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My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
05-05-2012, 11:22 AM,
#1
Fishbone Offline
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My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
There is a good amount of curiosity as to how I house multiple snakes. The most common method used is called a "rack". Simply put, a rack is some type of heated shelving type, that contains some type of tub. There are various commercial made rack systems made to do just this, typically sized for certain model tubs, and meant so the tubs can be used without lids, the next shelf being sized to cover each tub. Here is a link to Animal plastics, a good quality rack and cage maker to see a few common options. They are made all kinds of ways, with different sizes and heating options.

I don't like housing adults of any species in racks, as they have very little height in most cases. There are allot of smaller rack companies that will make racks to your size specifications, but then it can start to get very costly. So I opted to build my own. After some research I purchased a heavy duty outdoor shelving unit, 4'W x 2'D x 6'H. I enclosed it in melamine. I purchased to sheets which come in a standard size of 4' x 8'. I cut them to fit, one for the back pannel, and one to cover both sides. I used 3 strips of 11" flwxxwatt heat tape, wired and plugged into a thermostat. Here are a couple of shots of the finished product.

[Image: IMG_20120504_164159.jpg]

[Image: IMG_20120504_164251.jpg]

The way I did this, and the tubs I am using, provide me with options as to the actual temperature in each tub. I use Really Useful Boxes, I love them. I use dry erase markers to note things on the tubs, until I get them to a permanent record. Left to right, top to bottom, the inhabitants (and junk) are:

Top shelf: various extra containers, water bottle, and feeder insects. On the right side are my adult leopard geckos, a high yellow male, A bell albino female, and a midnight blizzard female.

Next shelf down: The angry twins. Kali, a 75% jungle/25%coastal carpet intergrade female, then her brother Indra, a 75% jungle/25% coastal jaguar carpet intergrade. Beside them, and pushed all the way back against the heat, is a tub with multiple containers of leopard gecko eggs.

Next shelf down: Dulcinea, a caramel jaguar coastal carpet python. Then Coriander, a caramel coastal carpet. Then Saffron, a jungle carpet python.

All of those, except the geckos, are in 32 litre Really Useful Boxes.

Next shelf down: Tyanna, a coastal carpet python intergrade, of unknown exact lineage. I know she has some coastal in her, & I think some Irian Jaya, and maybe some jungle. Then two small containers with the first two baby geckos of the year. Then an extra bag of HatchRite. Then there is Monty, A Suriname red tail boa.

Next shelf down, the arboreals: Ironic I know, but this she is a solid couple of degrees cooler. Eos, a green tree python, Biak x Aru cross, in a 50 qt rubbermaid roughneck. Ruby, a very young Northern (Suriname) emerald tree boa, in a 9 litre RUB. And Nova, a young green tree python, a Lereh x Jayapura cross.

Here is a shot of what it looks like inside the shelving without tubs.

[Image: IMG_20120504_164455.jpg]

And the only real pic I have from building the thing, this is the piece of melamine that is on the back, 6' x 4', after wiring and attaching the heat tape. With a cat being very nosy as to what was going on. And before you ask, yes, we used a rolling pin to smooth the heat tape down. Smile

[Image: IMG_20120226_224851.jpg]

And some pics inside a few tubs...

This is monty...

[Image: IMG_20120503_140259.jpg]

This is Eos...

[Image: IMG_20120503_134831.jpg]

And this is Nova...

[Image: IMG_20120503_134411.jpg]

So that is a quick run through of my rack system and tubs. Thanks for looking!
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05-05-2012, 12:22 PM,
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Thor Online
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
Looking nice. Are you sure you aren't running a pet store? Big Grin Or at least a reptile store.

Being home made, it must have saved a lot of cost, right?

In those photos with tree leaves, are they real leaves or plastic?

In the photo with Nova, am I seeing two chopsticks?

All your snakes seem to be educated, because they enjoy reading newspaper.

Thanks for sharing!

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05-05-2012, 01:09 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-05-2012, 01:14 PM by Fishbone.)
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Fishbone Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
They are very educated, they seem to have me trained. Smile

I am pretty big on value, and I always look for the cheapest way to do things without sacrificing anything the animals need. That rack cost $80 for the shelf, $35 each for two melamine sheets, the flexwatt, wiring supplies, and electrical wiring were around $75, $8 for the foil tape. So less than $250 to keep up to 15 containers. 10 32 litres & 5 64 litres.

They do look like chopsticks, don't they Big Grin I had to modify one of my standard 32 litre boxes, which most have two PVC perches like this:

[Image: IMG_20120504_224944.jpg]

They were a little to wide in diameter for that little one. You want a perch they can get a good grip around, a good tail wrap for them to be secure, else they can stress easy. be reluctant to feed, etc... So I added two smaller perches crossed in there. They are actually the rods from two finished wooden coat hangers that somehow ended up in my house from a hotel. I shan't deny it, I proudly utilize junk. As long as it safely serves its purpose and is healthy for the animal.

Newspaper is the same theory. If you have a display tank or cage, it certainly doesn't look as nice, but it is effective, easy to clean, for arboreal species in need of more humidity it can hold enough moisture for a day, & it's cheap for raising snakes. All of my tanks have either coconut fiber, fir bark (sold as orchid bark at home depot, and repti-bark and other things at pet stores for a greatly increased fee), or vinyl flooring.

Not a pet store yet Smile I'd be lying if I said the idea hasn't crossed my mind. I'll probably just sell at shows and online.
Sorry, the plants are silk mostly, some plastic. Once again, very expensive in the pet store, so I started buying them at Michael's and Jo-Ann's fabrics. Then I went even cheaper and found a guy at the flea market who sells large bunches of the stuff for $2.00 that cost $10 - $15 at the craft stores. I really purchase most of the things for my animals at Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and the flea market. I need to write a book on how to care for reptiles on 1/4 of the money.
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05-06-2012, 03:32 AM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
I wish I have your level of skills for DIY. It is not really just for saving some money, but rather it is a part of the fun for the hobby.

Shopping around is all I can do for now for finding the best deals.

I agree, you should definitely write more guides for pet reptile care. Start one pet store but specialized in reptile is a good idea for an advanced reptile owner. Have a hobby as your job is a great thing!
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05-06-2012, 02:41 PM,
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Fishbone Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
I'm moderately handy. I'm not adding any rooms to the house Big Grin
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05-06-2012, 10:02 PM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
Then I guess I must be moderately handy divided by 100. Big Grin

It is good to be able to build your own stuff. Did you figure everything out by yourself? Or did you have a master? bowdown
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05-07-2012, 02:41 PM,
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Fishbone Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
Well, I did allot of research, and stole allot of ideas, and have owned a few and looked at allot of racks in my years. But I planned it out and did it myself. But I cheat Big Grin I bought a heavy duty shelving unit that was easily assembled. I had home depot cut the melamine to the size pieces I needed. I actually am very good with basic electrical work, so wiring up the heat tape was easy. Then it was just drilling some holes, nuts. washers and bolts.
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06-20-2012, 09:16 AM,
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laurasav Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
What a great way to store so many reptile pets! I admire your skill and ingenuity in making your own rack this way. You have great photos too and explain everything you do so well, plus lots of informative facts on all the cool critters! Great job, Fishbone! You're going to sell me soon on getting a pet snake or lizard! :-)
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06-20-2012, 10:43 AM,
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lhins Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
This is a very nice set up you have. I think I'll have to start constructing my own for future reptiles I hope to own.
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06-30-2012, 10:23 AM,
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SamV Offline
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
You answered my question on yahoo and it was very helpful but where did you get your thermostat?
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06-30-2012, 12:24 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-30-2012, 12:27 PM by Fishbone.)
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RE: My homemade rack and it's inhabitants. (DUW)
Hi Sam. The thermostat I use on this is this hydrofarm thermostat . Its actually for heat mats, to use under indoor grown seedlings. But quite a few people have started using it. Its the best quality non-proportional thermostat I have ever seen for the price. I got mine from Ed Lilley at Constrictors Northwest . If you search Amazon you can probably find it a few dollars cheaper, but Ed is a good guy in the reptile community, and I was happy to send the money his way over saving three dollars. He also builds cages and racks he fabricates plastic professionally, and is very knowledgeable, helpful, and affordable. Just an fyi.

If you really want the best thermostat for the money, I'd get a herpstat 1. The herpstat 2 & 4 are the same thing, with 2 or 4 channels, respectively. So they can control 2 or 4 heating devices completely independently, with each having it's own temperature probe and setting. And the proportional control on these is second to none in my opinion, they will figure out the exact amount of power needed to keep the heating device exactly at the set temperature constantly.

Post a new thread when you decide what you want to do and I'll help you out with the things you need to get wired up. And post some pictures of the geckos Smile


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(06-20-2012, 10:43 AM)lhins Wrote: This is a very nice set up you have. I think I'll have to start constructing my own for future reptiles I hope to own.

I missed this post completely Sad

If you decide to, and need some advice or ideas, let me know. I'm happy to help. Big Grin
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