Frogs, lizards, snakes… Do you want to start a terrarium?

To bring well-being and comfort to your reptiles and amphibians, you will need to set up a terrarium that artificially reproduces its biotope, i.e. the optimal living conditions, of your NAC (new pet).

Choice of the type of terrarium, shape and size, mandatory layout… Discover our guide to choose your terrarium.

The different types of terrariums

There are 3 kinds of terrariums according to the species that will live there: desert, tropical or aquatic terrariums.

Just like aquariums, terrariums require the installation of a substrate (sand, earth, gravel, etc.) adapted to your reptile and its way of life.

Various elements will have to be taken into account such as air and soil temperature, luminosity, ventilation and humidity.

The desert terrarium
Desert terrariums are for species accustomed to living in arid landscapes, with a hot and dry climate, with significant temperature changes.

These terrariums are perfect for scorpions, certain species of snakes, some lizards such as pogonas or collared lizards (crotaphytus collaris) or even eyed geckos (eublepharis).

Your desert terrarium should include desert substrates such as dry, sandy soil, stones and fake rocks, succulent plants or fake cacti (to avoid injury). Be careful, remember to provide a sufficiently thick layer of sand: many reptiles like to hide in it.

Desert terrariums do not present any great difficulty except for the temperature: you will have to create two distinct temperature spaces: a hot point to increase their temperature and a cool point to reduce it.

The tropical terrarium
Tropical terrariums are for reptiles that usually live in a very humid climate, such as tropical forests. Your terrarium will therefore have to reproduce the conditions of a mini indoor jungle 😉

Geckos, chameleons or tree pythons will enjoy themselves in a tropical terrarium.

On the tropical substrate side, everything will depend on the reptile you will host, but vegetated walls, moss mats, water points such as a small waterfall and rocks are a good starting point. The main difficulty here will be to maintain a humid atmosphere and a very vegetated environment.

The aquatic terrarium/marsh
The aquatic terrarium, also called aqua-terrarium or paludarium is the combination of an aquarium and a terrarium with a submerged part and a terrestrial part.

These terrariums are generally recommended for aquatic turtles, frogs and some lizards such as salamanders.

However, paludariums are more difficult to set up and maintain since you will have to manage a real small aquatic garden.

Terrarium: what shapes and sizes to choose?

The size and shape of the terrarium depends on the animals you will place there, their movement and movement habits in this environment.

Before choosing, find out about your reptile’s needs and habits:

If it is a crawling species, prefer a long terrarium to facilitate ground movement;
if it is an arboreal species, prefer a tall terrarium and accessories or plants to allow your pet to climb.

For size, as with aquariums, it’s better to plan bigger than not enough. If the humidity or temperature regulator breaks down, the consequences will be less immediate and will allow your NAC to move to a more favourable location.

While most terrariums are made of glass, they may not be suitable for all species. Chameleons, for example, can be stressed by their own reflection in glass. They are available in plastic, wood or metal. It is up to you to find the one that will best suit your animal.

Finally, before buying your terrarium, remember to check the number of openings and ease of access (for cleaning or handling animals, for example).