Reptile Habitats

Reptiles inhabit ecosystems such as deserts, woodlands and wetlands. In captivity, it is important to simulate their natural habitat.


Hobbyists and herpetoculturists are inventive when it comes to enclosure designs. Many reptiles can be housed in a variety of containers, including glass terrariums and custom-built cages. All containers should provide plenty of climbing and hiding space.

Naturalistic Habitats

Reptiles are creatures of specific ecosystems – deserts, woodlands, temperate grasslands, or savannahs. Recreating these environments in a terrarium allows pet herps to engage in natural behaviors and promote overall health.

Creating a naturalistic habitat requires that the reptile keeper first understand the animal’s native environment and climate. Then, a variety of elements can be com 파충류샵 bined to create the ideal terrarium or vivarium. For instance, many reptiles enjoy burrowing in kiln-dried wood chips or shredded cactus pads for bedding. These materials offer both insulation and traction and help maintain humidity levels in the terrarium.

A vivarium must also be heated to mimic the ambient temperature of a reptile’s natural environment. Additionally, most reptiles must be provided a thermal gradient to allow them to choose between warm basking areas and cooler retreats. Lighting systems that simulate the varying wavelengths of sunlight are also necessary. Some reptiles or plants require UVB lighting for vitamin D synthesis, and this can be achieved by using specialized bulbs.

Herpetoculturists are a creative group and have converted old armoires, prefabricated shower stalls, jewelry or deli display cases, discarded television sets, and sturdy bookcases into terrariums. These DIY terrariums are often much more affordable than commercial enclosures, and they can be customized to the animal’s particular needs. For example, a chameleon may prefer to hang out under a tree, while a bearded dragon will likely enjoy basking on top of a rock.

Indoor Habitats 파충류샵

Reptiles require more specific environments than most other pet animals, and many need to be kept in captivity. A well-designed habitat can make these challenges easier to manage.

Most reptiles are ectotherms (cold-blooded), so their activity and metabolic rates are largely controlled by environmental conditions. To maintain their optimal body temperature, they seek out warm or cool places to sun or hide. For example, a bearded dragon may bask on a rock warmed by the sun to heat up, while hiding under a leaf or other cover to cool down.

Because of this, a reptile’s environment should be designed to provide both ambient and digestive heat sources. To achieve this, most reptiles require a large enclosure, with a screen top for proper air circulation, and the option to add a hood or lid. Ideally, the tank should be made from glass rather than plastic, which can leach chemicals that are harmful to reptiles.

The tank should be large enough to allow the reptile ample room for movement and to thermoregulate, and must have a water dish that is always full of clean, fresh water. It is also important to include a secure, dark hide that allows the reptile to retreat when threatened.

Some reptiles, such as certain snake species and the Mojave diamondback rattlesnake, are fossorial (burrowing) and should be housed in a deep substrate of several inches. Finally, it is essential to keep predators and unwanted people and pets out of the habitat, as they can be stressful for the reptiles and can cause health problems.

Outdoor Habitats

Reptiles that spend most of their lives outdoors require natural habitat elements similar to those found in their native environment. These include shaded and sunny areas, different substrates for hiding or burrowing, a variety of surfaces for basking, a water dish or pond, a hideaway place, and rock and log piles. Some species from very arid regions benefit from a small amount of water in the cage for drinking that is misted or placed in a container with a hygrometer to monitor relative humidity.

Because they are ectothermic and must expend energy to regulate body temperature, reptiles have lower metabolic rates than endothermic mammals or birds of the same size and can go longer without food. They must be able to regulate their metabolisms in order to feed, incubate eggs, or defend themselves from predators or parasites.

Many reptiles and amphibians are well camouflaged for protection, so habitats should be designed to provide shelter from the sun or wind. Some reptiles use upland microhabitats for warmth, while others such as frogs, toads and salamanders spend most of their time in or near wetlands and riparian areas.

Some reptiles and amphibians may require temporary wetlands or aquatic sites to breed and lay their eggs. Aquatic habitats should provide a safe and stable water temperature for the specific species, and the water should be regularly filtered and aerated to reduce organic waste and disease-causing organisms.


A number of reptile enclosures are available to home hobbyists and herpetoculturists. Some are designed with a variety of interesting features, such as molded back and side walls, plants and branches, layered substrates, water and/or humidity sources and “ponds.” While many of these designs are quite attractive, they may not be the best choice for housing a reptile because they tend to limit the animal’s ability to thermoregulate or access all necessary microclimates. In addition, they can be difficult to get into and service.

A more common, durable and suitable cage is made from wood. A number of wood terrarium kits are available to suit the needs of most terrestrial reptiles. They come with a cover that is sturdy enough to keep the animals from escaping and can be modified to include a smart thermometer with an alarm that will catch overheating before it becomes a serious problem. A few companies also offer a line of “tortoise tables” that are designed to house tortoises and box turtles in a more natural setting, with low walls and no ceiling.

When designing a habitat for your reptile, it is best to attempt to emulate its natural environment as closely as possible. To do this, look at photographs or visit a natural habitat yourself. Take special note of the terrain, and its differing temperatures and textures. Dig down a bit and observe the various plants, fallen branches and debris, the varying water levels and temperature of groundwater, the humidity levels and more.