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  1. #1
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    Talking Building my own terrarium!!!!!!

    So my boyfriend and i are going to build our first terrarium. For my first ball python. he decided to build it for me instead of buying so i wouldnt have to keep getting new ones. Hes going to be making it to fit a full grown python.
    So on to the questions:
    So what kind of wood would be best? I know there are types of wood thats poisonous to them. But is that ingesting it or being around it?
    I want at least two basking spots, one at the top and one at the bottom. Hoping that helps with regulating the temp. Any tips on how to better do that? What type of heat lamps would be best?
    The humidity, is going to drive me crazy. How do i figure out what it is supposed to be at? Would it be easier to get a humidifier than putting water under the lights?
    Can i use sand as the bedding? It would hold heat better....
    Any books or website you think i should go to for any info would be helpful.
    Please and thank you

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member KMG's Avatar
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    I would look into pvc sheets for the box construction and radiant heat panels for heat. Look up Pro-Products.

    For lights I would use an LED light strip.

    Wood can be hard to clean and hold moisture creating a molding situation.

    They are also hard to use a uth with.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Building my own terrarium!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hourher.crevan View Post
    So what kind of wood would be best? I know there are types of wood thats poisonous to them. But is that ingesting it or being around it?
    Are you asking what kind of wood to make the terrarium out of or what kind of wood to put in the terrarium? Generally speaking, stay away from softer woods such as cedar, pine. These woods have phenols in them which are toxic to the liver in large quantities or over an extended period of time. Woods that are safe are most of the hardwoods, such as aspen (probably the most common) and cypress. Aspen is cheaper and more readily available, but cypress may hold humidity better (it is commonly used in humid setups for tropic reptiles and amphibians such as geckos and dart frogs).

    As for enclosures: I highly recommend a 48" x 24" x 14/18" (the height is kind of up to you) from constrictors NW/Proline. They can be found here. Animal plastics also makes a good cage and in my opinion, has superior machine work due to their use of CNC machining. However, constrictors NW uses a better plastic, HDPE that is FDA/USDA approved. I will let you do your own research here.

    Quote Originally Posted by hourher.crevan View Post
    I want at least two basking spots, one at the top and one at the bottom. Hoping that helps with regulating the temp. Any tips on how to better do that? What type of heat lamps would be best?
    Based on this question, my assumption is that you are making something of a quasi-arboreal cage. If this is indeed the case, I would use a heat pad on the bottom and a radiant heat panel on the "top". Ball pythons are not particularly arboreal animals, but they will climb if given the opportunity. Heat pads are very commonly used for terrestrial hot spots and as the easiest way to make one on a cage floor unless substrate is extremely thick. Radiant heat panels are used to heat many styles of caging, but they really shine in arboreal setups. Heat bulbs, ceramic heat emitters, and the like reduce humidity and may make it more difficult to control.

    Quote Originally Posted by hourher.crevan View Post
    The humidity, is going to drive me crazy. How do i figure out what it is supposed to be at? Would it be easier to get a humidifier than putting water under the lights?
    Humidity does not have to be perfect, but it can't be too low either. Usually I would recommend anything over 50%, with probably 70% being ideal using Ghana as a reference. You can use a humidifier if you choose, but that can have undesirable effects on your house via mold. I would suggest simply using a water bowl that is large enough to give you good humidity within an acceptable range. Some individuals have different water bowls for summer and winter months and humidity changes.

    Quote Originally Posted by hourher.crevan View Post
    Can i use sand as the bedding? It would hold heat better....
    I would discourage the use of sand as bedding. If you are going to use sand, use a sandy soil mixture in a lower concentration. If you need to hold heat use: Plastic caging, insulation around the outside if necessary, and place objects with high thermal mass inside the cage and under the radiant heat panel. These objects will heat up and give off heat to the environment. Typically plastic caging that is ~1/2" thick will hold heat just fine.

  5. #4
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    Re: Building my own terrarium!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hourher.crevan View Post
    So my boyfriend and i are going to build our first terrarium. For my first ball python. he decided to build it for me instead of buying so i wouldnt have to keep getting new ones. Hes going to be making it to fit a full grown python.
    So on to the questions:
    So what kind of wood would be best? I know there are types of wood thats poisonous to them. But is that ingesting it or being around it?
    I want at least two basking spots, one at the top and one at the bottom. Hoping that helps with regulating the temp. Any tips on how to better do that? What type of heat lamps would be best?
    The humidity, is going to drive me crazy. How do i figure out what it is supposed to be at? Would it be easier to get a humidifier than putting water under the lights?
    Can i use sand as the bedding? It would hold heat better....
    Any books or website you think i should go to for any info would be helpful.
    Please and thank you

    Just a heads up: building your enclosure will be harder than you probably think. There is a lot that goes into a build and for first-time snake keepers there will almost certainly be things you overlook.

    Wood isn't the best option, it will most likely warp and split over time due to the humidity requirements of your snake. If you're serious about building your own look into PVC sheets or melamine. PVC is great but pricey, there's a reason all the big name builders use it. Melamine is good for avoiding moisture issues, fairly inexpensive, but super heavy.

    Your BP doesn't need a basking spot, BPs don't bask. They require a temperature gradient with a hot and cool side and a hot spot.

    No, sand is NOT a good option for a substrate.

    Study the stickies within this forum about basic husbandry. Once you know a little more about the husbandry of these animals you may be more inclined to purchase an enclosure and learn more about these animals before building one.

    I have years of experience keeping snakes and a few years of carpentry experience and am still in the research phase of building my own enclosures. I really want to build my own, but want to do it right, for myself and for my snakes.

    I wish you luck, but think you need to do a lot more research before building an enclosure that will properly house your snake and be practical regarding husbandry.
    ...life is beautiful...

  6. #5
    Registered User SPIDERBALL's Avatar
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    Re: Building my own terrarium!!!!!!

    Just get DIY Critter Condo from DIYcages. You can get a 24x24x24 for $159. It comes with lights and heat lamp. And made of compressed pvc and foam. Easy to put together. Took me 30min. Not completely done cuz I'm waiting for extra stuff. Would cost less than buying all the stuff seperately.
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  7. #6
    Registered User Aedryan Methyus's Avatar
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    Re: Building my own terrarium!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by SPIDERBALL View Post
    Just get DIY Critter Condo from DIYcages. You can get a 24x24x24 for $159. It comes with lights and heat lamp. And made of compressed pvc and foam. Easy to put together. Took me 30min. Not completely done cuz I'm waiting for extra stuff. Would cost less than buying all the stuff seperately.
    24" x 24" x 24" isn't going to be long enough for an adult Ball Python. As others have already suggested, I would go with pvc board and I would make it 48" (length) x 24" (depth) x 12" (height). Pvc board is around $80.00 a sheet, but it's really the the best option for enclosures, in my opinion. Melamine would also be fine and it's less than half the price of pvc board ($30.00 a sheet), but it's very heavy and not the greatest choice for this type of enclosure. I would also design the enclosure with a removable partition down the center and keep it in until your Ball outgrows the 24" x 24" x 12" space or you will likely have feeding and defensive issues. There are nice pvc enclosures on the market this size that only cost around $160.00. By the time you add up all of the material and hardware and the time and trouble involved in building one, you really are almost better off just buying one.

    Check out this site:

    http://boamaster.com/index.php?route=common/home

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  9. #7
    Registered User SPIDERBALL's Avatar
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    Re: Building my own terrarium!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedryan Methyus View Post
    24" x 24" x 24" isn't going to be long enough for an adult Ball Python. As others have already suggested, I would go with pvc board and I would make it 48" (length) x 24" (depth) x 12" (height). Pvc board is around $80.00 a sheet, but it's really the the best option for enclosures, in my opinion. Melamine would also be fine and it's less than half the price of pvc board ($30.00 a sheet), but it's very heavy and not the greatest choice for this type of enclosure. I would also design the enclosure with a removable partition down the center and keep it in until your Ball outgrows the 24" x 24" x 12" space or you will likely have feeding and defensive issues. There are nice pvc enclosures on the market this size that only cost around $160.00. By the time you add up all of the material and hardware and the time and trouble involved in building one, you really are almost better off just buying one.

    Check out this site:

    http://boamaster.com/index.php?route=common/home
    Yeah well they make 36x24x24 and 48x24x24. Tell me that ain't long enough.
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  10. #8
    Registered User Aedryan Methyus's Avatar
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    Hence; Why I recommended 48" x 24" x 12" with a removable partition... Her concern is, she doesn't want to have to keep buying new enclosures for every stage of growth. I was only stating the obvious by saying that 24" isn't going to be long enough for an adult...

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