Why a naturalistic vivarium??
The concept of a naturalistic vivarium will benefit both reptile and owner.
The Naturalistic vivarium can create an environment that replicates the animal?s natural environment and help lead to a stress free life for your reptile. A well designed naturalistic vivarium is also extremely enjoyable for you to look at.
The landscape you choose to create in your naturalistic vivarium can be anything from a landscape that would never be found in nature, to one that exactly matches a picture from a book or even scene from a TV show. Building a naturalistic vivarium which closely resembles your reptile pets? natural environment can be exceptionally rewarding. Get creative while designing your naturalistic vivarium and build the ultimate habitat for your pet reptile.
By designing a naturalistic vivarium you will see your pet reptiles show more natural behaviours and interaction within their enclosure. These conditions are environmentally enriched and will maximise the keeper and reptile experience. Both you and your pet reptiles will find these conditions more rewarding.
A naturally landscaped living vivarium is the most pleasing to the human eye, and causes the least amount of stress for you reptiles; this in turn will let your animals show their natural behaviours to their fullest.
Environmental enrichment within reptile vivariums may furthermore encourage good husbandry and provide the appropriate environment for species-typical behaviours to occur. This added level of stimulation and activity is conducive to good health.
Reptiles vary widely in their natural ranges. They are found in an array of habitats and ecological niches. They exist in the temperature extremes of the desert, the moisture of the tropical rainforest and also the marine environment, just to mention a few.
Reptiles have adapted to each of these vastly different conditions and flourished on the microhabitats of each in order to survive. They may be aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal, or subterranean, or in many cases some combination of these depending on their stage of development and the time of year.
Reptiles utilize a variety of food types and feeding strategies. Species may be herbivores, insectivores, carnivores, frugivores or omnivores. Some reptiles are primarily predators while others are primarily prey; however, most are both to some extent. The design of your reptile cage must incorporate how they would eat so the food can be presented safely.
Locomotive styles include terrestrial locomotion by means of limbs, limbless locomotion, aquatic locomotion and even aerial locomotion where species glide or parachute to their destination. Other behaviours typical of most reptiles include excavation of nests or burrows, sexual and territorial displays. Some of these latter behaviours may only occur in a social context.
Reptiles are poikilothermic, or (wrongly called) cold-blooded, animals. Because their body temperature is dictated by external temperature, reptiles can regulate their body temperatures through behaviour. Reptile life and reproductive cycles are also influenced by the availability and quantity of water. In some species the amount of moisture in the air is critical while in others, access to a pond, lake or river is essential for their health.
Perches in most reptile enclosures are crucial in providing arboreal access for both semi and fully arboreal species. When these areas have a heat source, perching provides an important mechanism for thermoregulation.
Perches should be placed near heat sources to allow the animals to bask. Placing perches at varying distances from the heat source provides a temperature range that allows the animals to maintain body temperatures within a level appropriate to the species.
These heat sources can also encourage movement around the vivarium. Providing locations that are slightly hotter than optimum conditions can encourage movement in and out of that area, rather than having the animal continuously bask in the same location.
Creating vertical as well as horizontal basking and climbing sites can offer additional dimensions to the enclosure and stimulate climbing in some species. For example many species of snakes can develop gastrointestinal problems and/or become obese through lack of exercise. Periodically changing the perching in its enclosure may stimulate a healthy increase in movement as the animal explores its enriched environment.
Regular misting of a naturalistic terrarium can also increase activity and assist with the shedding of skin. Water features, if appropriate for the species can help make the enclosure landscape more interesting and raise the humidity level. Additions of plants, moss and soil can also help to maintain humidity and moisture within your vivarium.
Natural terrarium substrates such as soil, wood chips, moss, etc., can give reptiles the ability to manipulate their environments and engage in natural behaviours such as digging a burrow or creating a nest site (Tegus). Moisture, texture and temperature gradients within the vivarium may all play a role in the selection of a nest site. It is also important to provide a natural substrate and conditions for potentially gravid females. This can help the females to deposit their clutch of eggs and to not become egg-bound.
As you can see naturalistic vivariums and terrariums have advantages both for you as the hobbyist, and for your reptile pets.
The naturalistic vivarium industry has come a long way in the recent years. Now a vast amount of natural products are available, thus enabling you to create a beautiful natural reptile environment with little hassle. With the roots, vines, backgrounds and hideouts on the market today the only limitation in designing your naturalistic vivarium is your imagination.