Reptile Habitats

크레스티드게코 Reptiles require a variety of habitat types. Providing a range of ‘hot-spots’ across a site can help them to colonise and sustain populations.


Hedgerows, gardens and allotments provide good habitat for reptiles – wide uncultivated margins, with grass undergrowth, are especially useful. Managing these areas to reduce shading is important.


Reptiles require a habitat with room to explore, thermoregulate and access the necessary microclimates. The plethora of misinformation online can make this seem like a daunting task, but responsible pet owners have moved past old myths and are now offering their reptiles spacious enclosures that allow them to stretch out in comfort.

Some snakes, such as racers, require more space than other breeds to stretch their full length. Similarly, a tortoise needs enough space to lay an egg without touching other surfaces. Fossorial species that create burrows or hide underground also need plenty of room to dig, while climbing and shedding species appreciate plenty of branches to perch on.

Most reptiles are diurnal or nocturnal, meaning they need a natural 12-hour light-and-dark cycle. Most reptiles also need ground-based ambient heat to keep their bodies from overheating. Optimal enclosures have several zones and temperature gradients, and are stackable and expandable to grow with your pet.


There are several lighting and heating options available for reptile habitats, and selecting the right one depends on your pet’s specific needs. Consult books, web guides and your vendor to learn about what conditions your animal will need. Getting the lighting and heating right can prevent health problems, as well as make your reptile more comfortable.

A common type of reptile light is a fluorescent bulb that produces both visual and ultraviolet (UV) rays. These types of lights are sold in pet stores and online, and can help recreate natural sunlight. Be sure to purchase a full-spectrum bulb that contains UVB rays, since these are essential for most reptiles.

There are also heat lamps that emit a lot of heat and not much visual light, such as those used for solitary reptiles or small enclosures. These types of bulbs usually come with adjustable stands that can be used to direct the heat towards an area. It is important that you use the right wattage of bulb for your specific habitat, as putting in too high a wattage can burn out your lamp or make your cage uncomfortably hot.


Reptiles, like all cold-blooded animals, depend on the environment to regulate body temperature. Without fur or feathers to insulate them, they rely on heat sources such as the sun and the elements to warm up, cool down and to regulate their metabolism. As a result, habitat conditions that mimic their natural environment are critical for healthy reptiles.

The ideal temperature is one of the most important aspects of a reptile habitat. Most reptiles do best with a fairly constant temperature between 70 and 85 degrees, and many require a higher basking area. A rheostat or thermostat allows owners to monitor and control the temperature of their reptile habitats easily. A rheostat acts just like a household dimmer switch, so it is easy to adjust the heating device to the desired level for your pet.

In addition to a steady temperature, the humidity of a reptile habitat is also important. Using a hygrometer, you can monitor the relative humidity of your reptile habitat, and use a misting system to add moisture where needed. Many tropical and subtropical species prefer a high humidity, while temperate species can thrive with lower levels.


Providing the proper humidity conditions is essential for your reptile’s health. Incorrect humidity levels can cause respiratory problems, which are fatal for some species.

Incorrect humidity can also lead to bacterial infections. The lungs are the main organ that is affected by incorrect humidity. It can lead to a buildup of toxins in the lungs and cause respiratory failure.

Humidity in reptile habitats can be impacted by many factors, including the weather, the temperature of the room and the location of the enclosure. The best way to measure humidity is with a digital hygrometer. These are relatively inexpensive and can be secured to the inside of your reptile’s cage.

Misting the habitat can help increase humidity but may not be enough for some species. For example, it’s recommended to mist a tropical forest-dwelling boa constrictor cage at least twice per day.

Adding a moist hide and a water dish can also help to boost the humidity in your reptile’s habitat. A cool mist fogger can be used for a few minutes at dawn and dusk to provide a natural humidifier for your pet.


The bedding material you use in your reptile habitat provides grip, absorbs waste and helps with maintaining a dry or humid environment. Reptile substrates come in a variety of different forms and each one has pros and cons.

A paper product such as shredded newspaper or unprinted newsprint is an inexpensive, easily cleaned option for terrestrial reptiles. It’s also a good choice for sand-based desert reptile habitats because it reduces the risk of sand ingestion. However, it doesn’t look very natural in a terrarium.

Other popular options for reptile habitats are sand, garden soil, peat moss and various wood shavings (avoid cedar, which is toxic). Soil is particularly suitable for burrowing species. The type of material you choose depends on the climate where your reptile originates from and the humidity level it needs to thrive.

Most reptiles need two types of heat in their terrariums: ambient heat that raises the overall temperature and digestive heat for thermo-regulation. To provide your scaly pal with these conditions, set up a heat lamp or ceramic heating element over the cooler end of the habitat and place a hygrometer on the warmer side.