The transitional area between desert and savannah

The steppes in a terrarium

The steppes, like the desert, are defined by extreme temperatures. At the same time, they are home to many fascinating creatures, which feel exceptionally at ease in a dry terrarium.

Dry terraria house animals from the desert and desert-like areas. These creatures are accustomed to barren landscapes and extreme fluctuations in temperature and cope just fine under these conditions. Dry terraria need little care compared with other kinds and house species that are particularly low-maintenance. As such, they are especially well-suited to beginners. However, not every dry terrarium is the same: Depending on the set-up, a desert, steppe, savannah or rock landscape can be replicated. Without a doubt, a dry terrarium lends its surroundings a special touch. Steppe terraria, which depict the transition between desert and savannah, are particularly popular. Here, temperature fluctuations are not quite as extreme as in the desert. During the day, the temperature can reach between 35° and up to 45°C in some places, but rarely falls more than 20°C at night. The humidity level is generally between 30 and 40 percent, climbing to as high as 80 percent at night.

As a matter of fact, these conditions are nowhere near as hostile to life as you might think. Grasses, shrubs and even flowers thrive here, along with several interesting reptiles. For example, bearded dragons, banded geckos, savannah monitors, scorpions and corn snakes feel right at home. These animals need lots of warmth and light. The day in a step terrarium must last between 12 and 14 hours, depending on the species. Thanks to modern technology, however, setting the proper temperature

, humidity and day-to-night rhythm is incredibly easy.

Crafting your steppe terrarium

Crafting a steppe terrarium is easy even for beginners. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind. Use terrarium sand as the substrate. If you have pets that like to dig, feel free to mix in a bit of clay powder or just go ahead and use clay sand. The percentage of clay ensures better stability in dug-out caves, allowing your pets to behave as they do in nature. Do not use bird sand in a terrarium. It contains calcium and could make the reptiles constipated. Likewise, aquarium sand has too many sharp edges and builder’s sand is usually contaminated with harmful components. Neither of these sands are suitable as a substrate for reptiles.

You can help your terrarium pets feel comfortable in their new home by including resting areas and hiding places made of stones, roots or pieces of wood. Spot lamps create particularly warm areas and heat the terrarium. Even though steppe inhabitants are accustomed to high temperatures, they also value shady areas where they can cool off. Caves are very popular with most reptiles. You can buy a pre-made cave from specialty stores or construct one easily yourself using stone slabs. If you make your own, make sure that the slabs can’t be knocked over. It should always be slightly damper and cooler in the cave than in the rest of the terrarium. You can accomplish this easily by watering the substrate beneath the cave every so often. A steppe terrarium can’t get by without water. Spray the tank lightly with water in the morning and again at night to simulate dew. Your pets also need a flat bowl which they can drink from and cool off in if necessary.

Use plants in clay pots

You don’t need to go without plants if you have a steppe terrarium. Succulents, aloe and lithops flourish here and add a fabulous, eye-catching element to your tank. Thornless cacti, which are very popular in desert terraria, are not suitable for a steppe environment. If you like variety, place the plants in clay pots instead of directly into the substrate. Doing so allows you to remove or replace the greenery as desired. It also makes it easier to care for the plants.

Of course, you must consider the individual needs of each animal with respect to the set-up, feed and temperature. Experts in specialty stores will be happy to advise you. No matter how you decide to set up your terrarium and what creatures you select, one thing is certain – a steppe terrarium is the perfect starting point for terrarium beginners.

Call into your local store today to discuss your reptile’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts

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