Reptiles enclosures seem to be a simple thing. You just buy a reptile aquarium or cage and you are done. If it were only this simple, but it is not. You must match your reptiles to the proper enclosure for the best success.
Reptiles are one of the most diverse creatures on the planet. Depending on the species they can live in the water their entire life, or may be in the hottest driest portions of a desert. Reptiles can come in the long slithering shape of a snake, the hard shelled rounded body of a turtle, or the tiny legged shape of a small lizard. All of them have their own needs, and you must match the species to their captive environment.
One of the most common reptiles enclosures is the reptile aquarium. They are great for smaller lizards, turtles, and snakes who only need limited space. They allow for easy control of humidity and temperature using spray bottles, lamps, and under tank heaters. They are the most common starting point for most new reptile owners.
The next step up in reptile enclosures is the terrarium. These are very similar to a reptile aquarium but normally stretch higher and are designed to enhance the growth of plant life to help support your reptiles environment. Terrariums are designed to give you higher levels of control over the humidity levels and temperature. They can create near rain forest conditions, or with proper adjustments desert like conditions.
For large reptiles your reptile enclosures are almost certain to move into cages. Reptile cages can be built much larger, allow for potted plants, while still containing your reptiles. The cage allows more freely moving air, but this makes it more difficult to control humidity and temperature. Often when you move to a cage you are going to be adjusting the entire rooms conditions, not just the cage. Large snakes, Iguanas, and Monitor lizards require the extra room of reptile cages.
If you are raising one or more iguanas you may eventually do what many owners have done. You may turn an entire room into your iguana enclosure. Iguanas require massive amounts of room for climbing and moving about.
The other big factor you must take into consideration in your reptile enclosures is the direction of movement of your reptiles. Many reptiles move about the bottom of the enclosure, while others require climbing room. Make sure you get a tall enclosure for your climbing reptiles and outfit it with branches, trees, and other vegetation to allow your reptiles to climb.
For reptiles requiring water, like aquatic turtles, your reptile enclosures take another complete turn. They must provide vast amounts of water for swimming while still giving them adequate rock surfaces, or logs, for climbing out to bask in the light.
Reptile enclosures are not hard to choose, you simply must pay attention to the needs of your pets and choose appropriately. You may pay a little more for the perfect enclosure, but the savings in maintaining a healthy pet is worth every penny.