- Types of terrariums and their placement
- How to make a terrarium yourself
Terrarium is a room for keeping reptiles and amphibians in captivity. Its name comes from the Latin word terra, which means land.
The terrarium provides an opportunity for young and adult nature lovers to observe animals throughout the year. Usually reptiles and amphibians live in a terrarium, but it can also be used to contain a variety of large insects, mollusks, small mammals (shrews, mice, sleepyheads) and for growing plants. This is very convenient, as it allows you to simultaneously observe the life of animals and plants.
Often people with great hostility treat the inhabitants of the terrarium. But this is a biased opinion. Among these animals, many are very useful, interesting in their biology, and original in their body shapes and colors. With skillful maintenance and good care, they live in terrariums for several years and can give offspring.
A feature of all amphibians and reptiles is an unstable body temperature, depending on the environment. They are afraid of the cold and in natural conditions with the onset of autumn hibernate, hiding from the weather and frost at the bottom of rivers and ponds, in cracked soils, in burrows, under the roots of trees and in other shelters. But as soon as the snow melts and the rays of the sun warm the soil, frogs, toads, newts, snakes, lizards and turtles wake up and crawl out onto the surface of the earth. They lead an active lifestyle until next fall.
However, in a terrarium with appropriate heating, animals can stay awake throughout the year. This allows them to be monitored not only in the summer, but also in the cold winter months.
Amateur naturalists, especially young ones who do not yet have sufficient experience in the difficult task of keeping animals in captivity, must always remember that animals in general, and inhabitants of terrariums in particular, require a lot of attention, good care, cleanliness of the premises, regular and nutritious nutrition, necessary temperature condition. Only in this case they will live well in captivity and breed.
Types of terrariums and their placement
Before building or acquiring a terrarium, you need to choose the right place for it. This is important for the well-being of its inhabitants.
The abundance of sunlight and heat is necessary not only for animals, but also for plants.
A reptile terrarium is best placed near windows with drop frames facing south. For animals, you need to create shaded areas and shelters where they can hide from the sun. They themselves can regulate their body temperature: if it’s cold, they bask in the sun or under an artificial heater, if it’s hot, they crawl out into the water or shaded places.
Amphibians usually avoid the sun and dry, hot air. Their bare and moist skin without water dries quickly, and they die. But in the presence of a reservoir, frogs, toads and newts are not afraid of the sun’s rays and willingly bask, spreading out on the surface of the water or clinging their paws to an aquatic plant. Compared to reptiles, amphibians require less lighting and heat. The terrarium with them can be placed at the southern windows, but slightly moving it into the back of the room.
If the windows in the room do not face south, then the terrarium is set on the east side. The western and especially northern sides are of little use for this.
When choosing the type of terrarium, it is first necessary to decide which animals and in what numbers will live in it. Only taking into account the biological characteristics of animals, you can choose the appropriate premises for them.
The following types of terrariums are available.
For the maintenance of small lizards (viviparous, scavenger, steppe, foot and mouth disease), young turtles, small snakes, you can use any aquarium. A layer of sand is poured at its bottom and several stones, pieces of bark, moss and other objects in which animals can take refuge are laid. From above, the aquarium is covered with a lid covered with a fine mesh. Do not cover with glass or plywood, as this will not allow access to fresh air. The cover should fit snugly against the edges of the walls from the outside. The source of heat and light is an ordinary light bulb lowered into the aquarium. An electric cord is passed through one of the wooden planks of the lid and fixed at the required height. A lamp with a power of 25 watts should be from the bottom surface at a height of 6-8 centimeters. The lamp is usually whitened with ordinary chalk, previously dissolved in water without admixture of glue, or with special light paint used for painting Christmas and illuminating lamps. It is also good to use frosted glass lamps. Inside the aquarium, place feeders in the form of glass or porcelain saucers or jars and drinking bowls made of galvanized iron, plastic, etc. The average area norm for one animal, the size of a lizard 12-15 centimeters long, should be 20×20 centimeters, that is, at the terrarium area is 50×80 centimeters; it can contain up to 10 animals.
The aquarium area can be used partly for land, partly under a pond, decorated with stones, shells and plants. Too many stones, shells, knots and other objects are not recommended to be placed in the terrarium. This creates inconvenience for cleaning, makes animals little noticeable.
It must be remembered that for keeping small lizards a low terrarium with a large area is required, since they live on the surface of the earth and are in great motion. For land turtles, a large body of water is not needed, but for water turtles, on the contrary, at least half of the area should be occupied by a body of water. If you wish, you can arrange a terrarium for the joint maintenance of various reptiles and amphibians, but it must combine the features of several types of terrariums.
Tree Frog Terrarium
Tree frogs frogs need a high terrarium, since under natural conditions they spend most of their life in the foliage of trees and shrubs. You need to plant some indoor deciduous plant, such as lemon, acuba, ivy, etc. This terrarium is made as a tall house with a square base 40×40 in size and 75-80 centimeters high. The cover is made in the form of a two- or four-slope cone. Two side walls are glazed, one is covered with a net, and the fourth is made of solid wood. The cover is also tightened with a net. One of the side walls is made opening in the form of a door. The lid must be removable so that you can clean the room and feed the animals. Knots, tree mushrooms are attached to the wooden side wall from the inside, on which animals sit willingly and which serve as their support when jumping. The skeleton of the terrarium is made of wood or iron, the so-called "corner", the size of 10×10 or 20×20 millimeters. The bottom can be wooden or metal with 4 legs in the corners or 2 on the sides of the base. A pond is installed at the bottom. To do this, you can adapt a plastic bath, a deep saucer or something like that. A stone or knots are placed near the pond so that animals can freely come out of the water.
The terrarium is heated using an electric lamp, which is placed in one of the corners, but not above the pond.
A water terrarium is a terrarium in which half of the area is occupied by water and half by land.
The aquaterrarium is densely planted with marsh and aquatic plants, as well as terrestrial plants that love moisture.
The aquaterrarium is intended for keeping amphibians and those species of reptiles whose lifestyle is closely related to water: water snake, marsh turtle, Caspian tortoise, etc.
For its device, you can adapt any aquarium or terrarium.
How to make a terrarium yourself
A simple terrarium for keeping reptiles and amphibians at home and school is easy to make.
To do this, first of all, you need to purchase the appropriate building materials: dry pine, oak, beech or other boards; metal corners measuring 10×10, 15×15 or 20×20 millimeters (it is better if the “corner” is not iron, it will be very heavy and susceptible to corrosion, but from light metal alloys); window glass with a thickness of 3-5 mm, woven iron or copper mesh, oil paint, light varnish and putty; nails, screws, rivets, window latches and locking hinges, hinges for doors.
If the skeleton of the terrarium is wooden, then we begin construction from the bottom.
Saw off the board or buy a suitable 4 bars: two. length of 90, a width of 10-12 centimeters, and two. length of 60 and a width of 10-12 centimeters. The thickness of all 4 bars, or the board from which they are made, should be an average of 2 centimeters. Smoothly plan them with a planer, making sure that there are no knots. After the boards dry, the knots sometimes fall out and holes form through which our future pets can crawl out. Knock together the planed bars with nails or fasten with screws, and if possible, then cut into each other and glue for strength. Get a frame. Nail to one of its sides smoothly planed boards that form the bottom of the terrarium. Now, according to the size of the bottom bottom frame, make the top frame, but do not sew up one of its sides with boards. In its dimensions (length and width), the upper frame must be exactly equal to the lower, and in height should be one and a half to two times smaller. Firmly fasten all 4 bars of the upper frame between each other with screws or glue.
After that, prepare 4 bars 1.4–1.5 meters long, 6–7 meters wide and 2 centimeters thick, or 4 square bars 1.4–1.5 meters long with a square side of 5–6 centimeters. Smooth them. These bars will serve as side posts and at the same time as legs of the terrarium. Screw with screws or nail them to the upper frame at the corners, and then attach the lower frame 60–70 centimeters lower. The skeleton of the terrarium is ready. Below the bottom, it is desirable to make a shelf for storing equipment, feed, etc. Two large sides of the skeleton of the terrarium are glazed. Glass should fit snugly to the bottom, top frame and uprights. Fix it with wooden planks or metal corners, screwing them in several places to the side racks. The other two sides are pulled inside with a net, the edges of which are nailed to the skeleton with nails and then covered with wooden planks.
Now you need to make a cover. The frame frame is made of wood, it can be single (its size is equal to the area of the upper frame) or double, with each half of the cover being equal to half the area of the upper frame. From above, the lid is tightened with a net or glazed. One side of the lid (or two halves) is hinged to the upper frame. On the opposite side, constipation is made in the form of a hook, a window latch, etc. A double lid is more convenient, since animals cannot jump out of the terrarium during cleaning and feeding.
Now you need to finish the bottom. To protect from dampness and spoilage, a sheet of galvanized or ordinary painted iron is nailed onto its wooden base.
Then all wooden parts of the terrarium are painted twice with oil paint, inside. white or light green, outside. to the taste of the owner. The mesh on both sides is also painted with oil paint to prevent rust. The sharp edges of the glass inside the terrarium are covered with plates or coated with putty. After the terrarium dries, it is ready to move in.
If the skeleton of the terrarium is metal, then the length of the side racks will depend on the height of the terrarium. Side racks cannot serve as legs at the same time, as the terrarium will be too heavy. As a stand, a table or window sill is used. Metal terrarium parts are fastened together by welding, soldering or riveting. The bottom is made of wood and, as it were, is embedded in the lower frame, after which a sheet of iron is nailed to it. The cover can be made of wood or metal.
In general, the dimensions, shapes, and internal equipment of the terrarium largely depend on the capabilities and taste of the amateur. The general requirements that the terrarium must meet are as follows:
- The skeleton and the bottom should be strong and smooth, without cracks and crevices, so that the animals could not get hurt.
- All parts (side racks, bottom, cover, etc.) of the terrarium should be firmly connected to each other using nails, screws, rivets, spikes. depending on the material for construction.
- The area and volume of the terrarium should correspond to the number of animals, excessive crowding is unacceptable.
- Glass should be at least 3-5 millimeters thick, smooth and transparent. Sharp edges must be rounded or coated with sealant.
- The mesh for tightening the side walls or the lid is suitable for woven, but better welded. iron or copper.
- Doors and covers should be tightly closed and have locks so that animals do not run away.
- Inside and outside the terrarium should be painted with oil or alkyd paint to protect it from damage and create good hygienic conditions for animals.
- For good ventilation, special ventilation holes are arranged or one side wall and a lid or two opposite side walls are tightened with a mesh.
Animal care items include:
Brushes (paint brushes are quite suitable), sweeping brushes and others; a scoop, a net, tongs, tweezers, a metal hook, a fork-fork, a watering can, a spray bottle, a set of different jars and boxes for temporarily placing animals during inspection and weighing, when cleaning the terrarium.