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Thread: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

  1. #1
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    How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    This 20 gallon long setup was designed by yours truly for baby garter snakes, and to look natural (makes a nice display) while providing an ideal habitat for their needs, all while being inexpensive and easy to maintain.

    First I filled the tank with about an inch of reptibark/coconut fiber mixture, some dried loose moss, and added 3 cave hides (used, cheap, from craigslist) lined up from one end to the other (cool side to warm side)


    Then, I used a chunk of knotty mopani wood ($10) and added a dollar store plant to it by poking it though one of the holes and tying it off so it's secure.


    Since mopani wood is extremely dense and heavy like stone, I was able to stack it on top of the caves in a stable way without fear of being toppled (very important) by small snakes. It's odd shape provides pockets under it, on top of the caves for snakes to hide in. Again, this wood is very heavy so the snakes can't move it and get crushed. Be careful of that. I arranged it in such a way as to keep the plastic plants on the cool end. You don't want heat melting or softening them.
    Last edited by ConcinusMan; 01-19-2011 at 07:31 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    I added a few more dollar store plants to give it a lush look and make the snakes feel safe. I made sure I left room on the left (cool end) for a shallow water dish and enough clear space on the right (basking end) so that plastic plants won't get heated. The fern provides a way to block light from the basking area to provide shade for the other end.


    I opted for using real snakes to inhabit this setup since real snakes are much more interesting than fake ones. I could sit for hours looking at this setup and watching the snakes go about their business.

    More details about lighting and heating, and footage of the snakes enjoying their completed setup are in this video:


    That tank is one part of this stacked setup. I also did a bigger version of this in a 55 gallon long, but I added a large climbing branch and cardboard tubes because the snakes in that tank are very big and they love to hide in the tubes. As you can see, a smaller version in a 10 gallon was also done.


  3. #3
    T. radix Ranch guidofatherof5's Avatar
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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    Nice looking setup.
    Thanks for posting.
    Steve
    5 awesome kids!
    Emmy, Kale, Molly, Gabby, Hailee
    They are not just snakes. They're garter snakes.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/thamnophis14?feature=mhee

  4. #4
    The red side of life. zooplan's Avatar
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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    good website on your computer

    but of course I like the set up too
    Allready waiting for the sommer
    best wishes bis bald Udo
    Breeding Redsides EGSA-Chairman

  5. #5
    Domos Ophiusa gregmonsta's Avatar
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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    That'll do the job a happy place for happy snakes - nice guide.
    Keeping - 'Florida blue' sirtalis, concinnus, infernalis, parietalis, radix, marcianus and ocellatus.

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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    I think it would look even better with a background.. maybe sculpted foam or cork bark.

  7. #7
    Dutch, bold and Thamnophis-crazy Thamnophis's Avatar
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    Cool Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    Nice setup, Richard. Indeed, when you put something on the back- and side-windows, it even looks better.
    Even when you only paint it it looks better.

    Look at these three terrariums. I only painted the sides and back in one color and it already looks great (I think ).

    EasternGirl, snakehill and Natrix like this.
    It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner. Frank Zappa

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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    Yeah, a backdrop (anything but a clear glass back) not only looks better, but it helps your garters feel safer since they can only be approached from one side. I think your setup would look great if you placed natural cork tiles on the back and sides. A cheaper alternative is to use sculpted painted foam made to look like rock or wood. You can also glue loose moss or moss sheets to the back and sides. Using sheets of board cut to fit will allow for easy removal for cleaning.

    In my first post, I should have noted that you never want to place the cave hides or any heavy object on top of the substrate. They should be sitting directly on the bottom. Placing them on top of the substrate runs a risk of snakes burrowing under them and getting crushed or pinned when the objects shift. You can place the substrate in first, but I sort of wiggled the caves down into it until they came in contact with the glass bottom.

  9. #9
    Dutch, bold and Thamnophis-crazy Thamnophis's Avatar
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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    Next winter, when the snakes are in the refrigerator, I'm going to put something else on the sides and back. Still thinking what I'm going to use.
    I have a big terrarium in my living room that looks like this... Was a lot of work! Made with PUR and cement.

    Total view



    Leftside



    Rightside



    Central side

    It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner. Frank Zappa

  10. #10
    T. radix Ranch guidofatherof5's Avatar
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    Re: How to design a Naturalistic viv for garters

    Great looking enclosures.
    Steve
    5 awesome kids!
    Emmy, Kale, Molly, Gabby, Hailee
    They are not just snakes. They're garter snakes.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/thamnophis14?feature=mhee

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