Before taking an exotic pet into your home there are many points you need to consider, as they need specific food, a specialized habitat and special care if they are to survive.

Reptiles, for example, are ectothermic creatures and they rely on their environment to control their body temperature, needing both warmth and cool zones within their Vivarium.

When setting up your Vivarium you should consider the natural environment, your reptile would live in if it were wild, and try to duplicate this eco-system. While different reptiles require different sources of heat and light, here are some basic steps of setting up your Vivarium.

Step 1 – The Vivarium

Always purchase the largest Vivarium you can afford, and that you have space for.  Even smaller reptiles need plenty of space to grow and climb, and if you invest right from the start, you will not have to upgrade in later years.

Step 2 – Positioning your Vivarium

Ideally, you should raise your Vivarium off the ground using one of the many cabinets available. Ensure it is way from draughts and direct sunlight, and in a secure area where it will not be knocked over or bumped into.

Step 3 – Heating your Vivarium

Heat bulbs, mats and rocks can all be used to provide warmth, ask your exotic pet specialist which heating source they would recommend for your particular reptile, and install at one end of the Vivarium only.

Control the temperature within your Vivarium with a suitable thermostat, as overheating could be seriously detrimental the the health of your pet.

Step 4 – Lighting your Vivarium

Lighting is another vital piece of equipment that you will need for your Vivarium.  Again, the light you need depends on the particular exotic pet you own, so ask your specialist for advice.

While many reptiles are nocturnal and do not need UVB light, others, such as desert reptiles need plenty to help produce vitamin D3 and absorb calcium, so getting the right balance is extremely important.

You can also create a day/night cycle using artificial UVB lights within your Vivarium when necessary.

Step 5 – Substrates & Decoration

Line your Vivarium with the correct substrates for your particular reptile, such as desert sand, calcium sand or a moist substrate.

Interior decoration not only makes your Vivarium look good, it also has a purpose.  Climbing materials, hiding areas and plants are vital to the well being of your reptile, and should be chosen with expert advice so as not to provide anything that could be harmful.

Always speak to the professionals before taking on one of these beautiful creatures, and provide them with the very best living environment you can.