DIY Snake Cage: Part 3. Final Stretch!
Scroll to the bottom for a material list with prices.
DIY SNAKE CAGE: PART 3
STEP ZERO: LET ME EXPLAIN
Okay, let me explain! The reason I have a step zero is because I went ahead and did a few things without filming myself. The picture below shows what those particular items were.
- Installed a short strip of LED lights
- Stained the oak runner board
- Bolted on the radiant heat panel
- I fed the light/RHP cords through a vent hole (second picture below)
STEP ONE: GLASS TIME
This was definitely the most rewarding part of the entire process (besides introducing the snakes to their new enclosures)! Installing the glass really pulled the entire project together. Before I get to the actual glass, lets talk about the tracks.
I ordered the glass and the tracks from the same local glass shop in my city. The picture below shows what the tracks look like.
Below is a picture of extremely clear glass… so basically its a picture of nothing! The only downside of glass was the expense. Here is the actual order description the company gave me:
- 4 lites (sheets) of 5mm clear tempered glass @ 23 5/8” x 16 5/8”, complete with polished heights, minimum widths and “touched” corners to allow for easy sliding
- 2 Pieces of top track @ 45 ¼” & 2 pieces of bottom track @ 45 ¼” (cut to size)
- Note: To fit a cabinet opening of 45 ¼” x 17 3/16”, complete with 2” overlap in the middle. Deductions have been made on height to accommodate the track. $287.00+taxes
The actual glass was about $200.00, which really wasn’t bad i.e. $50.00/sheet. But after paying for the tracks and service fees (polishing etc.), it added up to something higher than I was initially looking to spend.
I took a few days to pull the trigger on the order, but eventually I just realized the glass NEEDS to be done right. It is not an item you want to cheap out on. The company that did it was great as well, I essentially gave them the size of the hole and they did all the calculations to make sure the glass would fit (certain precise, dedications need to be made to ensure the glass can be removed from the track after installation).
I also recommend tempered glass if you plan to build something similar. It is so much strong and so much safer than traditional plate glass.
Okay, back to the build!
I used the product, No More Nails Adhesive to glue the tracks down to the cabinet. At first I thought it would be a good idea to reinforce the tracks with small screws after I glued them down. I do not recommend doing that! To make a long story short, the screw I used got jammed, stripped and then I had no way to remove it. Luckily it didn’t impact the glass sliding through the track.
In summary… a liberal amount of No More Nails Adhesive is more than strong enough to get the job done!
Once the rail was coated in glue, I pressed it in place and weighed it down for 20 minutes or so. After 20 minutes, it was rock solid. I am amazed at how well that glue holds!
Of course, I then glued and compressed the bottom track too.
STEP TWO: SET UP
And voila, glass is installed! The next thing I did was run a 24 hour, heat/ humidity test. It is very important to do this when you set up a new enclosure!
It is so tempting to throw an animal in as soon as the enclosure is finished but patience is very important here. You need to ensure the enclosure is safe for the animal first.
Setting up the enclosure:
- Tape heat mats to bottom of each enclosure
- Hook up thermostats and probes
- Plug in radiant heat panels (set on timer, on at 7am, off at 10pm)
- Plug in lights (set on timer, on at 9am, off at 8pm)
- Place large water bowel in enclosure
- Add thermometers and hygrometers
- Sit back and wait!
The most important thing was properly calibrating the thermostats. When keeping boas, you are generally looking for a 90°F hot spot on the inside of the enclosure. Although, my thermostats need to be set for much hotter. Reason being, is the mats are taped underneath the enclosure, meaning the heat has to penetrate through the melamine (3\4″ and the vinyl floor).
The thermostat probe is sandwiched between the heat mat and the bottom of the enclosure which means it is exposed to much warmer temperatures than the inside of the enclosure gets to. Both my thermostats had to be set to roughly 98-100°F to achieve an ideal hot spot on the inside of the enclosure.
After 24 hours of testing my metrics were as follows:
- Hot Side Ambient: 81°F
- Cold Side Ambient: 76°F
- Hot Spot: 88-91°F
- Humidity: 60%
Everything looked great! Although I did end up bumping the humidity of the reptile room up so I could increase the enclosure humidity to about 75%.
STEP FOUR: DECOR, RELEASE THE BOAS!
Now that I was confident that I had balanced and ideal parameters inside the enclosure, it was time to officially set them up!
I set a hide up on each side, through a layer of coconut husk down and set up some driftwood that I had found (and treated) a few weeks back. I also threw in some Exo-Terra foliage for some ground cover.
Time to introduce the homeowners! Here is Winston taking he first “steps” into his new home. Winston is 50% Colombian/ 50% Sonoran Desert, and since he is a male, I am thinking a 4′ enclosure might be large enough to be his forever home. Or at least his home for many years still!
And here is my second boa, Whip checking out her new place. She is full Colombian, so this will only be her home for the next few years likely.
DIY SNAKE CAGE: PART 3
MATERIAL LIST (appropriate prices, in Canadian dollars), keep in mind I built TWO enclosures so this is the list of materials I used to do both.
- No More Nails (see Part 1)
- Glass and plastic tracking= $300
- 4 LED Light Bar – Cool White Under Cabinet Led= I paid $35 (click link for current price)
- Vivarium Vents= I paid $10.00 (click link for current price)
TOTAL COST BREAKDOWN OF DIY SNAKE CAGE PROJECT:
PART ONE: $101.50
PART TWO: $60.00
PART THREE: $345.00
TOTAL COST: $506.50 (~$255.00 per enclosure)
Not Bad considering a PVC cage of similar height (with lighting and heat) would have been closer to $350-$400 EACH before taxes and shipping (Canadian dollars)!
We are DONE the DIY SNAKE CAGE Project!! Thank you very much for reading along/ watching the videos I have made. Also, once I receive my cabinet locks and finger pulls for the glass, I plan doing a quick update so stay tuned for that!
If you have any questions please add them in the comments or contact me directly, using the subject line “DIY Snake Cage”