Housing a Tropical Reptile
Housing Reptiles, especially ones requiring a tropical habitat, require special needs that is so often
overlooked. Reptiles that require this type of environment would be: Iguanas, Water Dragons, Chameleons, Day Geckos, various Pythons, Boa Constrictors, & most other arboreal tree climbers. If these needs are not met, over time the animal will develop serious health problems, limiting the animals full life expectancy. Our units provide the proper needs that are necessary for these animals as will be addressed.
To start off, these animals need humidity. Their habitat is from the rainforest, therefore that is the environment they are in need of. We will use the Iguana as an example since this seems to be the most common among reptile owners. These animals are tree climbers (arboreal), they will want to spend most of their life at the highest point in an enclosure. So the enclosure should be very high to allow for this. This would then allow for the base to serve as a source of humidity. For example, our "Amazon Water Basin" is an excellent choice that provides this environment because this system can contain water in the entire basin of the habitat. This also allows for the option to drink & bathe as they please. You can have as much as 10" of water or just skim the bottom of the Unit. You can at least have a very shallow depth. These animals are good swimmers!
The vines we set up within the unit provide excellent climbing & basking areas as they are webbed throughout the entire Unit. We position & mount the vines in such a way to allow for "vertical" climbing which is an essential exercise for maximizing their muscles. We also take into consideration that these animals need to bask and sleep comfortably. So we also mount vines horizontally & diagonally. And for bigger animals such as the Iguana, larger diameter vines are mounted to allow for this.
Temperature is a very important factor, however the animal should be able to thermo-regulate. That is, it should be able to move about within the enclosure to a spot it feels comfortable where there is slight change in temperature. This can only be achieved in an enclosure large enough where certain areas are cooler while other areas are warmer. Allow your animal to be the thermometer, don't control your animal by confining it to an "all round" temperature. They do like shade as well as bathing in the sun as we do.
This light system consists of a basking light (centered) for the day time where basking vines are positioned within a reasonable distance from under it. Reinforced screening for ventilation acts as a barrier from contact to these lights. There are also green & blue lights at either end of the unit to allow for observing the animals at night without disturbing their sleep while providing another heat source. These usualy stay on 24hrs a day for a constant heat source.
When the day light active heat lamp kicks on, the teprature increases during daytime. At night when it turns off, you have a slight temperature drop but not enough to get too cold since the other lights stay on. A ceramic heater can replace these if you wish, however it is not as effective I have found since it does not PROJECT, that is throw heat down like a 100 watt flood light does.
Greenery is important as all animals should have the option to be able to hide and camouflage providing them with the security they need if they feel stressed or threatened.
Adequate ventilation is a very important factor as well. The unit is designed to allow air to flow in from the lower front section of the unit as the warmer air escaping out of the top rear section pulls it in. This creates a gentle air flow system replenishing the air constantly. This is important because restricting the air could soon create a "damp" atmosphere contributing to bacteria & fungus that would induce respiratory problems eventually.
When it comes to cleaning, it is very quick as you can rinse the unit down where it's needed. Especially with Iguanas, they prefer to do their business in the water. This prevents you from ever having to really clean the upper half making it so practical and quick to clean after them. Our rinse & flush systems are the most effective, quick &, most importantly, healthiest way for both the animals and you as the caretaker.