If you’ve visited practically any large zoo recently, you may have noticed how much trouble the zoo employees have gone to in order to mimic each particular creature’s native environment.
Perhaps you even stared wistfully at a natural-looking setting and wished you could do the same at home. Well, you can. It’s called a vivarium.
A vivarium is very similar to the more common "terrarium," except that a vivarium houses live animals as well as plants. As a consequence of the addition of animals into what is essentially an enclosed, simulated environment, the vivarium naturally requires more upkeep.
Why a vivarium?
Although there’s no doubt that a tastefully and/or dramatically arranged collection of plants in a regular terrarium can be attractive and interesting, the inclusion of a small toad or swift (lizard) is sure to ease the boredom of rainy days and even raise a few eyebrows among your guests.
You can build your vivarium in virtually any waterproof container, but it’s easiest and probably cheapest in the long run to create your vivarium in an ordinary fish tank. Fish tanks come in standard sizes with covers that fit snugly; which is an important consideration when it comes to keeping your vivarium pets inside and other pets out.
Once you’ve got a container that you can use as your vivarium, you’ll need a secure cover, a heat and light source, a small, shallow bowl, gravel, soil, small flowerpots (optional), a small fishnet, tongs, an old tablespoon, a small thermometer, and a pet book.