Choosing to keep a snake as a pet can be scary but equally rewarding. Owning a snake comes with the responsibilities any pet owner can expect and choosing a good snake terrarium is one of those.
Exo Terra Short
Exo Terra Tall
Zoo Med XL
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There are a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes of snake terrarium on the market and of course, some are better than others. Deciding which is the best snake terrarium can depend on your pet’s species, size, and its activity level.
For this guide on some of the top rated reptile terrarium, we’re going to show you some of the best ones when it comes to safety and creating the right environment for a snake. We’ll also include a variety of sizes so that it covers a range of needs.
Exo Terra Short Glass Terrarium
Exo Terra is well-known for producing high quality snake and reptile enclosures and this one is no different. Being short and wide, this is better suited to ground-dwelling snakes, rather than arboreal ones.
The dimensions are 24x18x12 inches. We love that it has front opening doors which makes getting access to and feeding your snake much easier. The doors can either be opened together or separately and a specially designed lock prevents your snake from sneaking out. Moreover, the ventilated roof can be removed for cleaning and decorating purposes.
This reptile enclosure provides plenty of versatility for decoration. At the back, there are five closable tube/wire inlets which means that you could install things like heat rocks or sensors.
The bottom of the enclosure can fit a substrate heater if you want to heat certain parts of the terrarium floor for your snake. Overall, this enclosure comes in at around 20 gallons which provides ample space for placing rocks and other objects you’d like to use for decoration.
Exo Terra Tall Glass Terrarium
The closest alternative to the short enclosure is Exo Terra’s tall terrarium. You can expect an equivalent quality in terms of versatility and flexibility as this terrarium is one of the top-rated one you can purchase.
If you click the link to check the product on Amazon, there will be a variety of sizing options. Feel free to click through them and get an idea of what will work for your snake. For example, the one we’re linking to is tall (and wide) and therefore better suited to arboreal snakes i.e. ones which like to climb vines and branches.
Again, there are escape-proof front opening doors so that you can access and feed your snake easily. Additionally, the front window has a ventilation strip. Just like the smaller terrarium from Exo Terra, the bottom is raised so that you can install substrate heating. There are also inlets so that you can install additional features.
KollerCraft Reptile Habitat
Moving away from Exo Terra, this time we’re taking a look at KollerCraft’s flat-backed reptile enclosure, ideally suitable for ground-dwelling snakes.
This is a much smaller habitat (5 gallons) and that’s reflected in the price, which is $30.95 at the time of writing this guide. One of the best things about this enclosure is that the shape of it provides really good viewing.
The dimensions are 10x19x12 inches which lends itself well to smaller snakes. This product is highly durable. The screen top is made from a heavy duty metal and the rest is made from an impact resistant acrylic, which is ideal if you have children running and playing around it.
One concern that we have with this product is that the lid is not snap on. It is placed on with a latch, which in most instances is perfectly fine, but it does mean that a determined snake could push its way out. One way to combat this would be to secure the lid down with a heavy object.
Some people have also had complaints of the side scratching easily, so it is advised that you take care when decorating, handling, and cleaning.
Zoo Med Extra Large Terrarium
Based on some Amazon reviews, we want to preface this with that you will have a great tank, so long as it doesn’t arrive cracked. The reviews stating that they received a cracked enclosure are from 2015, so it suggests that the problem may have been fixed. Nonetheless, it is worth keeping in mind.
This is a tall terrarium (18x18x24 inches) which suits arboreal snakes well. This leaves room to add taller features, like vines and branches. The front glass is an opening door which has a secure snap closure. The door is also lockable, however, the lock isn’t actually included so you would need to purchase that separately.
The screen top is made from stainless steel which is durable, resists corrosion, and you can even fit a dome clamp lamp or light bar. Furthermore, the top, as well as the front, is ventilated to keep the terrarium airy.
There are six power cord inlets which you can use to install additional features. The terrarium comes on its own i.e. no lighting, background etc.
What to Know Before Buying Your Snake Terrarium
Choosing a snake terrarium, also known as a snake cage, requires thought before you jump to the ‘buy’ button, especially if this is your first pet snake. Whether or not this is your first snake, you need to be ready for your terrarium to actually house a snake.
Essentially, we mean that you need to consider substrate, lighting, heating, size, hiding places, and plants. Once all of that is in place, you are ready to move your snake into the terrarium.
Furthermore, have you learned how to handle your snake safely? This can be really useful so that you protect yourself from a bit and potentially more importantly, don't frighten or hurt your snake.
Is Bigger Always Better?
One of the most common misconceptions about good snake enclosures is the belief that ‘bigger is better’. It’s pretty natural to assume that if a snake has more room to move around, then that must be better for the snake’s wellbeing. The truth is, if an enclosure or cage is too large for the snake then it can become anxious.
Additionally, an arboreal snake, i.e. one which lives primarily in trees and bushes, will be better suited to a taller enclosure. Contrarily, a ground-dwelling snake will much prefer a smaller but wider cage. People often look for some crazy terrarium ideas. Although they look great, they might no always be that suited to your snake.
Kitting Out Your Snake Cage
Before transferring your snake over to its new enclosure, or if it’s your first snake, before buying the enclosure, you should consider how you’re going to kit it out. The aim with any enclosure is to mimic its natural environment as closely as possible so that it feels safe and comfortable.
Of course, this means that you’ll need to take some time to learn about your species of snake and its natural habitat. Most often, people opt for different types of sand, gravel, and mulch in order to replicate what it used to in the wild. Some also successfully use newsprint, or cheap newspaper, because it is easy to keep tidy but it is generally better to try to make the habitat as natural as possible for the snake.
In the wild, snakes prefer to hide rather than sit out in the open. This means that you need to think carefully about the placement of rocks, branches, and vines in your snake cage so that there are adequate places for it to hide or climb.
As an example, a ground-dwelling snake will show a preference to plenty of rocks and a branch or two to climb. Other snakes, like arboreal ones, prefer to have more branches and vines to climb.
Snakes Love to Hide in Their Terrarium
Snakes love to hide. Naturally, they avoid danger when they can and do this by hiding under rocks, logs, and leaves. In the wild, these are all natural forms of “caves”, essentially. When you’re building out your snake cage, you should aim to replicate a natural hiding place which can be made from rocks or even card.
Properly Lighting Your Snake’s Cage
There are plenty of myths flying around when it comes to properly lighting your snake’s cage. The most common myth? You need UVB lights for your snake to survive. This is simply not true, however, the good news is that it certainly won’t hurt.
Snake actually obtain their vitamin D through the foods they eat, rather than needing it through the special light produced by the sun. That said, there is some evidence suggesting that snakes can be seen to be more active under UVB/A light but they’re equally as healthy without it.
If you choose to install a UVB light, make sure that your snake can’t get too close to it, don’t keep it on all day long, and make sure that there is nothing resting against it. Consider using a reflector to sit in front of the light.
Do You Need Heat Lights?
Needing heat lights in the terrarium boils down to the species of snake and the temperature it needs to maintain. Heading pads are popular among many owners. They sit under the tank to keep it warm enough for the snake.
Heat lights, however, allow you more control over the average temperature and can also allow for a more natural day/night cycle which is what the snake would be used to in its natural habitat.
Often, people choose to have two different lights. One is left on for 12 hours during the day and is a white light used to mimic daylight. The other light is a nocturnal light, switched on overnight and is usually purple or red.
If you don’t have a natural day/night cycle, your snake can become confused and display anxious or even lethargic behaviour. This is especially true for nocturnal snakes. Additionally, this is one of many reasons snakes actually stop eating.
The larger the snake enclosure, the more watts you’ll need to heat it up. A weak light in a large tank would mean that your snake doesn’t get enough warmth. It’s useful to use a thermometer to asses the temperature of the enclosure relatively regularly.