What you put in your herp's enclosure is very important, but did you know that the size of that enclosure is just as important? A reptile terrarium that is too small or too big can cause stress and negatively affect normal sleeping, eating, and behavioral patterns. This article will help you to figure out how to measure aquariums and terrariums and what size your herp needs.
Standard Tank Measurements
If you are trying to calculate gallon size from the measurements of the enclosure, multiply the height by the width by the length to get cubic inches. To determine the size in US gallons, divide that number by 231. For example, if you have a terrarium that is 36" x 12" x 16", multiplying these numbers will give you 6,912. Divide that by 231, and you can see that it is a 30 gallon aquarium.
How big an enclosure do I need?
Lizard enclosures are measured based on "snout-tail length," or STL. The minimum enclosure size for one lizard is as follows:
Snake enclosures are based on their total length. The minimum enclosure size is:
Chelonian (turtles and tortoises) enclosures are based on their carapace length (CL). The minimum enclosure size differs depending on what kind of a chelonian it is.
Terrestrial Turtles and Tortoises:
The minimum enclosure size for amphibians varies widely depending on how big the amphibian is and how many you are housing together. Some are tree dwellers that need tall enclosures while others spend most of their time in the water and can live in longer, lower tanks. Generally amphibians, either singly or in groups, require a 15- to 20-gallon tank, but you will need to research your specific species to determine the exact minimum size requirements.
It's important to note that these are just general requirements. Herps that are more active will need a larger cage than the minimum size to allow them plenty of living room.
You should also consider what kind of setup you're going to use. The above measurements are for simple enclosures. If you plan on using a naturalistic terrarium setup, the enclosure will need to be larger. At least 30% to 40% of the floor space will need to be open. Likewise, if you house more than one lizard, snake, or chelonian, the enclosure will need to be larger, sometimes significantly.