Every terrarium professional started out small. Before you, as a beginner in a terrarium hobby, can develop a certain routine, you first need the necessary basic knowledge. To make it easier for you to get started in the world of terrariums, we have collected a few tips for beginners in terraristics.
General information for beginners in terraristics
With every pet – whether mouse, chameleon, ferret, or guppy – you have to think in advance whether a purchase is a right thing in the long term. Because it’s not just about costs and effort. After all, the animal suffers if the owner no longer feels like it after two years and neglects it or passes it on. That is why it is important to find out more before buying – e.g. from breeders, in online forums, or in specialist literature. Only then can you decide whether you want to become a keeper of a terrarium animal.
There are a number of considerations in terraristics that you should make before purchasing. First of all, there is the question: Why do I want a terrarium? Because reptiles can sometimes have a lifespan of several decades. The decision should be made out of interest and fascination with these animals. A terrarium is not intended as a fashion phenomenon or to impress visitors. In addition, if you are renting a house, you should clarify beforehand whether your landlord agrees to keep reptiles at all.
Before the purchase
Once you have worked through these points, you may be sure by now that you want to buy a terrarium. Now let’s get down to the details. First of all, you have to be aware of what kind of animal you want: a lizard, a snake or something more like a scorpion or a spider? If you have decided in this regard, you should find out which species are also suitable for beginners in terrariums – by the way, poisonous animals are absolutely taboo for beginners. The risk of injury is just too great. Now you can narrow down the group of potential animals further by asking yourself what you can offer the animal at all: space, costs incurred, desired physical contact. All of these questions continue to limit the number of possible pets. Finally, you should commit to one animal so that you can find out more about that species in particular.
Then – long before the actual purchase – you should deal with the terrarium because it should be specially tailored to the needs of the desired animal. You should seek extensive advice from specialist retailers, especially when it comes to technical equipment such as light and humidity so that the animal will find exactly the conditions that it likes best afterward.
Once everything has to do with the terrarium, there are further considerations: You should decide whether you want to feed frozen or live food and see where you can get the appropriate food animals. In addition, you should familiarize yourself with suitable veterinarians in advance. Because not all veterinarians are sufficiently familiar with these animals. In an emergency, however, you should know exactly where to find a competent veterinarian in your area. In addition, you should always know someone in your family or friends who can look after your pet when you are on vacation or sick.
Now finally comes the most exciting point where the extensive preparation pays off: It’s finally time to choose the animal. But where do you go? Above all, a breeder is a good choice, because he has good specialist knowledge and can be specifically approached if you have any questions or problems. In addition, many breeders document everything relating to their animals in great detail, which can only be an advantage for you when buying. You can also buy healthy animals in well-run reptile shops. Here you should make sure that you find competent employees there and that you also have a good feeling about the shop and the animals.
The choice of the animal
When you have found your dream animal, there are a few things you should consider. Even as a beginner in a terrarium hobby, you can judge whether an animal is healthy. At first glance, you can see what the nutritional status of the animal is. It shouldn’t be too thick or too thin. In addition, you should pay attention to whether the animal has injuries or deformities and, in the case of the worst, speak to the owner of the animal about it. You should also clarify whether the animal is free of moulting residues and whether the mouth is completely closed.
On the other hand, you have to take a closer look if you want to assess whether the nostrils and eyes are free and clean and whether breathing is calm and even. If one of these last points is incorrect, the animal may have a cold or, for example, suffer from pneumonia. The last point, which should actually be taken for granted, is that the animal is parasite-free: Take a close look here! Small black dots could be mites.
After the purchase
Once you have finally acquired your dream animal, the first thing to do is to transport it. A basic rule is that a fed animal should only rest for 3 days before it can be transported. This has to do with the transport stress and the immune system that is then vulnerable. The transport container must also be right. Faunaboxes or special snake bags for snakes are particularly suitable for this. In the case of cardboard boxes (it is essential to line them with Styrofoam) or Styrofoam boxes, it is important that the animal cannot injure itself inside, i.e., among other things, that the air holes are pierced from the inside out. During transport, it is important that the animal is not exposed to excessive temperature fluctuations. Styrofoam boxes are also suitable for insulation here. It is roughly said that the temperatures for reptile transport should be between 5 and 20 degrees.
When you have made your way home, you can carefully place the animal in the terrarium. This should have done a test run for at least a week before the animal moves in to find out whether the values of temperature and humidity are stable: measure several times during the test run. When the animal is there, you are certainly very excited and would like to spend the whole day with your new protégé. But now restraint is required. The animal needs rest, especially in the first week, to get used to the environment. Because it is still under stress and is also more prone to disease, you should not feed for the first time until after five to seven days. Don’t worry, reptiles can do without food longer than we can.