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[HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

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Topic [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

Post by Shakudo on Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:02 pm

Hello,

I would like to share my experience with making a desert enclosure, in this case for my Hadrurus Arizonensis.
It was very fun to make, and I could pour a lot of my creativity in it and made it with a lot of love.

In the following report I will try to explain a few things and show you how I did it. Perhaps I could help you get idea's for your own enclosure, and I hope it will be informative.

Take care!


Joey


Getting started:

Terrarium: €49/$63 (Exo Terra Mini Wide)
Compact top and light: €27/$35

The top supports bulbs to 26 watts.


Sand: I used both regular red sand and sand with clay additive mixed about €12/$15
I used about 70% sand with clay and 30% "normal" sand.

The Trixie "Hohlensand" is sand with a clay additive to support burrowing


Accessories: Moorkienwood, moss, stones, bottle cap water dish, leaves etc, The wood is sterilized moorkienwood, catappaleaves came in a pack of 12 which I used for all terrariums. €31 / $41,50

The fossilized wood I used:



The actual scorpion: €50 ($64!!) ( Very expensive due to international export laws, shipping, profit margin etc.)



Total cost of everything including the scorpion: +- €170 / +-$220

However, prices here are very different from those in the USA, this is Europe.
For example, I saw the terrariums that I use, all of them Exo Terra Mini Wide models, at a petco webshop for $53.54, that is €41 euro's thus being cheaper in the USA. However, I did not have to pay shipping so you might match me at some point.


I made some choices that could have been made cheaper, I now understand, like purchasing sand.
The ridiculousness of buying "terrarium sand" instead of regular playsand or aquarium sand is an unnecessary cost.
You could save money buying aquarium sand (WITHOUT fertilizer of course, really check that before you buy.)
It saved me a lot of money with my other enclosure!

My tip for people wanting to make a natural enclosure is this, save money buy sensible, don't spend a lot on brands because sometimes that's all they are... brands... I don't care if my sand comes from zoo med/exo terra/ or a nameless house brand if it works it works.

I believe the most money goes in to equipment. I choose to only use exo terra terrariums because they work for me.
In this case I stick to this brand because I find it very high quality and it's very easy to come by parts/accessories etc.

I believe you could make a decent enclosure with this terrarium for = $150, including the animal.

I use only natural materials, and you could save money, looking around the garden for dead twigs/stones/ etc.
I would advise sterilizing them of course, boiling wood and making it dry.
Don't spend money on ridiculously expensive stones sold by terrarium specialist shops, go to your local gardening center and take your pick for a fraction of the money!

And of course if you choose a cheaper form of housing you could save a lot of money. However, this was the part I didn't want to save money in because I want safe quality made enclosures, the biggest perk I think with these terrariums if their really cool finish, they have excellent ventilation and are very secure. But that is of course a matter of taste and choice.

The time:
Took about a week for the sand to sufficiently dry, for decoration, I took about half a day.
Trying, tweaking, testing, looking, and changing again, until I was satisfied with all the placed objects.

Tweaking the terrarium a bit...


You can edit and try different things for contrast and functionality


Make sure that you know if your desert scorpion is a burrower, for example Hadrurus Arizonensis is known to make extensive tunnels and spiraling constructs. They need a thick layer of sand and the possibilty to display thhis natural behavior. That only benefits your scorpions quality of Life with you as a keeper, and it decreases stress and gives them the opportunity to hide and retreat.



Don't forget, if you have a burrowing scorpion, they tend to "bulldoze" all the sand out and dump it on their doorstep;)
You could leave some room in the front of the terrarium to accommodate the excess sand.



When I was satisfied with the endresult....


I gave it some time, and added a few things here and there.... a desert like the Sonoran or Mojave desert is not sterile with only sand and a few twigs, there are all sorts of things present, which I try to replicate, to make the enclosure visually pleasing, as I have to look at it very often, as my scorpion tends to retreat a lot in to it's burrow.



The entire set up is a blue print in my mind, and I could take it all a part and put it back together in the same way.
It is not hard, just take your time in choosing colors, what contrast nicely with your background?? Your substrate?? Your scorpion??
Make it a puzzle and when it's all done it's the big picture out of your thoughts and it is in harmony with each other.
I try to accomplish this, by looking at Nature, the habitats of the scorps, looking at the different colors, contrasts, materials present, even the consistency of the ground is important, it can make something look natural, or very sterile and artificial.
Which I very much hope to have made, and most of all, hope that the scorpion can have a happy and healthy life with me as a keeper.





Most of all, I really love what I do, I loved putting it all together, I loved working on it, tweaking it, and I was very happy with the end result, it is something from me to my scorp and I take great pride in that. Don't forget to enjoy yourself, it's a lot of fun! lol!

Thank you for reading, and I wish you good luck!



If there are any more questions feel free to ask them and I will try to clarify.



Joey van Westering
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Topic Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

Post by GS on Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:46 am

Great info on getting a naturalistic desert setup done.
Thanks for taking the time to put this up! Smile

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Topic Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

Post by Shakudo on Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:56 pm

GS wrote:Great info on getting a naturalistic desert setup done.
Thanks for taking the time to put this up! Smile

Thank you, and youre welcome Smile
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Topic Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

Post by Cylon-Raider on Thu May 16, 2013 11:46 am

I've read a lot about how this species burrows extensively however mine is either in his hide or out in the open. He's eating ok and doesn't seem to be bothered so I decided to remove the sand/clay mix and just add regular sand as it looks better to me.

Is the burrowing behaviour purely a personality thing for this species then because I was under the impression that all of them burrowed like mad men?
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Topic Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

Post by Shakudo on Thu May 16, 2013 11:53 am

Cylon-Raider wrote:I've read a lot about how this species burrows extensively however mine is either in his hide or out in the open. He's eating ok and doesn't seem to be bothered so I decided to remove the sand/clay mix and just add regular sand as it looks better to me.

Is the burrowing behaviour purely a personality thing for this species then because I was under the impression that all of them burrowed like mad men?

Hello,

They are natural burrowers. And I think there is always a bit of personality involved.
I personally would have left it in, because it might take its time before settling in an enclosure.
And it might dig after a while anyway.

Of course I don't know how long you already have this scorpion. Mine burrowed almost immediately and another burrowing scorpion took a while to do it.

As long as it chooses to display this behavior I see no problem, however I would remain observant.
If it does choose to burrow in the future you can place the substrate back.




Joey

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Topic Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

Post by Cylon-Raider on Thu May 16, 2013 1:45 pm

Hi Shakudo, I've had the scorpion for two weeks. I started a couple of finger sized burrows initially but he didn't seem interested at all.
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Topic Re: [HOW TO] Make a natural looking desert enclosure

Post by Shakudo on Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:01 am

Cylon-Raider wrote:Hi Shakudo, I've had the scorpion for two weeks. I started a couple of finger sized burrows initially but he didn't seem interested at all.
I really didnt see this post my apologies, some scorpions don't want predug burrows, they rather start their own...
just leave it be, it will manage itself:)
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