Did any of you see the photo that USARK put up on Facebook? I laughed so hard I cried.


Did any of you see the photo that USARK put up on Facebook? I laughed so hard I cried.

A message from Anonymous
I use repti-bark for my ball python. I've noticed he gets tiny splinters sometimes so I want to move him off of it. Is aspen a good alternative to the bark? Does it pose a high impaction risk? I always get mixed answers from owners and breeders. So I thought I'd ask you, too. Thanks.

There’s always some risk of impaction if you feed your snake on any loose substrate and aspen can be kind of splintery but many many people house their BPs on aspen and I’ve personally never had significant issues with it either. It’s really just up to you.

If you want to feed in the enclosure but want to reduce/virtually remove the risk of impaction then you should probably just go for paper towel or newsprint as substrate.

A message from Anonymous
Are there any plants you would rec for a BP enclosure?

I’m not really familiar with plants and keeping live terrariums so I don’t really have any suggestions other than you might one to just opt for silk plants. BPs also have a habit of crushing most plants to death by sitting on top of them.

A message from Anonymous
Do you know where I can find a reasonably cheap ivory?

A message from Anonymous
How long can you keep frozen mice for?

F/Ts can be kept in the freezer in a well sealed container for nearly a full year until they won’t be any good for feeding anymore. 

A message from Anonymous
Is there any enclosures that are kind of an in between of racks and tanks - something built well for humidity and reptiles but also good for someone who just has one or two reptiles?

PVC cages.

Basically the things I was referring to at the end of that last post.

A message from Anonymous
Opinions on racks vs tanks?

I will almost always choose a good PVC reptile rack over a glass tank because racks at made with the intention of housing reptiles. Tanks are made for fish.*

Now, there are definitely hobbyists in the live vivarium/naturalistic terrarium community that probably wouldn’t get much out of housing all their animals in racks because racks just aren’t built for display. There are also people who maintain very large collections who would be tearing their hair out if they had to house all their animals in glass tanks/terrariums. Different keepers have different ideas about what’s the best way to house their animals based one what their goals for their collection are so there are reasons why someone might use one over the other. So here are some pros and cons for each system.

Reptile rack pros:

  • Made for the purpose of housing reptiles
  • Very convenient housing solutions for those with large collections and finite amounts of available space
  • Very cost effective for those with large collections
  • Require little to no modification to make them suitable for housing reptiles
  • Hold in humidity and temperatures better than glass
  • Most racks can be deconstructed for ease of transportation and storage
  • Tubs are light weight and easy to move around
  • Tubs are very easy to take out and clean
  • Generally very secure
  • Allow for easy access to reptile when doing daily check ups

Reptile rack cons:

  • Not very modular
  • Do work well for display setups
  • Not always ideal for housing reptiles that require access to basking light (though there are some manufacturers who make racks that can be used with heat lamps)
  • May not provide adequate ventilation in high humidity environments 

Glass tank pros:

  • Great for display purposes
  • Very modular, tanks can be rearranged on a wire shelf for set on top of dressers and desks, etc.
  • Most cost effective for individuals who own only a few reptiles
  • Easy to use with heat lamps for basking reptiles
  • Screen top tanks provide good ventilation in high humidity environments
  • Widely available

Glass tank cons:

  • Usually need a lot modification to make them ready for reptile use
  • Provide no insulation, tend to lose temperature and humidity easily
  • Can be difficult to effectively store and transport
  • Transparent walls and lack of furnishing can make reptiles feel exposed and not provide enough security
  • Can be difficult to deep clean
  • Can break shard if the enclosure is dropped or falls which could severely harm or kill a reptile if it is inside at the time

So basically there’s a lot to say about both types of enclosures but at the end of the day it really just depends on what the keeper needs and even the individual needs of the reptile. A lot of people will even use combinations of enclosures for housing different animals in their collection and of course there are even enclosures that combine the best of glass tanks and PVC racks to provide a functional yet also aesthetically appealing housing solution for your reptiles.

(Image source)

*This statement excludes any semi/fully aquatic reptiles.