Reptile Keepr, Vivarium Builder
Written by Ava100   

Andy Marshall (aka Volly on RFUK) is a 30-year old married guy from Wirral, Northwest UK with 3 cats, 1 chihuahua, 2 giant African land snails and 1 Baird's Rat Snake.  Of course, we only care about the snake!  And yes, he is responsible for some of those homes where you keep your reptiles.  Andy is a certified vivarium builder and cabinet maker.  

We'll let his interview answers speak for themselves.  

What is so appealing for you about owning reptiles/snakes?

They are a lot nicer to look at and far more interesting to watch - feeding habbits e.t.c

They also tend to be easier to look after ( with the correct husbandary.)

The appeal to people who live in households that do not allow pets. Rented accomodation is usually also a bonus as most landlords will allow reptiles in the home because they are kept in vivariums so they do not have "free run" of the house and the opportunity to cause damage by chewing, scratching or "messing up" inside. 

How difficult is it to make a vivarium? Tell me about the process.

Building vivariums does require a certain amount of skill but it isn't really too difficult.

The right amount of knowledge and the correct tools are all you need.

Basically, you build a wooden box with an open front, add runners for the glass and put vents on the back and that's it.

The hardest part is measuring up for the glass accurately - get it wrong even 3mm and it can't be of use.
What is Wirral Vivz and how has your previous work history in the kitchen/bedroom manufacturing industry helped you become a success?

Wirral Vivz is my company that specialises in making custom built vivariums and vivarium stacks to the exact requirements of the customer / reptile.
My previous work history in kitchen/bedroom manufacture has helped greatly with this as the basics behind building the various units are the same.

The next 12 months will bring some exciting new designs and innovations into the reptile industry and will hopefully make it easier for breeders and private collectors alike to maintain thier passion for "Herping" in the way of space saving storage that also allows prefectly adequate housing forthe animals.

How difficult is it to take care of your reptiles? You’ve mentioned having to reduce them because there was no time to look after all of them. 

Keeping reptiles in general is easy BUT every species is different and has different care needs.

Due to the amount of work I'm currently taking on on a daily basis, I felt that it was kinder to let my reps go to homes and spend time caring for them then,  rather than me trying to squeeze in "feeds" and "cleans" and "handling time" around my work.

8am starts until 10pm-11pm finishes are now quite common through the week.

What would you suggest to someone interested in taking care of a reptile? Words of wisdom?

Research!  Research!!  Research!!!  They are the best words of wisdom I think anyone can offer to somebody who is looking to start keeping any animal - not just reptiles.

How do you keep them out of reach of your four children?

Luckily, all of my children love the reptiles so having them on display is quite fascinating for them.

However, they are all kept in locked vivs, out of harms way (the Reps NOT my kids haha.)

My eldest daughter is 11 so now she wants her own Lizard to look after by herself - thus proving she's a big girl and can do it - NOT YET HUN xxxxx

How active are you on the forums and do you think they cater to your needs?

How active am I on RFUK?  Well my wife said that if I spent half as much time with her as I do on here, I would have noticed that she moved out 6 months ago and has now re-married...

On a serious note, I am on the forum every day without fail.

I find a great deal of information and help that not only assists me in reptile keeping but also helps me to run my business - advice on care needs, ventillation of vivs e.t.c. is always appreciated.

Also, there is the FUN element of the forum - it's not just a serious reptile keeping site but also a social site where people get together and have a laugh - I've made a couple of good friends since I joined and look forward to making more.

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