Reptile Habitats

Reptiles require sites with protective cover from the elements as well as thermal gradients that allow for basking. Some examples of these ‘hot-spots’ include rock piles, small mammal burrows, and brush piles.


Water is vital to all reptiles, from desert species that get water from their food to aquatic lizards and snakes that thermoregulate in bodies of water. Water-dependent reptiles need riparian buffers and meadow shrub control to retain sun-exposure.


Many pet owners use a specific type of substrate to line their reptile habitats. This helps to keep the enclosure clean, allows for good airflow and provides a comfortable place for their pets to lie down.

Reptiles that require higher humidity levels should be placed on damp substrate, while dry repti 크레스티드게코 les can be placed on a dry or sand substrate. Substrates can be made from a wide variety of materials, including sand, peat moss, garden soil, wood shavings (avoiding cedar which is toxic), various types of plant material and synthetic carpet.

Several companies offer reptile cage carpets that are easy to wash and disinfect, as well as being attractive and abrasive enough for burrowing species. Other popular products include sphagnum moss, heat treated aspen bark, Jungle Mix (a combination of sphagnum and fir shavings designed for tropical reptiles) and coconut fiber brick.

Some manufacturers also sell terrarium liners that allow owners to create decorative rocky walls and caves for their pets. These are a great way to provide extra hiding places and visual interest in the habitat, while providing an extra layer of insulation.

Hiding Places

Reptiles require hiding places for retreat, thermal regulation and to avoid stress. Without them, ma 크레스티드게코 ny species (especially snakes) can exhibit aggression toward their keeper.

While it is not possible to provide a habitat that completely replicates the wild, hobbyists and herpetoculturists often set up artificial enclosures using things such as old armoires, prefabricated shower stalls, jewelry or deli display cases and sturdy wooden bookcases. Typically, they are modified to include an insulated floor and a secure lid.

The space under most household furniture (particularly the sofa or bedroom dresser) is a favorite hideout for snakes. It is dark and often contains piles of clothes or other debris, making it an enticing refuge for reptiles that are looking to escape from people’s feet and the noise of everyday life.

To mimic this natural behavior, pet owners can place a rock or other object in the terrarium to act as a hiding spot. Commercial hides made of things like sand, moss, stone and wood are also available to help add to the visual appeal of the environment. This primate skull cave, for example, looks cool and is long-lasting and safe for bearded dragons, iguanas and other small reptiles.


The lighting setup in your reptile habitat is important for the comfort and health of your pet. Most reptiles require both a basking bulb and a UVB light to simulate sunlight in captivity. Many reptiles also require heat in their enclosures. Use a ceramic heat emitter, night-specific heat lamp or a reptile heating pad to provide these needs. These products are available in a variety of styles and sizes, so you can find one that fits your pet’s cage and budget.

In addition to lights, your habitat should include a hiding place or two for security. Reptiles that are not used to being in captivity may be nervous or frightened by their new surroundings. This can be reduced by providing adequate hiding space, such as boxes or hollow areas in a log, rock or other solid object.

Night bulbs, which are often red in color, allow nocturnal reptiles to carry out their normal activities after the “sun” goes down. These are usually lower in wattage than daylight bulbs to prevent overheating. Energy and cost-conscious pet owners may want to employ a rheostat instead.


Just as thermometers help monitor temperature, hygrometers (or humidity meters) are necessary for monitoring the amount of moisture in your reptile’s habitat. These devices are inexpensive and can easily be secured to your pet’s enclosure with a suction cup. Humidity is just as important as temperature for a reptile, and it varies widely from species to species. Some lizards like Crested Geckos require 70 to 80 percent humidity, while other snakes like Milk Snakes prefer 40 to 60 percent.

Keeping your reptile’s environment humid is easy if you provide a moist hide box with a layer of damp substrate like sphagnum moss. A larger water dish also increases humidity, especially if it’s closer to the warm side of your pet’s enclosure.

Many reptile owners spray their enclosures with a mister bottle to keep the substrate moist. However, this may not be the best approach for certain reptiles that are sensitive to fungus and mold. For example, corn snakes need moderate to high levels of humidity, but regularly misting their tank can cause it to get too wet and lead to fungus.


Keeping reptile habitats clean and well stocked requires regular cleaning, disinfecting and water changes. These activities help prevent the development of toxic organic wastes that can degrade reptile health.

For semiaquatic species, adequate bodies of water for swimming and thermoregulation is essential. Some reptiles also require access to dry land for feeding, breeding and nesting. Waters must be filtered to reduce the presence of disease-causing microorganisms and the levels of salt in freshwater waters may need to be adjusted for some species.

Some species of reptiles are solitary and prefer to live alone; these animals should be housed in separate enclosures to avoid competition for food, water, basking sites and mates. Similarly, some species are social and benefit from community housing, but this must be carefully considered to avoid aggression between individuals of the same species.

Some habitat features are important to most reptiles, such as a variety of ground temperatures and areas for thermoregulation, shelter from wind and extreme heat or cold, food sources, a water source, places to hide and bask, and security. Some species require additional habitat features specific to their needs, such as an incandescent light with a reflector to elevate temperature for basking and a hygrometer to monitor relative humidity.