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I am ... very happy with your plans, the organization that you have put into it and I am extremely happy with the response I have gotten from you when I have encountered a problem.
It sure does save money. At the same time it allows me and others like me to experience making the cage for our animal (animals) that we care so much about. I think that when someone takes the time to sit down and make something like this for their animal it really shows how much they care for them and respect them.

With your plans you can also alter the cage to each and everyone's specifications, or needs. I think what you are doing is wonderful and I want to thank you again.

Robert Hansford


"This is going to make an 11 year old and his lizard Rex very happy".


Spent $108.00 at Lowes, another $65.00 at Home Depot buying things that Lowes didn't have..... Spending time with my son in a hardware store.... PRICELESS!"


"Overall, the best thing I have found from the cage designs... is that:
They work!!!!

They allow you to view and touch your Iguana from all sides, This is a must!

Once you have the material list you don't go back to the hardware store.

Just follow the instructions and it comes out perfect.

Your maintenance will be much easier.

Your iguana will thank you

Once again, you will have built something cool. "

Regards and best to all our Green Iguana friends, Lance and Joey Portwood Glidden, Texas ".


"Very well thought-out designs"



New snake in poor condition and changing cages


I downloaded the building plans today (still printing!) and I'm sure they will be extremely helpful. I was looking through and found exactly the kind of cage that I was hoping to. . .the one that has two sliding glass doors on the front (upper and lower levels).

Now to get things built.

The boa that I acquired last Thursday has settled in, although is quite skinny. I'm in the process of trying to slowly fatten him up, but I'm finding that even with a heat lamp and a "Nite Glo" lamp that the inside of the aquarium isn't as warm as I had hoped. I also have an under tank heating pad, but I'm looking for some other way to increase the temp until I can get his new cage built.

I have a smaller cage that was given to me for my corn snakes (had to move them out of the 50 gallon aquarium to make room for the boa). It is a wooden enclosure with sliding front windows, is 36"l X 16"d X 13h. The base of this is the same size as the aquarium. . .would this be okay for the boa until I can build another one for him? I think this would be easier to keep warm and would be better for the snake.

Thanks for your help. Hope you don't mind the questions - it's easier to email you than it is to try to find someone with any sort of knowledge about boas around here. The guy I have was found on the reserve in early June in really poor shape. He spent the last several months at a local "exotic" vets where he was force fed for the first little while. Having shed several times he now looks wonderful, but he is extremely skinny. They told me that they had trouble getting him to eat - the first night I had him home (last Thursday) he ate two rats and last night he ate another one. I don't want to feed too much too often especially when the temp isn't where it should be.

Thanks for any help you can suggest.



Well he seems to be eating well. I think you are right in what you are doing regarding feeding. Let him digest that food for a week or or two before offering anymore I would think. Some people power feed their animals but it is not good for their health and can lead to problems later. In the wild they are opportunistic feeders and while they may eat three in a row, that would be a good week. Often my snakes in the cooler months do not eat for several weeks (I think I left them for five weeks at one stage last winter). He will put weight back on by the sounds of it. If he does not, you may have another sort of problem but it sounds like they didn't keep him in optimal conditions.

I agree, even thought the wooden tank is smaller it will be easier to keep warm. Glass loses heat very quickly. Wood has better insulation properties and retains the heat. Have you got some thermometers in the cage. Together will a thermostat, this will make it easier to get the temperature closer to what the requirements are. If you just do a search for Boa Care Sheet on Google or go to either www.anapsid.org/boa.html or www.redtailboas.com/general_care/general_care.html and you should be able to get some further information.

It's also possible that parasites are a reason for the snakes poor condition. Specifically roundworms or Ascarids (Ophiascaris and Polydelphis), which the snake can get by ingesting animals already infected with roundworms. These tend to use quite a bit of the animals available nutrition and can also create opportunties for secondary bacterial infections.

You can find out by doing a fecal flotation whereby you place feces in a glass vial and stir it vigorously (to do this properly you need a microscope, vial and coverslip). The feces should sink and the eggs will float to the top and may be visible. You may also see the worms in fecal matter the animal has passed.

If the snake does not put any weight on (you should weigh it over the next few weeks) then you probably need to see a VET or use Panacur® (fenbendazole) as a treatment over two or three weeks. You would need to read the dosage and directions but it would be about 25-50mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram of snake). I would recommend a VET if you suspect this and the snake is not putting any weight on.

This was an additional email sent to Susan

How to check for Parasites

If you still want to check for parasites you need a fresh sample and it should be refrigerated and air tight as possible to prevent the development of the parasite development. If you have someone that knows what to look for it would be simple enough.

1. You can do a direct smear onto a slide and use Lugol's solution to see any eggs or protozoa (not as effective for parasites).

2. Place a small amount of fecal matter into the bottom of a vial (raisin size). Fill it to about 2/3 with fecal flotation solutions eg Fecasol or Zinc Sulfate solution (specific gravity of 1.2) and stir it up to break the material up. Then you fill the vial to the brim so that any of the eggs and material you are looking for will be on the surface. Place a cover slip on it for about 10 minutes. Remove the slip and place it moisture side down on a microscope slide.

All of the above sounds like a bit of effort so if he is eating, looking well and gaining weight it may be a waste of time, but on the other hand, if you have access to the materials and someone with a bit of knowledge it would be reassuring.



Klingenberg, R.J. 1993 "Understanding Reptile Parasites"


Below is a phot of Susan with the boa, visiting a local Vetinary clinic.

susan with boa


Mark Chapple is the Author of "How to build enclosures for reptiles"
Find out how to build these cages as well as arboreal cages. Full color pictures, detailed diagrams and easy to follow, step-by-step instructions.


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