Temperature control: Reptile collectors must figure out the temperature conditions the creatures live in. The chosen cage must be able to maintain the required temperature for its survival.
Overall, if you want to construct your own cages for most reptiles, you are probably better off using plywoods, melamine and MDF types of materials for most of the cage. There does not at this stage seem to be any identifiable health issues caused by these materials. Another benefit with these materials is their insulating properties. Glass is not a good material for most reptile cages (except aquatic species) as it loses heat rapidly. Many glass terrariums have an open top with no seal and this also causes a high heat loss. This means the glass cages are more expensive to heat if you use certain types of heat sources.
PVC Tubing & Mesh or Plexiglas: These materials make excellent larger cages for animals such as monitors, larger snakes, chameleons and iguanas. They do tend to lose a bit of heat but any large enclosure will require some effort to maintain a higher temperature. Lighting at the top and some at the sides (if needed) will create a sufficient heat gradient. Short of building a large frame with glass and a large door, this is the most economical way to make a larger enclosure if you do not have woodworking tools.
What kind of materials should you use when constructing a reptile cage? This question was posed to me once by someone wishing to build their own reptile cage. They were particularly asking about pine and cedar as they had heard these were no good. But it did raise the question about what are the best materials.
Place a good base of bedding on the bottom of your new reptile tank. Calcium sand, aspen bedding and reptile bark all make good bedding choices for reptile terrariums. But speak with your local pet store or read more about the species of reptile pet you plan to house, so you know for sure what he/she will like the best. It is sensible to use bedding that is easy to replace when cleaning time comes around. Tropical moss, bark chunks or leaves provide an interesting addition to the base bedding as long as they are thoroughly cleaned before being placed into your reptile terrarium.
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