosure away from such sources – ideally they should be housed away from TVs, stereo systems and washing machines for example.

Being cold blooded creatures, requiring artificial heating in all but the warmest weather, also think about drafts or areas of your home where temperatures may fluctuate excessively. Don’t, for example, place your corn snake enclosure near an outside door, or against a radiator that may warm up rapidly in winter.

Lastly, be aware that direct sunlight can rapidly heat up a glass cage, leading to dangerous temperatures inside your corn snake enclosure. Keeping tanks away from windows – especially those facing south – is therefore also recommended.

While this may sound like a long list of requirements, it is normally quite easily achieved in most homes. A dimly-lit spare bedroom away from a radiator, for example, is a perfect site for your corn snake’s cage, where they will be away from noise, vibrations and fluctuating temperatures.

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Bearded Dragon Vivariums http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/bearded-dragon-vivariums/ http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/bearded-dragon-vivariums/#respond Sat, 05 Nov 2016 07:35:00 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=1373 Bearded dragons are rightly one of the most popular pet reptiles of all, and certainly the most commonly-kept lizard species. However keeping a bearded dragon is far more complex than many other pets. One of the most critical factors of all is their housing, which must be set up correctly if your beardie is to […]

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Bearded dragons are rightly one of the most popular pet reptiles of all, and certainly the most commonly-kept lizard species.

However keeping a bearded dragon is far more complex than many other pets. One of the most critical factors of all is their housing, which must be set up correctly if your beardie is to remain happy and healthy.

In this article we’re going to discuss the ins and outs of setting up a tank for your very first pet bearded dragon. By the end you’ll have a full understanding of what you’re going to need to consider before bringing your beardie home from the reptile shop…

The Basics

A bearded dragon vivarium must meet a number of essential requirements:

Suitable Space – Bearded dragons are a mid-sized lizard and as a result adults in particular require a generously-sized cage. In doing so, they will be able to move about at will and display natural behaviour.

Security – As well as keeping your bearded dragon inside, your vivarium should also keep other pets out. Interestingly, many other domestic pets – in particular cats – seem to be fascinated by bearded dragons. In order to prevent your pet becoming dinner for the cat you’ll want to be certain there’s no way in without your permission.

Privacy – Bearded dragons can get stressed in captivity, especially as youngsters. Another important element of their vivarium should therefore to provide a degree of privacy so that they feel safe and secure in their tank.

Natural Behaviour – While bearded dragons rapidly tame down, with many seemingly enjoying the company of their owner, its important to bear in mind that these are “wild” animals. As such it is important to consider their natural behaviour, and to facilitate this in captivity.

Warmth – Bearded dragons hail from the hot, dry savannas of Australia. As cold-blooded creatures they therefore require artificial heating to keep them healthy. A vivarium should be set up to provide a suitable level of heat, in a safe manner.

Ultraviolet Light – Like most lizards awake during the day (“diurnal”) bearded dragons need access to UV light in order to metabolize vitamin D and calcium effectively. Without this artificial sunshine bearded dragons can suffer from a range of painful, and frequently fatal, health complications.

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing and setting up a bearded dragon cage. Fortunately, we’re going to discuss each point in this article, so you’re fully armed with the right information.

bearded dragon photoTypes of Bearded Dragon Vivariums

Let’s start by considering the different types of bearded dragon cages commonly available on the market. As you’ll see, each has their own unique strengths and weaknesses, but there is one type that is likely to be the best solution for the majority of keepers.

Glass Aquariums

A common bearded dragon enclosure is a large glass aquarium, as sold for tropical fish. A glass tank is easy to clean, provides excellent visibility and can be bought quite cheaply. As a result they’re often the first thought of new reptile-keepers. Sadly, there are a number of issues you need to be aware of.

Firstly, glass aquariums require a tight-fitting reptile-lid to not only keep in your pet, but also to permit the right environmental conditions. While a number of reptile companies sell these lids (often known as “tank toppers”) they are very expensive, and tend to only come in a very limited range of sizes. Sourcing (or build) a suitable lid can therefore make glass aquariums a surprisingly pricey and impractical option for most.

The second consideration pertains to privacy. As relatively private creatures, used to keeping a constant eye out for predators heading in their direction, the all-glass construction of aquariums can cause unnecessary stress. Generally reptile keepers find that a cage with solid sides and back make beardies feel safer and more comfortable in their surroundings.

A final consideration is just how heavy and impractical to move an aquarium can be. A large all-glass tank is certainly a two-person job (or more!) to safely get home and pop in position.

So while glass aquariums certainly aren’t the worst bearded dragon cages on the market, they are far from ideal.

Plastic Moulded Vivariums

bearded dragon photo

A small number of manufacturers produce plastic moulded vivariums. These typically have a glass or perspex door at the front, allowing access and excellent visibility. The rest of the cage, however, is made from sturdy moulded plastic.

The plastic construction has a number of benefits over glass aquariums. Firstly these cages are considerably lighter, and therefore easier to move. Secondly, the solid sides and backs help to provide additional security for your lizard. Finally, the plastic exterior tends to be a better insulator than an all-glass cage, meaning that they are easier to keep warm in winter.

There are only two weaknesses of plastic cages for bearded dragons. The first of these is that plastic cages are still quite unusual in the hobby, and so can be challenging to source. Even people who *want* a moulded plastic cage often give up and instead rely on one of the other possible solutions.

The other weakness pertains to the limited range of sizes and shapes on the market. Remember that an adult bearded dragon will require a good-sized cage, and sourcing such an item is therefore even more challenging. As a result, most bearded dragon keepers instead rely on the third – and arguably most appropriate – solution…

Wooden Vivariums

Wooden vivariums are, hands down, the most suitable cages for most bearded dragons.

Firstly they are available in a wide range of styles and shapes, easily permitting you to locate a suitable cage. They can be found for sale at almost any reptile shop, or can be easily bought online to save on having to carry them home. The wood comes in a range of finishes and colors, from white or black, through a range of natural wood effects like oak, teak or pine. My personal favourite is the beech effect.

The wood used to construct these vivariums isn’t solid wood typically, but rather melamine (conti) board. As a result, these vivariums aren’t overly heavy to carry and can cope with a little moisture now and again. This makes it easy to wipe around with a reptile-safe detergent when carrying out routine cleaning.

The timber construction is also very good at keeping heat in, making heating your tank much easier and more affordable in cold winter months. It is also easy to attach screws and nails, in order to fit the necessary heating and lighting equipment.

Like the plastic vivariums, the solid sides and back help to give your pet security, while the sliding glass doors make for excellent visibility for you, and ease of access for feeding, cleaning or watching.

Heck, for the more enthusiastic DIY-er, it is even possible to build your own wooden vivarium to your own unique design.

In short, wooden vivariums are the best type of cage for bearded dragons bar none – assuming you select a model of a suitable size and deck it out with the right equipment.

Note that there are a range of other cages available for reptiles, however these are rarely used for bearded dragons and tend not to be suitable. For example, mesh cages are available primarily for chameleons, while racks are available for housing large numbers of snakes.

It is best to avoid these alternatives and stick to a wooden vivarium, a solution which has proven successful time and again.

What Size Vivarium Does a Bearded Dragon Need?

bearded dragon photoWhile baby bearded dragons measure in at just a few inches in length, a well cared-for lizard will grow rapidly.

Adult size, which may be reached in less than 18 months, tends to be around 2 feet (60cm) including the tail. These are therefore not small lizards!

Understandably, these active and impressively-sized lizards therefore require a suitably generous cage. Expert opinions vary, but a good “rule of thumb” is to aim for a wooden vivarium some 4 feet (120cm) in length. This provides room for your pet to move around naturally and not to feel too cramped.

Of course, it’s not just length that we need to consider, but also depth and height. Most experts recommend that the vivarium should be at deep as your lizard is long. In this way he or she can turn around unhindered. For adults this will mean a vivarium that is 18″-24″ (45-60cm) deep.

While bearded dragons do not active climbers, they seem to appreciate some added height. Many a bearded dragon will be seen in pet shops perched on a rock or a branch, frequently lying motionless in seeming ecstasy beneath a toasty-warm heat lamp.

Consequently a height of around 18″ (45cm) or more is recommended, so that some climbing apparatus can be included. Also, be aware that heating and lighting equipment can also take up some vertical space.

Of course, all the bearded dragon tank dimensions provided so far are for an adult specimen. Housing youngsters is no more complex than adults, but you do need to consider how quickly your beautifu little baby is going to grow. After all, buying a new vivarium every few months isn’t really practical, nor is putting a tiny 4″ long lizard into a four foot long tank!

Possibly the best solution when buying a baby dragon is to invest in a half-sized wooden vivarium to start with. A small vivarium of around 60-75cm long, and 30-45cm in depth and height will keep your baby beardie happy for many months to come. Then, when he or she starts to outgrow the existing accommodation you can upgrade to an adult-sized vivarium.

Note that most wooden vivariums can be taken apart and stored flat. In this way they take up a surprisingly small amount of room, and can easily be slipped into a cupboard for future use.

Before you buy a baby bearded dragon, however, check out the costs of adult cages. Also appreciate that the heater you buy for a small vivarium probably won’t be enough for a larger tank, so also factor this into your maths. Make sure you have suitable funds put aside to invest in a good-sized vivarium when necessary; there are a disappointing number of beardies put up for sale/adoption each year after their owners failed to plan effectively. Please don’t add to the problem.

Where Should I Place My Bearded Dragon Cage?

Buying a suitable bearded dragon cage is just one part of the housing puzzle. Another important element is where to put your cage. Here’s what you need to consider…

Draughts

Bearded dragons don’t fare well in cool or overly damp conditions. This means that placing your bearded dragon vivarium near a window, or an external door, is far from ideal. Every time someone walks into the room they’ll being a cold draught with them, which can be detrimental to your lizard. Also consider that radiators can turn on and off throughout the day, which can also make it harder to accurately heat your bearded dragon cage.

Direct Sunshine

Bearded dragons, like most lizards, may enjoy basking in sunshine when in the wild, but it’s a factor that should be avoided in captivity. The reason is quite simple; sunlight shining through the glass doors of a vivarium can rapidly heat it up, getting dangerously hot in the process.

While in the wild an overly-hot bearded dragon would be able to slink off to rest in a cooler area to relax, this just isn’t possible in captivity. We therefore need to make sure that the internal temperature of the cage never gets too hot.

Also, it’s important to understand that most of the beneficial UV light in natural sunlight gets filtered out by glass. Therefore don’t think that placing your vivarium near a window will provide all the UV required; the window pane and the glass in the front of the vivarium will render this virtually useless.

The solution is simple; keep your vivarium out of direct sunlight at all times, and provide UV light through a reptile-safe alternative.

Peace & Quiet

No matter how docile and friendly your bearded dragon might be, we all appreciate a little peace and quiet sometimes. This is especially so for reptiles and amphibians.

Placing your beardies’ cage in a busy area can therefore lead to considerable stress. Examples of things to avoid include placing your beardie cage in a very busy room where people are squeezing past (such as your hall or landing) or near sources of loud noise (such as near TVs or stereo systems).

Possibly the best place for a bearded dragon cage is a quiet bedroom, where they won’t be disturbed most of the day.

Height

Lastly, a number of keepers over the years have noticed that bearded dragons seem to feel safest when their cage is raised up off the ground. From this increased height they then have a better view of the world going past.

In light of this, try not to place your bearded dragon cage directly on the floor. Instead, positioning it more at waist-height tends to work best. It also affords you the best possible view too.

If yo don’t have a suitably sized piece of furniture, be aware that a number of suppliers offer special vivarium stands. These are typically made from the same range of wood as the vivariums, giving a really professional look to the cage. The storage cupboards underneath can also be tremendously useful for storing equipment out-of-sight so you can enjoy your beardie fully.

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6 Ways to Warm Up Your Vivarium in Winter http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/warm-up-your-vivarium-in-winter/ http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/warm-up-your-vivarium-in-winter/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2016 06:17:28 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=1400 As winter approaches, and the temperature drops, its not uncommon for that formerly toasty reptile cage to start developing quite a chill. The heater that has done its job perfectly for months on end finally starts to struggle to deal with the cold. All too soon, if you’re not careful, the cage temperature drops dangerously […]

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As winter approaches, and the temperature drops, its not uncommon for that formerly toasty reptile cage to start developing quite a chill.

The heater that has done its job perfectly for months on end finally starts to struggle to deal with the cold. All too soon, if you’re not careful, the cage temperature drops dangerously low, and action needs to be taken.

The Problem with Heat Mats

Most invertebrate keepers, and even many snake owners, use low-wattage heat mats to warm their vivariums. While these are a safe, low-cost and generally effective way of providing artificial heat, they’re not without their weaknesses. The main problem being that they only produce a gentle warmth.

While your reptile cage may sit comfortably at 25’C during September and October, by the time winter sets in properly its not uncommon to find the ambient temperature in the cage dropping. This is especially so if you’re out at work or school during the day, as it’s unlikely you’ll have your household heating on to take the edge off things.

So what can be done?

basking photo

Over the years I’ve lived in some very cold properties – more than one of which didn’t even have central heating. In that time I’ve had to test and develop a range of techniques for significantly increasing the temperature in my vivariums, especially those with plenty of ventilation which can let the cold air in.

Here are my tips for keeping your vivarium warmer, if your current heater isn’t doing it’s job effectively enough…

Upgrade Your Vivarium Heater

If your reptile heat mat isn’t raising the tank temperature up enough then the first obvious solution is to invest in a more powerful heater. The obvious question then becomes – what’s more powerful than a heat mat?

Putting aside most lizards for a moment – who should have a high-powered basking lamp at all times anyway – what we really need is a source of underfloor heating for your tarantulas, mantids or snakes. This can then be used just as your heat mat is right now, but simply gives out rather more warmth.

In the 20-odd years I’ve been keeping reptiles and invertebrates I’ve experimented with a range of options, but possibly the most effective has been soil-warming cables.

reptile photo

These are long, waterproof wires, designed for greenhouse gardeners. The theory is that these cables can be buried in the earth of your beds, thus gently warming the soil. This encourages quicker germination and more vigorous growth.

But the same piece of equipment can be used quite effectively in the home by reptile keepers.

The heaters come in a range of different lengths, so you can choose an option which suits the number of cages you have to heat. The cable can then be run along behind or under each of your reptile cages.

I have found that these provide considerably more heat than heat mats, so are an ideal solution for cold winters. Personally I use tape like this to fix the cable down, otherwise every time you move your vivariums you’ll disturb the cabling.

IMPORTANT NOTE: As soil warming cables can get very warm (I’ve heated ball pythons to 30’C using them without issue) it is essential that they are used with a suitable thermostat. This ensures that your precious reptiles won’t overheat, even if the ambient temperature in the room starts to rise.

Add a Second Heater

Just because your heat mat isn’t quite getting the temperature high enough doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to replace it altogether. A second option is to add a second source of heating to the mix.

This is often the solution I use with my Exo Terra terrariums, which with their all-glass construction and well-ventilated lids, don’t hold the heat as well as a wooden vivarium might.

In the case of my Exo Terras I use the special tank lids that can be purchased separately, and place a low-powered heat bulb like this one into it. I find a 25W bulb is more than effective even in the coldest weather.

reptile photo

This heat bulb is then controlled in two manners. Firstly, it is placed on a timer, so I don’t need to remember to turn it on. Most of mine are scheduled to be on between 10am and 6pm. Secondly, as with soil warming cables, be sure to use an effective thermostat to control the vivarium temperature.

Combining my hat mats with heating lamps allows me to produce almost any temperature that my reptiles need with the minimum of fuss each winter.

Use a Reflector

Hat mats give out warmth from both sides – even though only one is placed next to the vivarium. In many cases, therefore, you’ll find that you’re heating the shelf or table that the tank is on as effectively as the vivarium itself.

Using a reflector behind or underneath the heat mat can therefore help to reflect more of this beneficial heat into your vivarium.

I use two different options here and have found them equally effective. On the one had I use polystyrene tiles for under-tank heaters. I just place down a few tiles, put the heater ontop, and then place the vivarium over this.

For heaters attached to the sides of vivariums I’ve had excellent results with self-adhesive cork tiles, which are just as insulative but look visibly more attractive stuck to the side of the tank.

Insulate Your Vivarium

While wooden vivariums tend to retain their heat well (and so I my general recommendation for most reptiles), invertebrate keepers using glass or plastic containers may struggle a little more.

We’ve already discussed the possibility of using cork or polystyrene as a reflector, but these can also be used to better-insulate cages.

reptile photo

I know of several keepers who use a hot glue gun to attach cork tiles to the outside walls of their glass tanks, leaving just the front area free of insulation. They report that this process can be very effective indeed for keeping in heat during the winter, and so keeping the cage warmer than before.

Reduce Ventilation

Ventilation is a touchy subject among exotic pet keepers. After all, everyone knows that ventilation is important to prevent mould build-up, but can reducing this ventilation in a reptile cage help to boost it’s temperature?

I would argue almost certainly that the answer is “yes”. For example, if you’re using an Exo Terra with a mesh grill lid, then popping one or two of the tank covers on, or adding a piece of clear plastic over part of the lid can be a highly effective way to increase the temperature in the cage.

If you’re going to down this route, however, be sure to keep a closer eye on the cage than normal, and never block off all ventilation.

Heat the Room

The last option, as used by some serious reptile keepers, is to heat not just your reptile vivariums, but also the room that they’re placed in. Some people, for example, will keep the door to their “reptile room” closed, and leave an oil-filled radiator or suchlike on low power throughout the day.

The radiator doesn’t need to be on full blast – just enough to raise the ambient room temperature to some 16-20’C is normally more than enough to let your heat mat do the rest of the job.

reptile photo

Whichever option you select, it’s very important that you take action as quickly as possible. A tarantula, mantis or snake that is kept far too cold for too long is at risk of developing health issues and/or going off food. In extreme situations the impact could even be fatal.

If you’ve noticed that your pet seems sluggish, or that your thermometer is reporting a far lower vivarium temperature than you would like, it is wise to get any necessary equipment ordered now so that you can resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Photos c/o highlander411 & © Axel Naud

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Housing Fire Bellied Toads http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/housing-fire-bellied-toads/ http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/housing-fire-bellied-toads/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:25:39 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=720 There are currently three different species of toad kept in captivity which may be referred to as “fire bellied toads” – namely the standard fire bellied toad (Bombina bombina), the Oriental fire bellied toad (Bombina orientalis) and the yellow bellied toad (Bombina variegata). And while the appearance of these three toad species are quite different […]

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housing fire bellied toadsThere are currently three different species of toad kept in captivity which may be referred to as “fire bellied toads” – namely the standard fire bellied toad (Bombina bombina), the Oriental fire bellied toad (Bombina orientalis) and the yellow bellied toad (Bombina variegata).

And while the appearance of these three toad species are quite different as the name suggests they all display a bright orange/red belly which is used to ward off potential predators.

Should a fire bellied toad feel threatened it will flip over onto it’s back, revealing the bright warning colors and thus communicating to predactors just how unpleasant they will be to eat. This is particularly shocking as they are reasonably plain-looking when viewed from above.

Fortunately the care of all these three species of fire bellied toads is relatively similar and having kept dozens of specimens over the years in a range of different set-ups, and bearing in mind how popular these toads are, I thought it as time to put “pen to paper” in a digital sense and discuss what I have found to be the best possible setup for them.

Why Keep Fire Bellied Toads?

fire bellied toadIn many ways fire bellied toads are one of the easiest exotic pets of all to keep and as a result they are an ideal species to “get your toes wet” with.

However for the more experienced exotic pet keeper the fact that they are so easy to keep and require so little maintenance means that they can make an easy addition to any exotic pet collection without significantly increasing the workload of maintaining your menagerie.

In essence fire bellied toads are relatively cheap to buy and only grow to a couple of inches in length so require only a small vivarium. In general fire bellied toads like a cool, moist environment so there is no requirement for artificial lighting or even heating when they are kept in the average home. This further reduces their housing costs and makes it very difficult to get their requirements far wrong.

However just because these toads are small and have minimal captive requirements don’t go thinking they are boring to keep.

Their colors alone should be enough to encourage you to try your hand at keeping them but furthermore these docile amphibians can be kept in small groups allowing you to watch them socializing and interacting. And whilst they’re not “noisy” pets you’ll soon hear a range of different calls from them as they settle into their vivarium.

Indeed without too much effort it is even possible to encourage fire bellied toads to breed in your home with a short winter cooling period followed by a water change that mimics the onset of the wet season that they would experience in the wild.

Basic Housing Requirements Of Fire Bellied Toads

Bombina orientalis (aquaterrarium)Lacking the need for heating or artificial lighting (which they positively try to avoid when provided) their housing requirements are pretty basic.

These toads are quite aquatic in nature and will spend extended periods of time simply “hanging” in water if provided for them. They also like to jump into the water to escape from “predators” – an action you may well observe if you open up their tank or even walk past in a hurry.

Indeed many exotic pet keepers seem to keep fire bellied toads in an exclusively aquatic environment except perhaps for the provision of a branch or bit of cork bark to climb out on.

However my own preference is to provide both a land area and an aquatic area in their vivariums and my own experience is that they seem to spend roughly equal amounts of time in both habitats. I think providing a land area gives the toads the choice of where they want to sit – and as mentioned previously when given this choice a significant period of their time will be spent on land each day.

Furthermore I have found that feeding these toads is made easier when an area of land is provided. Wax worms, meal worms and baby crickets can be placed into a food bowl which the toads will rapidly learn to feed from.

By placing food into a bowl rather than into the water, it ensures the vivarium water is kept fresher and cleaner for longer which is not only nicer for your toads but also cuts down on your cleaning. Lastly observing your toads stalking the food in their bowl makes for added interest to your vivarium.

Choosing A Suitable Aquarium

The best housing for fire bellied toads is a standard aquarium as sold in any pet shop for fish keepers. Fire bellied toads aren’t overly active and so a huge tank is unnecessary. Personally I keep a group of four individuals in a tank measuring two feet long though slightly smaller quarters don’t seem to lead to any adverse effects.

Due to the volume of water you’ll be using ensure that your aquarium is water-tight if bought second-hand. Furthermore while fire bellied toads can’t climb glass a lid is recommended as this will keep out dust and any other household pets as well as helping you maintain a humid environment.

As always with amphibians whilst a humid environment is recommended it is important that the air is not allowed to become stagnant so a degree of air movement is recommended -ideally provided by including a mesh area in the lid.

The Water To Dry Land Argument

fire bellied toad tanksI have used a number of different arrangements over the years to provide both a land and a water area for my fire bellied toads.

For example up until a few months ago I used a deep cat litter tray of water and placed it in the bottom of a standard aquarium, filling in the land area around it so that the substrate was flush with the top of the tray – thus making it easy for the toads to get in and out of the water.

However since then I have upped my game and now believe the best arrangement is to fix a piece of perspex, as available very cheaply from many DIY stores or from specialist suppliers online, across an aquarium using special aquarium sealant.

By glueing around the sides and bottom of the piece of perspex on both sides one can make a water-tight seal and thus ensure the land area does not become too waterlogged.

As a side note it is essential to use aquarium sealant rather than standard bathroom silicon which contains fungicides to prevent mold in your bathroom yet can harm aquatic creatures.

Setting Up The Aquatic Area

fire bellied toad vivariumsThe ideal depth of the water area is at least as deep as your toads are long – which in practice means 3-4 inches minimum so that your toads can hang in the water as they would in nature with their leg’s outstretched without touching the bottom.

I add a layer of washed aquarium gravel partly to make the vivarium look more natural but to also provide a surface for beneficial bacteria to grow on which will help to keep the water fresh.

I also like to add a few good-quality artificial plants to the water to give it an even more natural feel and to encourage my toads to feel at home. As these can be quite shy creatures that spook easily even when they have been kept in the home for some time, these plants provide a little additional cover and security without ruining your enjoyment of them too much.

Depending on the volume of water you are providing a small power filter should be used (I use a Fluval 2 in my tank) to circulate the water gently and remove any mess such as faecal material and sloughed skin.

It is also important to use only treated water in your toad tank much as you would when keeping fish. This means at a minimum using one of the reptile-safe water treatment drops that will remove chlorine and other chemicals from the water.

For those people with the money to invest even better is de-ionized water which will eliminate the risks of “sludge lines” appearing as the water naturally evaporates leaving behind mineral residues which can be difficult to remove.

One final element of setting up the water area is adding some cork bark and/or artificial plants by the partition to enable your toads to easily get in and out of the water as they see fit.

Setting Up The Land Area

There are a number of possible substrates that can be used for the dry land area. For example vivarium composts may be used, as can bark chippings or choir mulch. One factor worth bearing in mind is that the toads will be jumping in and out of the water so if you use a fine substrate like compost you will likely find a fine film of this on the top of the water soon enough as the toads carry it in.

As a result bark chippings are probably the ideal substrate as these have extra weight, are less likely to stick to the moist bodies of your toads and are easy-enough to remove from the water should any get dragged in.

As well as this base substrate, try adding additional hiding places to help your toads feel comfortable in their vivarium. For this I use one or two more good-quality artificial plants to “mask” the back of the tank as well as a few strategically-placed pieces of cork bark under which the toads can conceal themselves.

Final Thoughts

This basic set-up for fire bellied toads works well, provides a pseudo-natural environment for them that looks great and allows them to behave naturally, as well as requiring minimal cleaning from you. Indeed apart from topping-up of the food bowl the only regular work is a partial water change of around 25% each week.

Under these conditions a full clean-out is only necessary every few months and the toads will virtually take care of themselves.

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How To Travel With Reptiles And Amphibians http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/how-to-travel-with-reptiles/ http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/how-to-travel-with-reptiles/#respond Fri, 18 Jan 2013 07:30:11 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=805 Travelling with cats is easy because cat carriers are widely available and work well. Dogs, too, are generally pretty easy to travel with. But if you’re looking to bring a reptile home from a pet shop or from the vets things can be a little more challenging. The purpose of this article is therefore to […]

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Travelling with cats is easy because cat carriers are widely available and work well. Dogs, too, are generally pretty easy to travel with.

But if you’re looking to bring a reptile home from a pet shop or from the vets things can be a little more challenging.

The purpose of this article is therefore to discuss some of the major factors you should consider when transporting reptiles or amphibians to ensure not only that your life is as easy as possible but even more importantly that your pet is kept safe and secure at all times.

Tank Decor

Many of us keep reptiles and amphibians in “naturalistic” vivariums complete with waterfalls, logs, tree bark and so on. During travel these can represent dangers as they may move or fall, causing danger to your pet. For this reason rather than transporting your pet in it’s normal cage, a better idea is generally to transfer your pet into another container that contains little or nothing.

While this may initially seem boring or unkind, it is recommended because it significantly reduces the chances of any tank décor causing injury to your pet, as well as making it easier to keep an eye on your pet while travelling.

Darkness

As with many animals such as aquarium fish and birds, it has been shown time and again that reptiles are calmer when kept dark. As an example, when zoos transport powerful reptiles like crocodilians or large pythons, they often use a tea towel or similar piece of fabric to shade it’s eyes and help to reduce stress and movement.

However the same basic principle can be applied to any reptile. Most snakes are transported in breathable bags such as those made from cotton or nylon, however when you buy a lizard, tortoise or frog for example these may well be presented to you in a clear plastic container, where stress can occur.

In these cases it is generally a good idea to place the container into a brown paper bag or wrap it gently in a towel to help keep the animal relaxed and prevent it from getting spooked as you move about close-by.

Ventilation

Ventilation is essential for reptiles and without this over-heating can occur, especially on hot summer days. So firstly try to avoid placing reptiles or amphibians into plastic carrier bags and secondly on warm days aim to keep the car windows open to facilitate some air movement.

Temperature

As cold blooded animals, temperature is of particular importance to reptiles and amphibians and they can react far swifter to extremes in temperature. This means that you should keep the container shaded in the summer months and ensure windows are open. If possible long car journeys should be avoided altogether.

In cold weather try to keep windows closed and consider gently turning on car heating or wrapping the container in a blanket to keep your pet warm.

However while most reptiles require artificial heating in their cages, for short journeys there’s generally no need to worry about a slight drop in temperature. Certainly try to avoid carrying a reptile through extreme weather like snow or direct summer sunshine but a temperature that is comfortable for you will be acceptable for a reptile or amphibian for a period of time.

Cooler temperatures will also make your pet less active, and therefore not only less likely to get stressed but also easier to handle at the other end. However if you’re concerned that the temperature will drop too far, be aware that heat pads are available which one can warm in the microwave. These will then produce additional heat for a few hours afterwards so these can be handy if you need to transport a reptile on a cold winters day.

Humidity

For most reptiles, humidity isn’t of major importance for short periods of time. However most amphibians require a moist environment at all times if they are to remain healthy. Whilst this is unlikely to be a problem in colder weather, it’s something that should be taken into consideration if travelling in warmer weather.

Try spraying the inside of the container with declorinated water before leaving and keep an eye on it at regular intervals during the journey. If necessary, add extra water to keep your pet safe if plenty is seen to be evaporating.

Travelling with reptiles and amphibians really needn’t be difficult if you apply some common-sense and consider the needs of your pet. By following these simple rules you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that your pet arrives at it’s destination in top condition; something that surely must be of the utmost importance to caring exotic pet owners.

Image c/o B Smith 

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Setting Up Your First Vivarium For A Bearded Dragon http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/setting-up-your-first-vivarium-for-a-bearded-dragon/ Sun, 31 Jul 2011 17:31:39 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=447 Bearded dragons are extremely fascinating and remarkable pets that never fail to amaze. Like any animal, they require love, care and specific living arrangements to keep them happy and healthy. Reptile vivariums at Pets at Home should be your first essential purchase. A vivarium for a dragon should be a miniature eco system that will […]

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Bearded dragons are extremely fascinating and remarkable pets that never fail to amaze. Like any animal, they require love, care and specific living arrangements to keep them happy and healthy. Reptile vivariums at Pets at Home should be your first essential purchase. A vivarium for a dragon should be a miniature eco system that will allow your pet to live in an environment that is as close to his natural habitat as possible.

A suitable vivarium should be large enough to allow your reptile to roam about and remain active when he wants to. Bearded dragons tend to grow up to between 38cm to 60 cm – the equivalent of 15 to 24 inches – so a vivarium of around 120cm in length, 60cm wide and 60cm tall (72 x 24 x 24 inches) is deemed appropriate.

Bearded dragons enjoy a combination of light and shade at various points during the day, therefore you should make sure the vivarium isn’t placed in an area that is in light for 24 hours or prone to loud noises – these will cause your pet stress. In addition, you must ensure that the vivarium is never in direct sunlight, especially in summer, as this will heat up the environment of the vivarium and will make it difficult to control the temperature inside the mini home.

When the tank has been purchased and placed in its position, you will need to keep an eye on the heat, light and moisture levels within the tank. A cocktail of lighting, heat mats, thermostats and specialist equipment must be purchased to achieve the desired effect. Failure to utilise suitable temperatures or UV lights can result in your beloved pet having serious health implications.

Finally, the base of a vivarium should be covered with a suitable substrate – the material of which will depend on the reptile you have. This will need clearing of any soiling on a daily basis. As a final touch, add plants and other décor to make the vivarium feel even more comfortable and homely for your bearded dragon.

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How To Clean Out Your Exotic Pet http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/how-to-clean-out-your-exotic-pet/ http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/how-to-clean-out-your-exotic-pet/#respond Mon, 04 Apr 2011 10:01:30 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=322 One of the benefits of exotic pets are that the vast majority make very little mess on a weekly basis. Certainly terrapins (turtles to our American readers) can quickly make a mess of their water but for those of us keeping tarantulas, snakes, lizards and the like we tend to have quite an easy life […]

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One of the benefits of exotic pets are that the vast majority make very little mess on a weekly basis. Certainly terrapins (turtles to our American readers) can quickly make a mess of their water but for those of us keeping tarantulas, snakes, lizards and the like we tend to have quite an easy life in terms of cleaning.

Cleaning out exotic pets can be broadly split into two kinds of job – the spot clean and the full clean.

The spot clean is the kind of maintenance that can and should be done on a regular basis. My royal python, for example, only defecates once every week or so and because of this my typical spot cleaning involves carefully removing the faeces as they are deposited by picking them up in a plastic bag, turning the bag the right way, tying it at the top and putting it in the bin.

Occasionally during feeding a little mess will be created – such as blood dripping on the substrate but I then just follow the same procedure to remove any obviously-soiled substrate. Every so often my snake moults and I remove the skin as soon as I see it.

That’s the full gamut of most of my cleaning routine. A couple of minutes a few times a week cleaning individual problems up and leaving the tank in a clean and hygienic state.

Doing these regular spot cleans as you see a problem will significantly cut down on the other type of cleaning necessary and will also keep your cage looking (and smelling) nicer for longer.

The other type of cleaning is the full clean where every part of the cage gets attention and that’s what I’d like to discuss in a little more detail below so you can see just how much more work this is and therefore why spot cleaning is so important to save you from this job for as long as possible.

Here is the process in detail as I do it:

1) Remove Exotic Pet

Firstly remove your exotic pet from their vivarium. Doing this ensures you can complete freedom over the rest of the process and so makes things much easier than trying to clean around your pet.

The whole cleaning process can take quite some time depending on the condition of the vivarium, the size of the housing and the time of year (which will affect drying temperatures) so you need to put your exotic pet somewhere that it will be safe and secure for a period of time.

For this purpose I generally keep a range of old vivariums, tubs and containers of assorted sizes that cover the full range of my livestock collection. I place the animal in, secure the lid, place the container in a warm place and cover it with a towel so that my movements as I go about my work won’t stress them.

2) Remove All Vivarium Decor And Clean

Once the animal is secured I remove all the vivarium decor such as rocks, wood, the water bowl, any hides, fake plants and so on. Using a new toothbrush and a bucket of reptile-safe detergent I scrub each item to within a inch of it’s life to remove any faeces, blood, dirt or bacteria that may be present, rinse them thoroughly and set them down to dry naturally.

This is an ideal point to discuss how many household chemicals can be tremendously dangerous to exotic pets and so you need to keep these as far away from your pet and it’s vivarium as possible. It is therefore a smart idea to go and buy brand new equipment the first time you clean out your exotic pet and then use a marker pen to write on the outside of them so you know that they have never been used for household chemicals.

The most important parts of your cleaning kit are going to be a plastic bucket or two, a dustpan and brush and a firm brush such as a toothbrush, together with some cloths for wiping the cage.

Never, ever try to use household chemicals for cleaning your exotic pets. No bleach. No glass polish. No washing up liquid. Use only detergents from a specialist exotic pet store designed specifically for reptiles and amphibians. OK, rant over 🙂

3) Remove Vivarium Substrate And Dispose Of

Next up I get rid of all the vivarium substrate. The easiest way I have found of doing this is to use a dustpan to scoop it up then place it into a bin bag. This can either be disposed on in the bin or put on your compost heap if you have used a natural substrate. Typically you will be left with some fine dust at the bottom of the vivarium and this can easily be removed with a vacuum cleaner.

4) Clean Inside Of Vivarium Including Glass

Next grab your clean cloths and your reptile-safe cleaning spray and get to work wiping down every surface inside the vivarium. Every bit of wall, glass, every fitting, nook and cranny. We want the anti-bacterial formula of the cleaning detergent worked into every area of the cage to fully sanitize it.

5) Allow Vivarium To Dry Thoroughly

By now you should be ready for a short break. Making yourself a cup of coffee or tea at this point is ideal because you now need to wait for the vivarium itself and all the decor which have been thoroughly washed to dry out naturally. You don’t want to be putting your exotic pet back into a cage still damp with the detergent no matter how “reptile safe” it is. Once you’re confident that everything is dry you can move onto the next step.

6) Check Vivarium For Issues

Take the opportunity while the vivarium is empty to check it over carefully for any potential problems. Is the wood warped? Are the electrical fittings in good condition and are they where they should be or have things moved? Do the doors/lid still fit securely? Are there any gaps or holes appearing anywhere? If so, resolve these issues before putting the vivarium back into use.

7) Replace Substrate

Grab a new bag of substrate and fill up the base of the vivarium so that it looks just like it did before you started.

8) Replace Vivarium Decor

Put all the decor back into the cage, changing the layout where necessary based on how your exotic pet uses the vivarium.

9) Replace Exotic Pet

Lastly when the vivarium is fully clean and has been set back up with all the heating and lighting working properly you can gently replace your exotic pet. Don’t be surprised if your pet either spends a lot of time exploring or hides away for a while. The vivarium will likely smell – and possibly even look – rather different and so your pet may behave a little strangely at first as they get used to the changes.

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Setting Up A Vivarium For Fire Bellied Toads http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/setting-up-a-vivarium-for-fire-bellied-toads/ http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/setting-up-a-vivarium-for-fire-bellied-toads/#respond Wed, 05 Jan 2011 16:39:18 +0000 http://www.keepingexoticpets.com/?p=263 Fire bellied toads (Bombina bombina) are one of the best amphibians to keep in captivity. These toads are typically very attractively colored having a base color of brown or black with bright orange markings on the underside as the name suggests together with, in some specimens, fine green marbling on the back. As well as […]

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Fire bellied toads (Bombina bombina) are one of the best amphibians to keep in captivity. These toads are typically very attractively colored having a base color of brown or black with bright orange markings on the underside as the name suggests together with, in some specimens, fine green marbling on the back.

As well as being colorful these fantastic toads attain only a small size with an adult body length of around 5cm and they are typically quite friendly towards each other meaning that one can easily accommodate two or more of these toads in the home making for interesting social interactions. Indeed these toads will even breed readily in captivity with the right stimulus enabling you to observe the entire lifecycle of these amazing amphibians in the comfort of your own home.

Fire bellied toads are very hardy exotic pets and require very little in the way of special care so they are suitable for beginner herp keepers as well as those with more experience under their belts and indeed the fire bellied toad can be a perfect introduction to keeping amphibians in captivity.

Housing Fire Bellied Toads

Due to their reasonable size fire bellied toads do not require too much space. They like to spend at least some time each day submerged in water so an ideal vivarium is one that has both an area of dry land and a large body of water.

There are a number of ways to accomplish this such though two of the most popular are either to use an aquarium and create a small divider which is glued in place with aquarium sealant. One side of the divider can then hold fresh water while the other can be an area of dry land.

The other option is to insert a large container – such as a cat little tray – into an otherwise dry cage so that the toads can access the water at will.

The second option typically makes cleaning far easier though the first method can look far more attractive and naturalistic in the terrarium so the choice really is yours. If you choose to use the “divider” option you will likely have a larger body of water that can be harder to clean and so the use of a small internal canister filter can help to keep the water clean and fresh.

Because of the need for a body of water these toads are typically better suited to a water-tight aquarium with a purpose-built reptile-safe aquarium lid rather than to wooden vivaria and the like. This means that if and when spillage occurs it will remain safely in the confines of the cage rather than damaging the vivarium or leaking out into your home.

An aquarium of 60cm long will be suitable for two or three adult individuals though as always the more space you can give the better.

Tank Decorations For Fire Bellied Toads

Once you have the tank in place it is time to deck it out so it is ready for your new pets. Being amphibians fire bellied toads can suffer from dehydration if you are not careful so while the article mentioned “dry land” earlier the “dry” area should still be reasonably moist for the sake of your pets. Pesticide-free compost, bark chippings or coir fibres can all the used for the “dry” area though care should be taken to regularly spray it with tepid, dechlorinated water to keep it reasonably damp.

The water should be treated for chlorine using a reptile-safe water treatment solution as available from ost good reptile stores.

A water bowl can be inserted but generally is unnecessary as the toads will drink from their water pool if it is kept reasonably clean.

Some authorities claim that fire bellied toads should be given artificial UV light though there seems to be no general agreement on the subject yet. If in doubt consider adding a lighting unit but ensure there are plenty of hiding places where your toads can escape from the bright light. Piles of damp moss, upturned cocnut shells and so on can all be used for this purpose and to give your pets a degree of privacy to prevent stress.

The benefit of including artificial lighting is that you can include a number of live plants to help keep up the humidity, provide hiding places and to make your vivarium look more naturalistic.

These are not tropical toads and so a further benefit of keeping these amphibians is that no supplementary heating is required in the average centrally-heated home. If your house is warm enough for you it will be fine for your toads.

So there you have it – an aquarium of 60cm or so in length with an area of water and an area of damp substrate with plants or rocks placed between the two to enable your toads to easily move between the two environments with plenty of hiding places and your toads should live a long and healthy life in your care.

 

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