Snakes and other reptiles are exotic pets that are becoming increasingly popular in private households. However, not everyone can have a reptile as a pet: they are animals that require a lot of care and attention. Part of this care is in your terrarium, where you store it, how to keep it in optimal condition, and how to clean it to ensure your pet’s wellbeing.
Correct terrarium hygiene is often overlooked when it comes to personal hygiene and the health of your pet. Effective cleaning of your snake’s terrarium must be carried out to eliminate or reduce environmental pathogens that are common in reptiles. Some of these organisms could even be transmitted to humans because they are zoonotic. And if you have more than one reptile in different terrariums, it is also important to know how to disinfect each place individually and then disinfect your hands to prevent disease transmission between your pets.
In order to guarantee your pet the best possible benefit and to avoid bad smells in your home, we will show you here how to clean your snake’s terrarium.
What do you need?:
- A safe place to leave your pet while you clean the terrarium.
- A shovel that you only use for this terrarium.
- Warm water.
- Fragranceless soap.
- A disinfectant: it can be a solution of chlorine, bleach or ammonia (100 ml of the substance dissolved in 5 liters of water) or it can be a special disinfectant for terrariums that are sold in a pet shop.
- A cloth or sponge that you only use for this terrarium.
- A towel or cloth that you only use for this terrarium.
- New substrate, that’s fresh.
Steps to follow:
Take your snake out of the terrarium and place it in a safe place to stay while you clean its home.
Clean up the leftovers of food, saliva, feces and all debris in general. Also shed the substrate layer that you have at the base of your terrarium. They can use a shovel to help you.
Use lukewarm water and very little odorless soap to finish cleaning, rinsing, and washing off any remaining surface debris and stains.
Rinse the terrarium well with warm water. Make sure that no organic material is left or it will inactivate the disinfectant you are going to use next.
Once everything is clean, apply a little disinfectant to your terrarium. The most common are bleach, ammonia, and chlorine, although it is important not to mix them. If you want to use some of them, dissolve 100 ml in 5 liters of water. Another option could be a disinfectant that is sold at the pet store and is specifically designed for reptile terrariums.
Moisten a cloth or sponge with the disinfectant and scrub the entire surface of your terrarium. Make sure that no single segment remains unsaturated.
Let the disinfectant work for 15-20 minutes.
Once the time is up, rinse the terrarium very well with plenty of water.
Dry the terrarium with a towel or cloth that you use specifically for your pet. You can also let it dry, but this would take longer.
As soon as the terrarium is dry, put on a new layer of substrate. Do not replace the previous one, otherwise you will lose all cleaning work.
Put all items, accessories, and devices back in your pet’s terrarium. It is advisable to clean them as well. You can dip them in soapy water and then in a pot with the same disinfectant that you use for the terrarium. Once they are disinfected, rinse them thoroughly with water. Finally, dry them well and return them to your pet’s terrarium.
Return your snake to its terrarium.
In the end, make sure you sanitize and wash any detergents you use. That way, they’ll be ready for the next time you need to use them.
- When you start disinfecting the terrarium, you need to make sure that there are no organic materials left as this could inactivate the disinfectant.
- Use disinfectants such as chlorine and ammonia with great care as they can be toxic to your pet and irritate your skin.
- If your terrarium is made of wood, it is not convenient to use bleach or ammonia. In this case, check with a pet store which product you would recommend to keep your terrarium in good condition and not cause harm to your pet.
- If your terrarium has a carpet, replace it with another that is clean, as this will give you the opportunity to wash and sanitize it well. Later when it is time to wash the other, swap them out.
- If you have multiple pets in different terrariums or cages, don’t use the same rags, towels, or sponges for all of them. This can lead to cross-contamination, which means you move germs from one place to another, which can be harmful to your pets.
- Never mix two different chemicals as some of these combinations create fumes that can be toxic to you and your pet.
- Many glass cleaners contain ammonia in their composition, so it is advisable not to use them to avoid mixing chemicals. You can clean the glass in your terrarium with a solution that contains 5 liters of water, 250 ml of medicinal alcohol, a quarter cup of vinegar and a few drops of liquid soap.
- It is recommended that you check with your veterinarian about how often you should clean your pet’s terrarium as this will depend on the type of snake.