Large climbing reptiles require a suitable habitat. Nothing is more disturbing than seeing large pythons, boas, or iguanas in tiny barren tanks with inappropriate things to hang or climb on. These reptiles need naturalistic environments that mimic their natural rainforest habitat. The trouble is that you can't just find large tree limbs in the pet store and anything you pick up outside is not always reptile-safe even if you are able to have it treated and disinfected. Plus, large pieces of suitable driftwood cost a lot of money! Here is an inexpensive method to create natural looking, tree-like branches that are more like the large vines or moss-covered limbs that tropical reptiles love.
Buying the supplies for your branch will require a trip to the local big box stores or even your local hardware store, but if you have different kinds of reptiles, you most likely may have some of this stuff already, plus scrap PVC pipe can be gotten from plumber friends and the infrared stripper lamp borrowed from painter friends. The benefit is that once the supplies are in hand, you are now equipped to make several branches for any size habitat.
The branch I made was for my small-ish stunted iguana, who does not have very good use of his back legs. The branch needed to be big enough for a comfortable basking branch and allow a good grip since he is a weak climber.
A word of caution about bending the PVC pipe. The use of a heat lamp, such as is used to strip paint, is desired over the open flame of an acetylene torch. A hand torch will work but be aware that burning PVC fumes can, well, kill you— so use the heat lamp and obey all safety precautions.
Step 1: Step 1: Preparation
Gather your materials:
5 feet of 2" PVC pipe
Concrete bonding adhesive
small bucket or container
Roll of landscaping burlap
Terrarium moss reptile bedding
Coconut husk reptile bedding
Infrared paint stripping heat lamp
Other materials you'll need include a tarp or plastic drop cloth when brushing on adhesive, heavy work gloves for handling hot PVC, latex gloves when working with the adhesive, and a wide container for mixing the moss and husks.
Prepare your materials:
• Cut the burlap into eight strips about 3 feet long and 6 inches wide.
• Break up equal amounts of the coconut husks and moss and crumble together in a wide shallow bin or container. You will have to shred the moss into small bits.
• Clear out an area and lay down your drop cloth.