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To DIY or not


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Hi everyone.

I am looking to get my first cornsnake and have been researching about enclosures a lot...and am confused as to what I need.

I can’t decide what is best: a tub, a brand terrarium, a converted aquarium, or a self built wood enclosure.

Has anyone ever converted a TV stand into an enclosure?

For building one myself, I live in Japan so options are limited. At my local diy store I can pick up some wood that translates to Paulownia, pine, cypress or mdf type sheets.

Are these all ok for corn snakes? I know cedar is not an option and pine is frowned upon.

If I lined the inside of the enclosure with acrylic sheeting and sealed it with silicone would that negate the effects of the pine?

I am also not sure how much ventilation to provide. We get very hot and humid summers here (35 degrees C or more). Is there ever a necessity to provide cooling to the enclosure? Or can a corn snake thrive in a hotter environment?
A converted aquarium is the easiest enclosure provided there is a secure locking lid. The advantage to an aquarium is the glass bottom. You can affix a heating pad under the tank. If you build one and have a wooden floor supplying belly heat becomes a problem. You are going to run into a problem if the temps reach 35C with humidity. Cooling will definitely be needed. When the temps hit 95F in my area you never see a corn snake during the day, they hide in a cool spot and become active only at night.

I have built several enclosures over the years. We are lucky here because we can buy 4x8 sheets of thin wood products that have a coating similar to melamine. If you can find thin plywood there and cover it with melamine or formica that would work.
Thanks for the reply.

I just went to my in-laws and found this old display case. Do you think I could fix this up into an enclosure?

It is pretty sturdy and I can add a locking mechanism to the sliding glass doors. If I replace the bottom of the case with 5mm acrylic will that act as a decent enough conduit for the heat from a heat pad?

The space inside the case is 85cm wide, 26cm deep and 45 cm high. Is this enough? Would it be better to it lying down to increase the floor space and reduce the vertical space?

I would also add a couple of vents at each end of the case for ventilation.

Do you think this could work?


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It will work fine, but I don't think the acrylic would be a good conductor of heat. If I was using the case I would buy a glass piece to replace the bottom. Just leave enough on the edges so you can lay the glass on it. You can secure the glass to the edge with silicone sealer.

Corns do like to climb so the height is good.
I have made a little progress.

Glass sheets at the bottom on the left and right (the white patches) with black 3mm acrylic covering the rest of the inside on the case. Everything is sealed with silicone.

I have added a vent on the left, which will be the cool end. Is this enough ventilation?

Next step is the clean up the glass and add a lock, and then give the whole inside a wash.

What do you think so far?


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Looking good so far. Most people would suggest vents on both sides but a lot would depend upon the ambient heat of the enclosure, especially during the winter months. But you could always close off part of the vents if necessary. Those appear to be large holes in the vent, but I can't tell if there's a screen cover too. I'm assuming you are going to buy an adult or sub-adult?
It has been a busy week with lots of deliveries.

I now have the case set up with a thermostat and heating mat.

I also added another vent at the top. Both vents have 6mm spaces. Is that something corn snakes will get through as hatchlings? If so I will need to escape proof them or aim to get a bigger snake.

I have put in some decor and substrate with a water bowl so I can get my temperature and humidity settings all worked out before the Kyushu reptile festa this coming saturday.

When I am taking the temp for the hot end, should I be getting my readings from the top of the substrate or from the glass underneath? When the substrate is showing 86 the glass can be as high as 100. I am getting humidity levels of around 70 with the water bowl in there.

Next is to 3d print a few hides I have designed and then all that is left is to head to the reptile show and pick up a snake.


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If you haven't glued the vents to the wood I'd cut a piece of window screen to cover the vent holes and then reattach the vents. 6mm is about 1/4 inch and I've had hatchlings squeeze through holes that big. You will probably get varied opinions regarding the heat on the hot end. I never have heat hotter than 82 on top of the substrate and 86 on the bottom of the containers I use. I'd be worried when the temp is 100. Corns do burrow.
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I have made a little progress.