Housing Terms Glossary: Reptiles
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Reptile Glossaries
There is a wealth of jargon used throughout the reptile world. This is especially true when discussing reptile housing. Learning this vocabulary allows you to better understand articles and what veterinarians, reptile hobbyists and other reptile owners are saying. The following list of terms, while in no way comprehensive, contains some of the terms used to discuss reptile housing.

Air-driven internal filter
Small, inexpensive filters used for small aquatic terrarium housing one or two herps.

Basking spot
A warm spot in a habitat intended to simulate the natural heat and light of the sun for reptiles to bask in.

Biological filtration
A filtration stage for aquatic terrariums that uses an established colony of beneficial bacteria to break down toxic compounds and maintain water quality.

Canister filter
A type of filter recommended for use in large aquatic terrariums housing herps that produce a lot of waste.

Chemical filtration
A filtration stage for aquatic terrariums that removes unwanted materials such as copper, chlorine, and other impurities from the water using chemical reactions to maintain water quality.

Crabitat
A slang word for a hermit crab habitat.

Filter system
A system that is necessary to maintain water quality in aquatic and semi-aquatic terrariums.

Hygrometer
A device that monitors humidity levels.

Internal power filter
A type of filter that is recommended for 10 gallon or smaller aquatic terrariums that house a couple of herps or less. This filter is submerged in the water.

Mechanical filtration
A filtration stage for aquatic terrariums that strains solid materials such as debris, waste, and uneaten food from the water.

Power filter
A type of filter than hangs off the back of aquatic terrariums; for use in large aquatic turtle habitats.

Substrate
Material used as bedding or for burrowing for your reptile.

Terrarium
The enclosure in which you keep your herps.

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