(En) Closing the Sale
Today’s herp habitats are designed for the maximum
comfort of their residents and the viewing
enjoyment of pet owners.
BY KEITH LORIA
When it comes to reptile habitats, the industry continues to trend toward prod- ucts that replicate an animal’s natural habitat as closely as possible while also taking into consideration the pet owner’s experience.
“Today’s enclosures feature tiny frames to make for expansive viewing areas,
and an interior that can easily be decorated to replicate the animal’s natural habitat,” said Michael Acerra, digital marketing manager for Penn-Plax Pet Products in
Hauppauge, N. Y.
Steve Sotelo, Exo Terra division manager for Hagen Group in Mansfield, Mass.,
said the company continues to see growth in natural habitats—commonly known as
terrariums with ventilation and front-opening doors—as consumers are spending
more time and money creating environments that incorporate live plants and realistic
“More importantly, substrates have begun to catch up with terrarium design, where
multiple layers are used for drainage and bio-active properties,” he said. “This has
allowed consumers and hobbyists to create incredible landscapes and live displays.”
Taylor Roush, manager of LLLReptile & Supply Co. in Oceanside, Calif., said glass
enclosures sell the best, as most keepers only have a few animals.
“The differences concern what customers are using it for and price,” he said. “Any-
thing other than glass is usually more expensive.”
Owen Maercks, owner of East Bay Vivarium in Berkeley, Calif., sells an equal
amount of glass and wooden cages, and utilizes some local builders to create the wood-
“We always tell the customer to choose the animals first and design the habitat
around them,” he said. “The animal determines what cage is appropriate, what size
to get and whether it needs heating.”
Adam Marietta, owner of Aquatic Environments in Davenport, Iowa, said one
product trending is an enclosure that offers sliding doors in the front and access on
top, allowing for better control of the animal. He’s also finding success with boxed kits.
Steve Sotelo, Exo Terra division manager for Hagen Group in Mansfield, Mass., said the brand
has pushed the boundaries in terrarium innovation and has been able to respond to emerging
trends with new products on a quarterly basis.
“We have a handful of new kits launching in 2018, which all revolve around our yearly
research expeditions,” he said. “There will be two tiki-themed kits and décor launching in
early Q2, along with care-related material.”
Ashley Rademacher, animal care and education director for Zoo Med Laboratories in San
Luis Obispo, Calif., said the company has introduced several products based on the growing
interest of people keeping many different small species.
Its Creatures Den Low Profile Starter Kit includes a glass terrarium that measures
10.5-inches by 20.5-inches by 8-inches, a thermometer, a natural cork
piece, a rock dish and soil substrate, ideal for a variety of ground-dwelling tarantulas, insects and other invertebrates. And the company’s
popular ReptiBreeze screen enclosure is now available in a nano size,
“This habitat is made of corrosion-resistant, anodized aluminum
screen and has a clear, full acrylic front door for optimum viewing
pleasure,” Rademacher said. “It works great with our new Nano Dome
or Nano Combo Dome Fixture and is just the right size for keeping many
different small species including dwarf geckos, tarantulas, insects and
Michael Acerra, digital marketing manager for Penn-Plax Pet
Products in Hauppauge, N. Y., said the company continues to produce
products that are in line with the needs of its customers.
“While we focus primarily on accessories for herp habitats, we’re
also working on developing an exciting new line of habitats that will be
hitting the market in Q4 2018,” he said. “We’re also continuing to expand
our accessory line. For example, we’ll be releasing even more sizes and
shapes of our Lizard Loungers and Reptile Rock Plants for 2018.”
Last year, Zilla introduced its line of Front-Opening Terrariums, which
added some novel aspects to pet keeping such as removable doors and
a plastic insert to hold in humidity for tropical species.
“This year, we are working on unique décor pieces to help create
more natural habitats in this type of enclosure,” said Ryan McVeigh, Zilla
brand manager for Franklin, Wis.-based Central Garden & Pet Co.
Natural-looking habitats are becoming more popular with hobbyists.