On page 18 in this issue is Paul Demas’ step-by-step article about putting together his 210-gallon naturalistic vivarium. It was certainly an ambitious project, and after you read it—who knows?—perhaps you’ll feel inspired to start knocking some large holes in your walls to construct something similar.
We all know that a huge part of the appeal of keeping pet reptiles and amphibians is in their beautiful—and yes, sometimes bizarre—appearance. Many of these colorful and intricately patterned animals make a great conversation topic when people come to visit. Who doesn’t like hearing those oohs and aahs? Not to mention keepers themselves are regularly entranced by their pets’ beauty.
Naturalistic setups can do so much to enhance the showy aspect of keeping herps. Sure, they provide the occupants with more places to hide. But that makes them feel more secure, and they will usually exhibit more natural behaviors, too. The enclosures can even be works of art in themselves. So unless you’re a breeder who needs the convenience of a rack system, or the animals you keep don’t lend themselves well to natural planted vivariums (such as some of the larger snakes), consider setting up a naturalistic vivarium—or two, or three.