Hygiene in the Terrarium

In order for the animals to stay healthy, hygiene in the terrarium is extremely important. Not everything that is harmless to humans is also harmless to reptiles and amphibians. Therefore, this entry provides the most important information about hygiene in the terrarium.

General information on hygiene in the terrarium

Oftentimes, mites appear sooner or later in the terrarium of many terrarium owners. These first settle the facility and then work on the residents. Once the parasites are there, removing them can be tedious and arduous. It is – once you know how – really easy to maintain a certain level of hygiene in the terrarium.

Unlike in the wild, animals cannot move around in the terrarium if something does not please them. You have no way of avoiding germs and thus protecting yourself. For this reason, you have to make sure from the beginning that there is nothing in the terrarium that the animals would have to avoid. The terrarium should be set up as naturally and appropriately as possible – for the benefit of the animals. This also includes keeping the interior clean. In this way, diseases, parasite infestation, or the spread of germs are prevented in advance.

Correct terrarium hygiene, therefore, plays an important role, because it describes all measures that contribute to keeping the animals healthy. In addition to this aspect, good hygiene also helps ensure that the terrarium does not become a source of unpleasant odors.

Daily cleaning

As the owner of the terrarium, you are responsible for ensuring that the terrarium and everything in it are always clean and sterile. This directly reduces the spread of bacteria to a small extent. We now want to enumerate which maintenance work occurs when and how often it has to be done.

The daily maintenance work includes removing feces and urine. The easiest way to remove fresh excretions is with kitchen paper. You can remove dry manure with a substrate shovel or – if it has dried on a stone, for example – with water and a cloth. In addition, feeding and drinking bowls should be rinsed out with hot water every day before being filled. Last but not least, the removal of feed animals or their remains is on the agenda. Incidentally, this also applies to skin remnants from your own animals when they are moulting. The best way to do this is with tweezers.

More work

The weekly chores include, for example, cleaning glass panes and sliding doors. Depending on what kind of animal you keep in a terrarium, the windows have to be cleaned more often – otherwise you can no longer see inside. Limescale residues or other dirt can be easily loosened with the help of a steam cleaner and then removed. This also applies to soiled furnishings, which should also be cleaned with hot water. The same applies to the tools you work within and around the terrarium.

Now we come to a cleaning interval that is causing discussion among many terrarium keepers. Advisors recommend emptying the entire terrarium completely once a year and carefully cleaning and disinfecting all individual components. This also includes completely renewing the substrate. However, there are also terrarium owners who have not cleaned the terrarium completely for years and who do not consider this to be necessary. Your assessment is required here, but we definitely recommend such an annual thorough cleaning.

Incidentally, if you do not only work with hot water when cleaning, you must make sure that the cleaning agents are suitable. This means that they have to be food-safe and have neither corrosive effects nor toxic chemicals. The best thing to do here is to use special terrarium cleaners that definitely cannot harm your animals.

Additional information

First, you should make sure that you never forget your own hands when cleaning and disinfecting: Germs and bacteria lurk on our hands, which are harmless to us but can cause damage in the terrarium. So before you do even the smallest work in the terrarium, you should clean your hands with gentle disinfectants.

Appropriate ventilation is also important: while drafts can cause colds or coughs, stagnant, musty air can lead to serious illnesses. Therefore, pay attention to a healthy mean between adequate ventilation and avoidance of drafts.

It is best to have the individual tools more often so that you can use separate devices for each terrarium. So every terrarium has its own tweezers, food tongs, and scissors. This will prevent germs or parasites from spreading across multiple terrariums. Finally, one more piece of advice: never feed uneaten food animals in another terrarium: this way, you could also spread harmful germs to other terrariums.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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