Which reptile supplies for a tropical terrarium?
Reptile supplies for a rainforest terrarium is a great opportunity for you to flex your creative muscles while providing your tropical reptile with a comfortable and attractive home. The reptile currently in residence in our office terrarium is a very lovable Nosy Mitsio panther chameleon, that we have taken to calling ‘Nosy Parker’. The reptile supplies that we have included in Parker's terrarium have been chosen to make Parker a happy and healthy little reptile.
Parker is a type of chameleon known as a Nosy Mitsio and is native to the tropical climate of Madagascar. This is a rich natural habitat with high levels of humidity and plenty of plant life, where the bright, exotic colours of the Nosy Mitsio chameleon are well at home.
What kind of terrarium do I need?
Choosing the right terrarium for your chameleon really isn’t the chore you might think it is. Tropical reptiles prefer plenty of ventilation in their habitats but also like a moisture-rich humidity similar to that of their natural tropical environment. This means that you do have an option when picking a terrarium for your tropical reptile. The most common choice is to use a flexarium, such as the Exo Terra Flexariums. This is basically a terrarium with mesh walls that provide plenty of ventilation for your reptile, while also allowing the ultraviolet rays that they require to easily penetrate through the mesh.
The wooden vivariums are a less common, but still very useful option for housing the chameleon. They have the advantage of usually being cheaper than metal and glass alternatives and are ideal for retaining heat. However a wooden vivarium is quite inefficient for retaining moisture and would need to be specially treated to avoid warping of the wood.
In order to maintain the moisture-rich humidity required by a chameleon, there is also the option of using a glass terrarium, such as the Swell Glass Terrarium. This setup is the ideal choice because not only do the glass walls help to keep in the humidity, but there is also a full metal mesh screen at the top of the enclosure. This allows you to provide the tropical reptile with a perfect amount of ventilation, while also creating a humid environment that seems to go down an absolute treat with Parker.
But don't worry that a glass terrarium doesn't have as much ventilation as a flexarium. We find that Parker is happiest when regularly handled for short amounts of time. This gives him the chance to explore and be the nosey parker that he is, before practising his climbing skills on the office plants.
How to turn your terrarium tropical
In order to replicate the highly humid atmosphere of the tropical rainforest, you need to introduce plenty of moisture into the reptile enclosure. It has also been suggested that as arboreal (tree-dwelling) creatures, chameleons are not actually able to see standing water. This makes regular misting of the terrarium essential to your reptile getting a drink of water.
If you have spare time you can simply do this by using a Swell Reptile pump sprayer. This allows you to give precise amounts of water to your terrarium in a fine mist spray. But if you have better things to do than standing around waiting to spray a reptile then why not take advantage of the Exo Terra Monsoon Rain System? This ingenious little system is perfect for the busy reptile keeper and means that when filled up it will create a fine water mist at timer-controlled intervals.
Do tropical reptiles need ultra violet light?
Although tropical reptiles don’t require as much ultraviolet light as desert reptiles, such as bearded dragons, they still require 5 / 6% ultraviolet light in order to process calcium. For chameleons like Parker you need both a lighting canopy, such as the Arcadia Complete UV Light Kit and also a good quality ceramic lamp, such as the Swell Clamp lamps. This allows you to provide your tropical reptile with the concentrated heat that they require, while also providing the essential levels of UV.
There is also a great deal of versatility on size when selecting your light units. Depending on the size of your terrarium, you can choose the length of light unit that perfectly complements it, so that it fits in perfectly with the rest of your reptile enclosure.
Is a background on my reptile supplies list?
When ticking off your list of reptile supplies you might ask yourself whether you need a background for a tropical reptile vivarium. The truth is it is more than a question of aesthetics, even though nothing completes the look of a terrarium quite like an attractive background.
A good quality background, such as the Lucky Reptile Coco Background is a great way to retain moisture in the terrarium, without the need to keep spraying all day. Best of all the all-natural coconut fibre material means that plants and vines can quickly latch on.
With glass terrariums it has been suggested that reptiles become uncomfortable with the presence of glass, since it both casts a reflection and confuses them by not being able to pass through it. The attractive coco background manages to tick all of the boxes for keeping your reptile comfortable and healthy by preventing these problems, while also helping their terrarium to look great.
Do I need décor?
Décor is an important part of a tropical terrarium. As you can see from the above photos, Parker's terrarium is full of lush, green artificial plants. These work perfectly with the water mister to allow water to collect and form into droplets, resulting in a refreshing drink of water for Parker.
Branches and vines are also a great way to both decorate the enclosure and provide a sturdy climbing space for your reptile to explore. The Komodo Tropical Vine Branch is readily available in a variety of sizes and when installed has a highly attractive woody appearance.
Our reptile advisors have also found that even though tropical reptiles will rarely be on the ground it is still a good idea to have a good quality substrate. With Parkers terrarium we had opted for the Swell Premium Orchid Bark. This is a perfect way to complete the look of the enclosure, while also helping to retain water and keep a good level of humidity.
To keep your reptile well fed you can’t beat using a Lucky Reptile Kricket Keeper. These allow you to purchase live food that your reptile finds delicious, which in Parkers case these happen to be a mix of locusts and crickets and also some tasty meal worms, served in the Komodo Mealworm Dish.
So if you’re looking to keep your reptile as happy and healthy as our Parker, then follow this simple list for the essential reptile supplies for a tropical terrarium paradise. But if you are still a little unsure about which items to tick off your list of reptile supplies, why not take advantage of one of our Swell Chameleon Vivarium Kits. These great value items include everything from the VivExotic vivarium, to a handy pump up sprayer.