After many years of dreaming and planning, I’m finally putting together an area to house reptiles. I have a space set aside for setting up enclosures, and have done a lot of shopping and research on different brands, buying vs. building, heating and light, humidity, and basically all aspects of care… but not so much how to stack enclosures in a way that doesn’t cause problems.
To summarize, the space I’m working with is approximately 8-10 feet of continuous, usable wall. Floor space is very open, and enclosure depth isn’t a big issue (within reason). I haven’t measured ceiling height, but it isn’t low by any means. I don’t want any enclosures I would need a ladder to see, so suffice it to say there’s more than enough height for anything I would want to install. There is some peripheral wall space that could feasibly be used for small-medium enclosures (nothing much larger than a 4’x2’x2’ would work well on those sides).
For stacking, what’s the best style of enclosure in terms of lamps and ventilation? I see many with mesh tops, which would seem to require open space overhead… What about safety with regards to heating elements? Or stacking different sizes?
I’ve seen a lot of beautiful setups where many different animals are housed on a single wall, in a way that looks very professional and zoo-like. Do they have to be careful of what animals are housed near each other? Can they smell or otherwise sense each other, in a way that could be stressful (like a lizard smelling a potential predator)?
Most animals I’m interested in seem to be very terrestrial, with more need for horizontal space as opposed to vertical. Can larger enclosures be safely stacked? Do terrestrial animals (such as an uromastyx) sense if their enclosure is several feet off the ground, even if it’s set up properly inside? Does that stress them?
Do neighboring enclosures interfere with each other’s temperatures, or even humidity? If so, how do you prevent that?
(P.S.: These are currently just layout ideas—there are no actual animals waiting to be moved right now. I’m planning for the future, as I want to avoid wasting space or ending up with mismatched, awkward enclosures that can’t be stacked.)
What animals? This will help us help you with ideas!
We converted our outhouse to a reptile room, we have metals racking that holds 1 60x45x60 and 2 45x45x60 on each row on one wall.
On the opposite wall we have 2 4x2x2 wooden vivs stacked for borneo and royal, and a 4x2x18 for fatties on top of them. Will have 2 glass vivs on top of those for cresties also.
And also on that wall when sorted will have 2/3 2x2x18 wooden vivs stacked and a tall 4-5ft x2x2 on top of those.
Other wall is the Ackie viv which is 5 long, 2 wide and 3 high. On top of that is borneo wooden viv (for now) will be adding a new addition next week. But ideally all too will be for free monitors that side.
Temp all ideal, obviously monitors need hotter etc so on a stat and other snakes also.
Thanks for the examples!
Most of the animals I’d like to eventually keep are medium-large, terrestrial lizards—specifically, uromastyx (Egyptian and/or Saudi), a rhino iggy (or similar cyclura), and possibly a tegu or similarly sized monitor at some point in time. On the smaller side, I’m interested in skinks and crested and/or gargoyle geckos. I might want space for a snake at some point, but nothing much larger than a bp. Nothing is majorly set in stone, but I don’t want to renovate again, or have incompatible enclosures that can’t coherently fit in the space. XD
Anything requiring less than 4x2x2 isn’t much of an issue, as I have a lot of placement options for smaller enclosures. I worry most about weight and stability, especially with bigger animals… I see lots of enclosures that have fittings for stacking and combination, but not specifics about compatible stands, weight limits, or whether they need additional anchoring to avoid tipping or shaking.
Edit: Oh, and I’m planning for all the enclosures to have individual light/heat/humidity fittings, so my concern was moreso if they would give off ambient heat and throw each other off, or something.
I know that some brands of PVC enclosures advertise stackability specifically, and even sell spacers that make for easy, secure stacking of enclosures, allowing you to leave a gap between the top of the bottom enclosure and the bottom of the top enclosure. I know that Animal Plastics offers this, and I believe Black Box does as well. Possibly also Zen? It’s been a while since I looked at Zen’s website. Leap Habitats might also do it. And I’m sure there are more I’m not aware of. But that would be something to be aware of and look for when shopping for enclosures.
Another option, besides stacking enclosures on top of each other, would be to get some shelving like a baker’s rack, and put the enclosures on those shelves. That’s a great option for smaller enclosures. Obviously it won’t work as well for larger and/or taller enclosures.
If wanting bigger animals like tegu and rhino iguana (also love) then you’re gonna need massive enclosures imo, more so for the rhino! And they’ll need to be on floor, be let out etc.
Yeah with heat it can be a pain, the Ackie viv literally warms the boa ebough so much that it doesn’t need heat!
The borneo and royal have heat lamps etc each and all ok there!
If you want monitors that’s when it’s a pain as they need it hot!!
The general size I’ve seen recommended for rhinos most often was 8’x4’x4’. I could probably expand past that slightly, depending on the difficulty of buying/constructing habitats on that scale… But yes, I would definitely be up for taking them for regular walkies and exploring the house—those are the kinds of pets I enjoy most. Rhinos were the first reptile to seriously get me interested in keeping herps—I owe most of my reptile enthusiasm to them (and iggies in general, really). I learned about my other favorites while researching them over the years. Could smaller enclosures easily be stacked on top of a habitat of that scale, though? 4’ isn’t very tall, so I’d like to be able to not waste the overhead space…
Oof, so ambient heat from adjoining enclosures IS going to make things difficult. I guess all I can do is adjust the heating fixtures in each enclosure, until each thermostat is in optimal range?