Whats a Vivarium
The term vivarium is used for any enclosure housing reptiles, sometimes they are reffered to as terrariums. However most people when referring to a terrarium mean a glass enclosure capable of holding amphibians or reptiles and a Vivarium as a wooden enclosure for holding reptiles such as lizards and snakes.
There are key elements required for creating a vivarium or terrarium, these key elements are defined by what species of reptile or amphibian you intend to house in the enclosure as they must match the creatures enviromental needs.
Lets look at these elements in turn..
The enclosure, Aquatic and semi aquatic creatures such as amphibians (fire belly toads, whites tree frogs, dart frogs etc) will almost definately need a glass enclosure. Glass will not rot under high humidity conditions like a wooden enclosure eventually will. Most lizards and snakes are suited to a wooden vivarium, however attention needs to be paid to wether your reptile is an arboreal (tree dwelling) species or a ground dweller. Arboreal species require housing that is taller than standard vivariums and a range of arboreal vivariums have been developed to meet this need.
Heating, only a few exotic reptile species are capable of existing at room temperatures most therefore require some form of heating system, more can be found about reptile heating in our heating guide section.
Lighting, Day active reptiles such as lizards, snakes, turtles and tortoises. require specialised UVB lighting to maintain their health, more can be read about reptile lighting in our lighting guides section.
Decor, easily overlooked but one of the most important elements of the vivarium, Under new legislation (the animal welfare act) you must provide stimulus to allow natural behaviour. This means if you have an arboreal lizard or snake you must provide branches for it to climb, if it requires plants and vines to feel secure then these must be provided. Similarly if your pet reptile spends its days naturally hiding away in caves then you must provide caves and shelters for them to hide away in.