Sterilite Reptile Enclosuresby Richard Brooks
One of the obstacles that reptile enthusiasts face is space and housing when dealing with reptiles. Often times, we find ourselves searching for space to put "just one more" reptile.
When we think of reptile housing or enclosures, most enthusiasts overlook the fact that we can use ordinary Sterlite containers for housing our reptiles.
With some slight modifications, Sterlite containers can become VERY adequate housing units, as well as space savers.
This tutorial will help explain the simplicity behind converting an ordinary Sterlite container into a suitable enclosure for your reptile.
The first thing you need to do is determine the size of Sterilite container that you need. Each species of reptile, as you are aware, has different requirements. You want to base your decision on the species you plan on housing in this type of enclosure.
Species that are terrestrial won't require a tall container whereas arboreal reptiles will. You also want to take into consideration the amount of "floor" space that the reptile will have. Terrestrial reptiles will benefit from long, wide containers and arboreal species will benefit from tall, shorter containers.
Also make sure that you inspect any potential enclosures. Varying models have "holes" built into them. Be certain to check the "handles" that many of the storage containers have. Several designs are hollowed out beneath the handles and this would prove to be an easy escape route for your reptile.
Also consider if you want to use a clear style, or a solid style container.
Solid containers that are not transparent are ideal for reptiles that are easily stressed. The dark sides will help give them a feeling of security. (Instructions for adding a window can be found below.)
Clear containers offer an unobstructed view of your reptile and its behaviors throughout the day without having to modify the container.
Whichever style you choose, do so based on your reptile and its needs and not your own personal preference.
For this tutorial, we will be creating a Leopard Gecko Enclosure. All of the "ideas" and "techniques" used in this article can be adapted to whatever size container you decide to use.
Sterilite Enclosure Supplies
Sterilite Enclosure Construction
- 27 Quart Sterilite Container with Cover
- Razor Knife
- Drill with bit (optional)
- Spare Screen and frame from OLD window (optional)
- Moist Hide
- (2) Normal Hides
- Food Dish
- Water Dish
- Calcium Dish
When using a clear Sterilite like the one below, the only true modifications that need to be made are to the cover of the unit. The following directions will explain how to add the simplest modifications to this cover in order for it to allow air circulation so that the residents can breathe.
In order to keep things uniformed, and so the unit looks nicer, I prefer to use a pattern for where my vents will be placed. For this cover, I used a black cover from a Repcal Iguana Food container. You can use whatever you like, or you can choose to use no pattern at all.
The first thing I did was lay the pattern on the cover and outline it with a pencil leaving me a clear picture of what to follow as I drill. Examples are below.
After having traced the pattern as depicted above, I proceeded to use the drill with an 3/32 inch bit and "outlined" my patterned with a series of drilled holes. As I went around the circle, I also in filled it with drilled holes as well.
If you don't have a drill, you can use a nail or your razor knife to create these air openings. Use caution and make sure not to injure yourself.
This is what I ended up with:
Add your decorations now to the container, and it would be complete!
Heating Sterilite Enclosures
Heating these units is very simple. A normal household heating pad can be set under 1/3 of this container. This will provide ample heat for the leopard geckos, and it also allows you to set 2 of these units side by side with one heating element.
You will need to adjust how warm the heating pad is by using a digital thermometer to regulate the temperatures. Once you are satisfied with the temperatures, add your hides, dishes, and Leo!
If you wish to offer additional air flow, attach lighting, or use some sort of overhead heating system, you may prefer to have a screen cover opposed to drilled holes.
Directions for creating Sterilite Enclosure Screen Covers
can be found here: Sterilite Reptile Enclosure Screen Covers
Here is an enclosutre that utilises a screen cover.