Recently, PAN (Pet Advocacy Network) came out with new US pet industry standards that now recommend that all suppliers and breeders provide UVB lighting, in all reptile and amphibian enclosures. This in addition to their current standards which recommends that breeders house their adult snakes in suitable sized enclosures with appropriate enrichment, is a very welcome initiative for those of us that want to see these animals cared for at a more advanced level.
While the pet industry has advanced considerably over recent years, unfortunately most of the current breeding methods for reptiles have not. After 30+ years, most of the major suppliers in this category still manufacture small tubs and rack systems, or build the same old breeder boxes which lack the proper lighting set up and adequate ventilation. While some manufacturers have begun screwing light fixtures into their breeder boxes, which poses a whole set of issues, the most crucial being that these internal light fixtures put off substantial heat, which is trapped within the box and to avoid the reptiles, particularly snakes from getting burnt, the customer has to then spend $100-$130 on wire caging to help protect their reptiles.
This method does detract a lot from the aesthetics but more importantly, many incidences over the years have resulted in severe burns when snakes have still managed to get within the protective cage and have been fatally burned in the process. The alternative heating method in the breeding niche normally uses heat tape or heat pads which only produce Infrared C, which we know to be the least beneficial heat method for reptiles.
The problem is that while we are very excited about these advancements, most companies are not yet focusing on incorporating these sensible standards into the breeding niche and therefore, Custom Reptile Habitats decided to develop a line that does exactly that.
To cater for these new industry standards, we have incorporated an internal hood that will allow the user to safely provide their snakes with one or two heat sources, as well as a linear UVB fixture. The enclosure is approximately 4×2×2, or 120 gallons and has built-in ventilation at the front, the rear, and sides, particularly around the heat source to avoid buildup of ambient temperatures, which often gets confused with basking temperatures.
With the extra room, there is now ample opportunity to provide enrichment into the breeding animal that will be contained within. After all, in commercial reptile breeding an adult snake may live well over 20 years, and we believe that the standards for this industry should at least be on par with our established pet industry standards.
Incorporating the Science of the vastly superior lighting set ups that come from basking lights that provide full spectrum lighting (including UVB light). The Ethics of the current recommendations on enrichment, to allow the animals to display their natural behavior. Plus, the pet industry Standards recommending that a snake must be housed in an enclosure that is at least large enough to allow for the length of a snake, using a length plus width formula, our new enclosure series is called S.E.S., which incorporates Science, Ethics and Standards.
Now, large commercial breeders still use smaller tubs for breeding most of the common snake species for the pet market, and we believe that over time, the market will adjust so that they too can progress into these new standards as well.
Our S.E.S. series is specifically targeted at both the pet keeper, and small batch breeder that will have an advantage within the very competitive niche, by providing proper lighting and an ethically sized, enriched enclosure that meets current pet industry standards.
In the case of ball pythons for example, recent studies have come out, highlighting the intelligence of these animals, and how their intelligence may be stunted by depriving them of basic space and enrichment, not to mention a simple day night cycle. Some have been asking in recent years if a customer would pay more for an animal produced in a large, well-lit, spacious and enriched enclosure, but we believe that this question is framed incorrectly. In a competitive market, and one that has huge mark ups (sometimes as much as 100 to 500 x cost), as more savvy breeders begin catering for the growing demand from pet keepers, there certainly is room to house and breed ball pythons, and many other species in a far more suitable habitat.
Our design is also on par with pet reptile keeping, and due to the low price point, our product which is manufactured and shipped from our Ohio facilities, competes very well with all other PVC enclosures of this size. We know that we can make great products here in the United States and our new S.E.S. Series certainly caters for people who are wanting high quality enclosures and are interested in progressing our collective industry towards better care.
Available to pre-order now at the special introductory price of $299.95 plus shipping - Order Here
About the Author:
Paul Barclay is the founder and CEO of Custom Reptile Habitats and is a lifetime reptile and amphibian enthusiast. Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Barclay grew up catching and keeping amphibians and reptiles such as turtles, lizards, monitors and pythons before immigrating to the USA where he has kept a more extensive list of reptile species.
As a business executive, Barclay has launched several international businesses and brands in the fitness, weight loss and footwear industries and more recently in the pet industry where he has for over 8 years consulted formally and informally for over a dozen companies. During this time, Barclay has worked extensively with every major pet store chain in the USA, Fortune 500 companies, manufacturers, breeders, importers, exporters, industry publications, reptile Zoos, YouTube personalities, trade show promoters and pet advocacy groups.
Now based in Dayton, Ohio, Barclay's latest creation has a mission: To advance the husbandry of pet reptiles by raising the bar on reptile products in order to provide customers with better habitat choices that enable their pet reptiles to really thrive.