Would Building A Shed Be Worth It?

I currently keep all of my reptiles in my bedroom. I want to move the reptiles somewhere else, but all of my former spare rooms are now taken up by my family members. There’s no place with enough room inside my house to keep the reptiles except for the basement which currently is not a livable space, so I was thinking about building a shed and bringing an electrician out to run some wires to the shed so I can provide all of the reptiles with the heating and lighting they need. I priced it out to cost around $7000 to build the shed, insulate it and provide it with electricity and temperature control. If anyone else has built a reptile shed like this, did you find it to be worth it? Or would it be better to waterproof the basement, redo the flooring, drywall it, install some outlets and put some temperature control down there?


I don’t have a shed, but multiple friends do. They love having them and feel they’re well worth it.

As someone who uses his basement, have you price compared getting your basement into an acceptable state for use? I love using my basement (granted my basement is mostly finished and well over 1000 square feet. )

There’s benefits and disadvantages for both options.


Id make sure the shed has insulation, ventilation and a way to cool or heat.

We have 2 sheds at my mommas house ( 1 was metal the other was wood that my dad built) i can tell you they get hot as hell in there in the summer. You live in NM? Im sure its hot often there. You could possibly kill your animals with that heat sheds kinda turn into hot boxes ( now my dad built these as storage places for tools, lawnmower and other home maintenance things so he hadn’t insulated them. I can surely tell you these get insanely hot, long story short i had to sleep inthe shed once bc parents were mad at me, by 8 am it was too unbearable to stay in there.

You don’t want to risk your animals lives.

Id say if you have a basement its probably better. I don’t know about contractors or prices so i don’t know which is more economical to build in the long run. Going with say an ADU is probably more costly than fuxing up the basement.

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If it where me, i would finish or partially finish the basement. This gives you two bonuses, 1) you have a place with easy access to all your snakes, easy water access, easy to monitor and controlled environment. 2) you will be increasing the value of your house. By having it finished, it is now an added living space, and temperature controlled. It can be used later (if you no longer have snakes) as an extra room or if you sell, gives added living space for the next owner… Sheds will take more upkeep and take up land space. Could be an eye sore down the road if not kept up. Long term cost could be cheaper finishing the basement.


No, I live in Central NY. I grew up in New Mexico and I breed New Mexican herps, but I live in New York. It doesn’t get very hot here during the summer, but it does get humid as all hell so I’d need to maintain good air flow to keep the shed from turning stagnant. It can also get well into the negative degrees fahrenheit in the winter, especially at night, so I’d have to get a heater and some thick insulation into the shed.


Yeah NY humid summer really cold winter. If you did a shed trying to deck it out probably be as expensive as an ADU.

I was like i didn’t know NM had a basement :joy: but ya never know. Its probably best to restore the basement probably way better climate control there.

Here in cali people don’t have basement ( although its possible someone does have one ) its typically warm year round but it can get hot from August to about mid November. Humidity isn’t to bad but i live near the coast so some days are humid ( not like Florida or Virginia when i was stationed there ). I think theres a reason Cali doesn’t have basement s in houses ( my VA does though ) but not sure the reason houses don’t.

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It is very rare for someone to have a basement in NM. I used to have something that you could consider a basement when I was living there though. My house was built on a hill, so the garage was under the first floor of the house and it had a storage room connected to it. Not sure if I’d really consider that a true basement, but it’s more than what most people had. I found a rattler living there at one point but when I called a venomous snake relocator, he strangely couldn’t find it. I would hear that rattlesnake from time to time when I was in my garage, but I never physically saw it again.

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Im sure NM gets pretty hot, not sure like AZ hot but man AZ was like face melting heat. As soon as you open the door its like opening an oven door. If they had basements im sure scorpions widows and snakes would be crawling in there to escape that heat. I don’t mind the aracnids but i really don’t like dealing with venomous snakes.

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South New Mexico is like being inside a microwave, but Albuquerque and Santa Fe aren’t too bad. Albuquerque is elevated at 5000 feet and Santa Fe is 7000 feet. The altitude certainly helps as it never gets much higher than the low 90s even in the peak of summer. Most of the time it’s in the 70s-80s in the summer. The humidity is obviously very low as well so that helps a whole lot. It snows pretty much every winter and it isn’t very uncommon for it to snow enough for actual winter activities.

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When i think of NM i think of Billy the Kid.

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Well, I guess that’s better than people nowadays always thinking of breaking bad and meth.

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Discounting the cost, though of course the cost must realistically be considered and only you can make the call on what’s fitting for your life, I would opt for finishing the basement. I concur with @d_y_python 's reasons but would add a couple more.

In the event of an extended power outage, your animals are more likely to be safe in your basement. Call me paranoid, but power outages in rural areas growing up followed by too many years in hurricane country, too many news stories like those from the Texas ice storms have made me hyper-vigilant about planning for power failures. Outages don’t usually happen when conditions are ideal, and if you choose the shed you should consider how you’d handle power outages. I’m sure you would, you’re a responsible keeper. A responsible builder would address it, too.

The final reason Is choose the basement is bit more subjective. It’d be so easy to just pop down and check on them any time, any weather. I think having to dress for snow or rain before checking on the snakes would mean that sometimes, I wouldn’t. Not that I wouldn’t do what needed to be done, at all. I mean that some of those moments when I might just want to have a quick glance at this one, or take that one out for a bit, or just take a few minutes to enjoy watching them going about their day or night; I think some of that would fall by the wayside if it meant going out to shed instead of down to the basement. Keeping animals is a labor of love, and I love having mine where I can enjoy them easily.


Another vote for basement here. Too many advantages. Better climate control, better security, easier to maintain, more enjoyable having them close, etc etc.

Most of the time I’ve heard about people loosing entire collections it is when their animals are off site in a separate shed. If you do go that route be sure to invest in a temperature monitoring setup that will notify you immediately if temperatures go out of range. I use sensorpush for this but there are many solid options.


Here is my vote for basements. Personally in Florida it is rare to have a basement so I will be more then likely using a spare room for a boa/reptile room and have a few reptiles littered around the house too lol. To me, there just seems too many advantages to basements and too many cons for separate sheds.


Wouldn’t it be cheaper to get rid of family members? Ha, ha. JK!


I wouldn’t build a shed @garciademueller. I know how cold it gets up here in the north and you guys in NY get a ton of snow in the winter. Power outages would be my biggest concerns. Unless you plan on a generator , I’d work on the basement.


I’ve definitely decided on finishing the basement. I’ll get s contractor down here some point this upcoming winter to see what exactly needs to be done and I’ll most likely start on construction this spring. I probably won’t have everything completed for a while as I want to go out and buy a bunch of new reptile enclosures from Toad Ranch to give the room a cohesive look, but I’m hoping to have the basement finished and to have my reptiles moved down by next summer.


Wish I lived closer to give you a hand. I’ve finished several basements.
My best advice is to get several quotes on the project. Look at their BBB rating also.
Maybe by the time you are ready material costs will come down. Right now prices are outrageous as you have seen by pricing the shed.


Not sure if anyone else has listed this pro vs con yet. A pro of having a finished shed is that if the snake room catches fire, your house isn’t going to go up in flames as well. Con to having it in the basement is if it catches fire you would probably kiss your house goodbye.


That is a good point. If a heat lamp malfunctions that could cause a real bad fire. I should probably get a smoke detector and a dry chemical extinguisher down there. But, a fire is a risk that everyone takes when they willingly put heat producing objects in their house, so I’d say that con is not enough to persuade me to do the shed.