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Home > Reptiles > 10 DIY Reptile Enclosures You Can Build Today (With Pictures)

10 DIY Reptile Enclosures You Can Build Today (With Pictures)

young boy and woman looking into a reptile enclosure or terrarium

Are you a proud owner of a snake, lizard, turtle, or bearded dragon? Or maybe looking to get your first reptile pet? Either way, giving them a great enclosure will make them feel safe and welcome in your home.

If you’re the crafty type, you’ll be interested to know that there are plenty of options for DIY reptile enclosures that you can build today! So, when you’re ready to learn how to build a reptile enclosure for your scaly friend, take a look through our list of the 10 best DIY plans for reptiles of every species.


The 10 DIY Reptile Enclosure Plans

1. Upcycled Bookshelf DIY Reptile Enclosure from Instructables

DIY reptile enclosure
Image Credit: Instructables

We love any DIY plan that can take disused furniture and make it into something great. If you have an extra bookcase that’s not storing your novels any longer, why not turn it into an awesome reptile enclosure with these plans from Instructables? It’ll take a little bit of DIY know-how to finish, but is well worth the time and effort.

Materials: Old bookcase, Wood filler, Deck screws, White contact paper, Silicone caulk, Fence post topper and 2x4s for legs (optional), Construction adhesive, Trim nails, Crown molding (optional), Acrylic sheeting or sign holders and 1x2s for doors, ½” C-channel for sliding doors, 1” PVC pipe and window screen for vents
Tools: Tape measure, Drill and drill bits, Jigsaw, T-square, Sander, Scissors, Hammer, Clamps, Hot glue

2. Upcycled Windows DIY Reptile Enclosure Plans from Animals at Home

DIY reptile enclosure
Image Credit: Animalsathome

Animals at Home has provided these unique plans to turn old windows into a custom enclosure for your reptile friend. They’re quite tricky to build, but the video found with the plans will clear up any questions you might have along the way.

Materials: (8) 36” x 21” windows, Mineral oil, Painters tape, GE Silicone I, Black indoor/outdoor latex paint, Oak trim (1) 1” x 3” and (3) 1” x 2”, Polyurethane stain, Acrylic sheet for door, (2) 3” door hinges, (6) bolts & acorn nuts and (6) wood screws for hinges, No More Nails, Cam locks, Headlight buff kit for cleaning acrylic (optional), Storm door panel clips
Tools: Glass cutter, Paintbrush or roller, Sandpaper or fine steel wool, Drill and drill bits, Jigsaw, Pencil, Tape measure

3. Entertainment Center DIY Reptile Enclosure Plans from Instructables

DIY reptile enclosure
Image Credit: Instructables

Another awesome option for upcycling old furniture, this reptile enclosure from Instructables is made out of an old entertainment center! Since most of the construction has already been done for you, it’s a great project for people short on time who are willing to follow directions closely. Plus, it’s one of the largest DIY reptile enclosures you can build.

Materials: 5 shelf wooden bookcase, Acrylic sheet at least 29” x 48”, (16) corner braces, (2) flat braces, (4) butt hinges, Weather stripping, LED strip kit, Saran wrap, Styrofoam sheets, Coco fiber
Tools: Drill and bits, Silicone, Hot glue, Polyurethane finish

4. Custom DIY Reptile Enclosure Plans from Instructables

DIY reptile enclosure
Image Credit: Instructables

If you have access to the tools of a woodworking shop, these DIY plans from Instructables make for a sturdy and easily customized enclosure. Equally suitable for snakes, turtles, or lizards, it’s a fairly advanced project that requires considerable time and effort.

Materials: Wood screws 1 ½”, Screws ¾” and 1″, Pine wood 1″x2″ and 1″x3″, 2″x2″ wood, Plexiglass .093″ thickness, Plywood about ¼”, Screen clips, 1″ hinges, 1 ½” bolt latch , Mesh screen (screen door screen, optional), White pegboard, Stain, Mold resistant paint
Tools: Table saw or circular saw, Drill and bits, Jigsaw with wood and plexiglass cutting blades, Hot glue gun, Staple gun, Sander, Clamps, L square

5. Bookcase DIY Reptile Enclosure Plans from Instructables

DIY reptile enclosure
Image Credit: Instructables

You can turn any thrift store bookcase find into a fully outfitted reptile enclosure with these plans from Instructables. Since most of the wood construction is already done for you, all you’ll need to do is install the windows, decorations, and heat lamps to make it a complete home for your lizards or snakes.

Materials: Bookcase (5 shelves), Window screen material, Caulk, Branches, Sand (safe/appropriate for animal), Heat lamps and other lizard supplies, Hook and eye closures, Hinges, Screws, Nails, Paint (for decoration, if desired)
Tools: Drill and bits, Jigsaw, Staple gun and staples, Hammer, Paintbrushes (optional)

6. Bearded Dragon DIY Reptile Enclosure Plans from Instructables

DIY reptile enclosure
Image By: Instructables

Specially designed to house a bearded dragon, this enclosure from Instructables has simple materials but requires quite a few power tools. If you’re willing to put in the effort to make it though, you’ll be rewarded with an all-in-one home for your bearded dragon that’s durable and customizable.

Materials: (1) sheet ½” Baltic birch ply-wood, ¾” x 1″x 8′ poplar, (2) 1/8” – ¼” thick Plexiglas sheets measuring 15 ½” x 17″, ¼” hole Poultry fabric for the top, 1 ¼” screws
Tools: Cordless drill, Cordless screw gun, Table saw, Crosscut sled, Wire cutters, Sander

7. DIY Wooden Reptile Enclosure from Reptile range

DIY Wooden Reptile Enclosure by Reptile range
Image By: Reptile range
Materials: Wood sheets, Perspex sheets, glass runners, silicone adhesive
Tools: Drill, screws

Wood isn’t always the best choice as a material for making reptile enclosures. It can be a struggle to maintain appropriate temperature and humidity levels, but if you have a decent setup and your temperature demands aren’t too high, it is a readily available and inexpensive building material. This DIY wooden reptile enclosure measures 3 x 1.5 x 1.5 feet, when finished, and assumes that you will get the wood cut at your DIY store. You will need a saw if that isn’t the case. The enclosure is especially suitable for snakes like Ball Pythons because it is long and fairly shallow.

8. DIY Snake Cage From Animals at Home

Materials: Old cabinet, silicone sealant, vinyl flooring, runner board
Tools: Drill, saw, hammer

Using an existing piece of furniture really is a good way to go. It already has the dimensions and stability, and even if you don’t have a suitable cabinet at home, you might be able to pick one up from a thrift store or marketplace for a few bucks. The cabinet will require some modification, and you can use this DIY snake cage plan as a guide on how best to go about this. You can also modify the designs according to the type of reptile you have and the heating and lighting equipment that you need to fit.

9. Iguana Cage From Oddly cute pets

Iguana Cage by Oddly cute pets
Image By: Oddly cute pets
Materials: Fence posts, wood lengths, door hinges, door latches, wire mesh, cement
Tools: Saw, screwdriver, post digger

Some species of Iguana need a lot of space, which means building a large cage. The 18-inch Green Iguana requires a 20-gallon tank as a minimum, and depending on where you live, this may be kept outdoors to give your Iguana access to natural UV and air. Rather than using an existing cabinet or another piece of existing furniture, this Iguana cage guide uses fence posts. Again, these are readily available, but if you are upcycling fence posts do make sure that they are in good condition and free from any rot or disease.

10. Aquatic Turtle Tank with Underwater Tunnel From MagicManu

Materials: Aquarium tank, poster, paint, polystyrene
Tools: Drill, saw, sander

This aquatic turtle tank with an underwater tunnel uses an existing aquarium, which you may not have easy access to, but if you can find an old tank and want to upgrade it, customize it, and finish it, the plans show you how to do that. They even include a Perspex underwater tunnel that provides an ideal environment for your turtle. You will also use polystyrene to build a textured and layered surface that brings interest to the tank for your pet reptile.

divider- gecko

Final Thoughts

Caring for reptiles requires specialized habitats, and these can often be quite expensive to buy from the store. With these DIY enclosure plans, we hope that you’ve been inspired to learn how to build a reptile enclosure for your reptile that will keep them happy and healthy for years to come.

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Featured Image Credit: Elizaveta Galitckaia, Shutterstock

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