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Old 25-08-2010, 12:21 AM
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Default Naturalistic Vivs for European Reptiles... and teaser

Evening all, managed to get some piccies online via a mate's computer of a couple of the setups I've been working on, so I can finally show some examples of my naturalistic viv designs for some of my snakes and lizards. My intent with all of these was to create something simple to fit into small dimensions (in this case 24" x 15" and 36" x 15" - just the standard vivexotics LX series).

First up a 36" viv that houses one of my Horseshoe Whip Snakes (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) - sadly the snake decided to scarper when I opened the viv so is absent. I make a point of not "digging up" the animals unless I really need to (full cleanouts or medical checks). With stressy snakes like this it can be a headache as they uproot everything in their attempts to anchor themselves down!







Next one of my Dione's Rat Snakes (Elaphe dione) out for a wander. This is a marvellous species for naturalistic vivs, remaining small, diurnal and active. They are also gentle and about as hardy as snakes can get, although do need a lengthy brumation to achieve good breeding results. The fact that the Chinese subspecies (E. d. taeniata - pictured) also happens to be one of the more beautiful rat snakes is a plus!







Next on to a lizard viv, housing my newly acquired CB09 pair of Ocellated (Eyed) lizards, Timon lepidus. This is more of a holding viv than a finished product, they will actually end up in a 48"x24"x24" with a fake rock/ cliff background, but I was so excited to get them that I had to put them into something interesting while they await their palace...















A couple of shots of Maysie, the Neotropical Green Vine Snake (Oxybelis fulgidus) relaxing and watching proceedings as usual from her (unfinished) 48" high viv. Incidentally, as a bit of trivia Maysie is one of only two named reptiles in my collection (she came with a name and I can't find it in my heart to refer to her as "the Neotropical Green Vine Snake"). The other named rep in my collection being Gwangi the Bosc Monitor (anybody get the reference without google?).





And finally a teaser for my current and ongoing project for some of the snakes from the upcoming China import (Cyclophiops major) involving a 48" tall viv and this:







That waterfall is three feet tall by the way! The finished setup features lots of hanging and climbing plants and peace lilies - lots of peace lilies! The flowers are starting to look like an army of triffids in there...

Anyway, hope you enjoyed that! (Wait until you see the Lacerta agilis exigua vivs I'm working on, with honest-to-goodness sandbanks that go right up the back of the viv for them to burrow in... I'm trying to get different species of grass to grow in there, we'll have to see how they turn out!)

Regards,
Francis
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:27 AM
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Nice work - great looking vivs (and reptiles!). What's the maintenance like on the vivs?
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:29 AM
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bet that waterfall cost a bit eh?

Is the idea to have bioactive substrates or are the enclosures too dry to support tropical woodlice and the like?

Fantastic enclosures though! I too have a bit coming from that import, no reptiles, just a group of Hyla chinensis and then a few inverts.

Here's a few photos of the frogs enclosure, a 45x45x60 exo terra. A mixture of fake and real plants. I'd have gone for all real ones, but I have bad luck keeping them alive haha! So half are fake, the idea being if the real ones do grow, I can just pull the fake ones out and give the real ones growing room...I just need to add a few more little bits of decor hanging from that top left corner, though I want to keep a small open area free of foliage.



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Old 25-08-2010, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeffers3 View Post
Nice work - great looking vivs (and reptiles!). What's the maintenance like on the vivs?

Thanks.

Maintenance is easy-peasy - spot clean them as you see mess, stir the soil every week and full clean every six months or so (although some of my more well-planted rainforest vivs housing tropical species have gone for a couple of years without cleaning and are going fine - they only house small species though.

Francis
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:33 AM
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bet that waterfall cost a bit eh?

Is the idea to have bioactive substrates or are the enclosures too dry to support tropical woodlice and the like?

Fantastic enclosures though! I too have a bit coming from that import, no reptiles, just a group of Hyla chinensis and then a few inverts.

Here's a few photos of the frogs enclosure, a 45x45x60 exo terra. A mixture of fake and real plants. I'd have gone for all real ones, but I have bad luck keeping them alive haha! So half are fake, the idea being if the real ones do grow, I can just pull the fake ones out and give the real ones growing room...

image

image
Thanks! And nice vivs!

I've also got some Hyla coming in from China, and I am using a 45x45x60cm Exoterra as well, although I'm considering getting a smaller waterfall in there as they look awesome and I think I might be hooked on them...

The three foot one was a bit dear, but worth it (although it was a bugger to get into the viv - had to dissassemble the front panels to fit it in there and then dissassemble the rear panels to take the three plugs - one for the pump and two for the decorative lights (which look incredibly atmospheric at night!)

Francis
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:33 AM
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these are stunning!
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Thrasops View Post
Thanks! And nice vivs!

I've also got some Hyla coming in from China, and I am using a 45x45x60cm Exoterra as well, although I'm considering getting a smaller waterfall in there as they look awesome and I think I might be hooked on them...

The three foot one was a bit dear, but worth it (although it was a bugger to get into the viv - had to dissassemble the front panels to fit it in there and then dissassemble the rear panels to take the three plugs - one for the pump and two for the decorative lights (which look incredibly atmospheric at night!)

Francis
yeah waterfalls are pretty neat. But I've just gone with a misting every now and then and a large shallow water bowl as coming from temperate forests(well their range seems quite large, but it can include even peoples backyards over there) I'm not aiming for the kind of humidity that a dart frog viv would require and care wise, I have been told to go with a Hyla versicolor care sheet for these guys from another forum.

It's too bad I don't have a lot more room here or I'd branch out to making some cracking vivs for a snake or lizard or two. I have a 2ft viv empty but It's been that way for along time, until I can get my hands on a small group of Stenodactylus geckos. I'm hoping I can get to Doncaster on the 26th and find some CB there(don't have any issue with WC obviously but obviously if CB is around, that's the ideal).

How many Hyla sp are you getting then, all going in that exo I assume?
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Old 25-08-2010, 12:54 AM
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yeah waterfalls are pretty neat. But I've just gone with a misting every now and then and a large shallow water bowl as coming from temperate forests(well their range seems quite large, but it can include even peoples backyards over there) I'm not aiming for the kind of humidity that a dart frog viv would require and care wise, I have been told to go with a Hyla versicolor care sheet for these guys from another forum.

It's too bad I don't have a lot more room here or I'd branch out to making some cracking vivs for a snake or lizard or two. I have a 2ft viv empty but It's been that way for along time, until I can get my hands on a small group of Stenodactylus geckos. I'm hoping I can get to Doncaster on the 26th and find some CB there(don't have any issue with WC obviously but obviously if CB is around, that's the ideal).

How many Hyla sp are you getting then, all going in that exo I assume?
Just three or four pairs of H. chinensis. I would expect them to be identical in care requirements to Hyla arborea, which they resemble very closely (although to be fair H. arborea, chrysocelis/ versicolor and cinerea do very well in the terrarium so I wouldn't expect their care to be particularly difficult). Interestingly, I last saw H. chinensis maybe fifteen years ago in The Serpentarium, I remember they looked exactly like little European tree frogs.

I intend to keep them in a planted temperate woodland set-up with a full-spectrum fluorescent for light and heating and see how it goes. The waterfalls produced by the company I use don't splash and since the exo-terras have mesh lids I doubt they would raise the humidity too much for these. The main problem I have is fitting in some nice branches and live plants, the waterfall takes up half the ground space so I am still in two minds about putting it in.

Stenodactylus are awesome for small desert vivs, I once saw some clustered together on a large, flat sheet of slate in the middle of sand at a pet shop and fell in love there and then. Personally I would mix sand with soil for this species (as I have done in the above piccies) so that they can make burrows that hold their shape.

Francis
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Old 25-08-2010, 01:05 AM
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Hi, after years of having "sterile" vivs for my Leos I now have a more naturalistic viv for my Timon lepidus. Click on pic to enlarge
Naturalistic Vivs for European Reptiles... and teaser-001.jpg
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Old 25-08-2010, 01:12 AM
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Just three or four pairs of H. chinensis. I would expect them to be identical in care requirements to Hyla arborea, which they resemble very closely (although to be fair H. arborea, chrysocelis/ versicolor and cinerea do very well in the terrarium so I wouldn't expect their care to be particularly difficult). Interestingly, I last saw H. chinensis maybe fifteen years ago in The Serpentarium, I remember they looked exactly like little European tree frogs.

I intend to keep them in a planted temperate woodland set-up with a full-spectrum fluorescent for light and heating and see how it goes. The waterfalls produced by the company I use don't splash and since the exo-terras have mesh lids I doubt they would raise the humidity too much for these. The main problem I have is fitting in some nice branches and live plants, the waterfall takes up half the ground space so I am still in two minds about putting it in.

Stenodactylus are awesome for small desert vivs, I once saw some clustered together on a large, flat sheet of slate in the middle of sand at a pet shop and fell in love there and then. Personally I would mix sand with soil for this species (as I have done in the above piccies) so that they can make burrows that hold their shape.

Francis
Francis
I am getting four pairs of Hyla sp. If I feel they are crowded I will seperate four into a new enclosure but I was reassured by many American Hyla sp owners that in the wild they can often be found in quite large numbers in the same small are and their general rule is 10 gallons for 3 frogs, then 3 gallons per frog after that. Converting cm3 into US gallons this exo is 32 gallons, so following their logic that 25 gallons would fit 8 frogs at a minimum, 32 should be ok. I'll make a judgement when they're all here and everything is running. I have a 10.0UVB tube as you might be able to tell in the photos. I haven't got any other heating as my bedroom is very warm year round, 24c as I type, usually 26c in the day, 30c on a really hot day. Their preferred temp range is 21-27c as I understand it, so unless It gets below say 19c in winter, which it didn't last year, I'll probably leave them at room temp.

Yes for the stenos I have been thinking about substrate. Obviously 100% playsand won't hold its shape. My issue is with soil and sand compacted when slightly damp, is that when it dries out it will eventually collapse, but they also like it very dry, can I dampen the substrate, a misting to simulate morning dew, or possibly use a funnel and pour a small amount into the corners, which will help the sand/soil mix keep it's shape? Another idea was to use excavator clay, BUT once hard it's apparently rock solid, so I'd probably need to mould them a tunnel network myself. I could do this for half the enclosure, and use the mixture for the other half, so I have guaranteed tunnels I've made, and room for them to be stimulated with digging in the other half. Either way I have a lot of decor available, mopani wood, cork bark, liana vines, random rocks and such, so plenty of places to hide and all that.

My only query for them is how I heat them. I have been told they do not require UV(though I probably will anyway, I like to simulate a natural environment) and like leopard geckos they absorb heat from their bellies. I may still go with a basking spot lamp though, the idea being it heats up a piece of slate to say a 35-40c surface temp, in the evening that'll still be warm for a little while, as surely it would be in the wild if they are nocturnal?
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