You can forego shopping for a reptile cage and make your own when you have the tools, equipment, and skill to do it. You may need to build your cage if your pet is big, as giant captive reptiles have relatively little commercial options. Choose a basic design and build wood, plastic, glass, or screen from scratch or repurpose another object into an appropriate reptile space.
Screen or Mesh Cages
In aquaria or solid walled cages of any kind, most popular reptile species will not thrive; they will require a sufficient airflow from a screen or mesh-walled environment.Build a rectangular frame with a level door to create a suitable enclosure, and add the screens / mesh on four sides, the door and the top. Use a panel made of plastic or wood for the base. Do not use cedars for reptiles.
Soft nylon mesh is appropriate, even if it can snag the toenails of your lizard. Plastic-coated cloth of quarter-inch is preferred. Strategically place heating and lighting equipment to enable your pet to bask and increase the body temperature.
Plastic or Wooden Cages
A plain rectangular box, fitted with a transparent hinged door makes an excellent cage for reptiles. You may evade having to build a frame for all bigger cages by using half or three-quarter-inch hardwood or plastic panels in the design of the enclosure. Hinged doors are easy to make, but if you buy and install a pair of tracks on the ceiling and floor of the cage, you can install sliding doors. To keep the doors safe, use jewelry case locks.
Acrylic or Glass Boxes
You can create a four-wall aquarium enclosure and a glass or acrylic panel’s base. Due to the importance of straight, precise cuts, buy precut panels unless you have some experience with these materials. Commercial aquariums usually have no frames; panels stick to each other directly. You can, however, construct a wooden, metal or durable plastic framework and append the panels if you like. Use suitable Silicone glue to seal the edges and let it cure before using the habitat when you attach glass to glass or acrylic to acrylic.
Build a frame and connect a piece of mesh to make a lid. Make the frame big enough to glide over the aquarium top. Custom aquarium locking mechanisms may be complicated but Velcro adhesive straps are often sufficient for containing small reptiles.
Dimensions and Layout
The cage should let the animal act as it does in the wild. For example, Chlamydosaurus kingii (frilled dragons) who spend most of their time on vertical tree trunks, need vertical cages. Blood pythons, on the other hand, spend their lives in the wood and require enclosures that are positioned horizontally.
Your pet’s cage must be large enough to allow for sufficient exercises, adequate mental stimulation, and the creation of heat, light, and moisture gradients. While space requirements for various species vary significantly, small reptiles, including gecko lizards and garter snakes, need 2-6 square feet. Median reptiles, like Python Regius and Tiliqua Sapp (blue-tongued skinks), need a cage of 6 to 8 square feet. Small, yet active, species like Pogona vitticeps (bearded dragons) and Russian tortoises need 8 to 32 square feet of space.