There are several varieties of terrariums that distinguish by purpose, internal arrangement and placement.
The terrarium should be selected and equipped depending on the characteristics of the type of animal that is supposed to be kept in it.
Terrariums are divided into horizontal, vertical and cubic in shape.
Horizontal terrariums are mainly intended for animals that live in open spaces under natural conditions. in the steppes, deserts, as well as for reptiles leading an amphibian lifestyle. Vertical terrariums are more suitable for animals living on trees or mountain slopes, and cubic ones can contain reptiles of both types, as well as those that naturally inhabit the thickness of the earth.
The size of the terrarium depends on the number of animals contained in it and on their size. For small animals. such as turtles, lizards and frogs. a relatively small terrarium is enough, and for large ones, for example crocodiles or snakes, a rather spacious room will be required. The terrarium should be selected so that the animals in it can move freely enough, ideally its size should be 3-5 times the size of the animal. If reptiles or amphibians contain several individuals, then the size of the terrarium, respectively, should be larger.
Terrariums can be with or without a frame. Large terrariums are most often produced on the basis of the frame, as this makes them more durable and extends the service life. Frameless terrariums are often deformed due to the difference in external and internal temperatures, so they are usually made small.
The best material for the manufacture of terrariums is plexiglass due to its strength. Ordinary glass is quite fragile, and polyvinyl chloride quickly loses transparency due to small scratches.
The simplest terrarium consists of the following parts: four walls, a bottom, upper and lower inner panels and a cover. As a frame, four corner posts are used, which can be made of wood or metal.
The bottom is a rectangular or square box with a wall height of 10-20 cm, into which water is poured. The bottom area should be slightly larger than the size of the terrarium. Mounting supports for vertical racks in the bottom, in one of the walls of the bottom drawer make a small hole. air intake. Then, supports for the inner bottom panel are fixed in the upper part of the walls. Also at the bottom, you can make additional supports for the installation of various internal structures. reservoirs, shelters, etc. On the inner wall of the bottom, you can install the mount for the heater.
The inner bottom panel is the floor of the terrarium. It should be strong enough, since it will have to withstand quite large loads. Along the perimeter of the bottom panel, grooves should be cut into which the side walls will be inserted, and along the front edge, a 1-2 cm wide slot should be made to allow humidified air to flow from below. This gap must be covered with a fine mesh, resistant to moisture.
In the bottom panel, it is also necessary to make slots for vertical racks and additional elements of the internal structure of the terrarium.
Lighting is one of the most important elements of terrarium equipment
The ceiling in the terrarium is the upper inner panel, in which you also need to cut the grooves for the walls and uprights. In this panel, you should make an opening for glass, as well as a ventilation hole, which must be covered with a fine mesh, as well as the bottom. The top panel is mounted on supports made on uprights.
The lid of the terrarium is a box with low walls and should correspond to the size of the bottom box. In one of its walls a hole should be made through which air will pass. Lighting and ventilation devices are usually fixed in the lid.
After all the details have been prepared, you can proceed with the assembly of the terrarium. First, vertical racks should be installed in the grooves on the bottom, then the bottom panel. The walls are installed so that they go slightly one after the other, after which the top panel and cover are laid.
It should be remembered that there should be no gaps between the walls and other parts of the terrariums so that animals can not escape or catch a cold.
Terrariums of this design are very convenient, they are easy to disassemble and wash. In addition, a huge advantage is that they can contain animals of different species, making changes to the internal structure, installing ponds and other elements.
According to the internal structure, terrariums are divided into biotope and species. Biotope terrariums are a miniature model of a natural landscape plot characteristic of a particular region. In terrariums of this type recreate part of a locality, using plants, stones, soil for this; Particular attention is paid to maintaining the required level of humidity, light and temperature.
In order for animals to feel comfortable, it is necessary to reproduce with maximum accuracy the conditions in which they live in nature: desert, mountain or some other landscape.
The terrarium imitating a desert area contains animals accustomed to high temperatures and fairly low humidity. Flora can be formed from succulent plants of deserts or semi-deserts: cacti, agave, etc.
You can place driftwood in the terrarium
At the bottom of such a terrarium sand should be laid with a layer of 10-12 cm. In one place, the sand must be hot, with a temperature of 45-50 ° C, and in another. wet. To warm the sand, an insulated heater can be laid under it, however, it should be remembered that this method is not suitable for burrowing species of animals, since they can damage the device. You can moisten the sand by placing a container of water under it or periodically watering it.
Stones, driftwood are laid on the sand; in one corner of the terrarium should make shelter for animals. Stones and plants are recommended to be sprayed daily with water, simulating the loss of morning dew.
For some species of animals that live in nature on vertical surfaces, such as geckos, in such a terrarium, one wall can be made not of glass, but of some rough material so that pets can climb.
Terrariums recreating the mountain landscape contain mainly reptiles. This terrarium is best suited for turtles living in highlands, snakes and some lizards.
Mountain terrariums are recommended to be made narrow and rather high. Pebbles and coarse river sand are used as soil in such terrariums, which should be poured to the bottom with a layer of 5-7 cm.
In the corner of the terrarium or near one of the walls, flat stones are laid to a height of about 3/4 of the structure. To keep the stones stronger, they can be fastened with special glue. Shelter for animals is also usually made of several stones, between which leave space. Slots should not be too narrow, as animals can get stuck in them. A heater in such a terrarium is located in the upper part. Terrariums imitating a plot of forest are usually made taking into account the ecological requirements of animals. For the inhabitants of the tropics and subtropics they arrange a corner of the rainforest, for animals native to areas with a temperate climate. corner of the forest, characteristic of the region of their habitat. Humidity in the forest terrarium should be higher than in the desert or mountain, from 70 to 85%. The soil mixture consisting of 2 parts of sand, 1 part of peat and 1 part of sheet land is most often used as soil for such a terrarium. The temperature for animals in the tropical zone must be maintained at the same level day and night, and for the inhabitants of the temperate zone. with a slight difference of 1-2 ° C.
The most suitable habitat for most amphibians and aquatic turtles is the aquaterrarium. a structure combining the features of an aquarium and a terrarium. They can plant aquatic and semi-aquatic plants. Usually a large part of such a terrarium is occupied by a reservoir, and an island is arranged in the remaining place. Small pebbles are laid at the bottom of the reservoir, and sand is most often used as soil to recreate land.
Species terrariums are premises for keeping representatives of any one species or closely related species. Species terrariums are good in that they can create the most suitable conditions for animals, since their content requirements are similar. In addition, some animals cannot be kept together with other species of the same genus, as they can behave aggressively towards each other.
Terrariums for each animal species have their own characteristics. For amphibians, the structure of terrariums is basically the same, with the exception of some details. So, for breeding amphibians, one should choose terrariums with a height of about 50 cm. Tritons and frogs are best kept in aquaterrariums or in terrariums with a reservoir; terrarium with a small pool about 3 cm deep is suitable for tree frogs, tree frogs and toads. A sufficient number of plants should be planted in reptile terrariums, preferably with large leaves. On average, the air temperature for amphibians should be 22-24 ° C, and for tropical species. 23-26 ° C. Since overheating is very harmful for amphibians, it is best to place heating devices from below and carefully monitor the temperature level. Ventilation is recommended not to be too intense.
In terrariums intended for the maintenance of tropical tree frogs, it is necessary to plant plants of the bromeliad family. Salamanders, unlike most other amphibians, do not need large ponds; a small bath is enough for them. In a terrarium with salamanders, it is necessary to place several shelters made of stones or snags.
In terrariums for desert lizards, sand should be used as soil, and stones should be placed under the heater. The temperature of the sand should not be lower than 28 ° C, but of stones. not lower than 35 ° C.
Lizards, which in nature live in temperate regions, should be kept in terrariums decorated with snags, moss, forest plants and stones. It is advisable to arrange a small pond. In such a terrarium, the temperature near the heater should be 23-28 ° C, and in the place farthest from it. 22-24 ° C.
Land turtles should be kept in a terrarium, on the bottom of which coarse sand is poured with a layer of 3-5 cm, the air temperature should be 22-24 ° C, and for tropical species. 25-27 ° C. For aquatic species of turtles, aquaterrariums with a volume of about 200 liters are most often used, with an island on which turtles could go.
An island can be made of wood or other material and covered with moss so that the animal’s paws do not slip. Making the terrarium with plants for aquatic turtles causes certain difficulties, as adults eat them. A way out of this situation can be found by placing plants behind a transparent partition or by planting them in flasks that rise several centimeters above the surface of the water.
Snakes, which, as a rule, are kept alone in terrariums, will feel best in a spacious rectangular terrarium with good ventilation. The soil for snakes can be composed of sand, peat and sawdust taken in equal parts. Planting in such a terrarium is not necessary.
In addition to the above, there are mixed-type terrariums in which the signs of biotope and species are combined. Such terrariums usually contain animals of the same species, reproducing their natural habitat.