After over a year of discussion, consideration, measuring, further discussion, and more measuring I have finally settled on the solution to my Snake Rack needs. The space we initially had to work with was 149cm wide, meaning I’d have to remove the skirting boards in the room to fit them. Luckily, my spouse didn’t complain too loudly when I asked to use his home office for my expansion.
I keep snakes – a variety of colour morphs of Cornsnakes and Royal pythons (or Ball python to the Americans). For the past several years, they have lived comfortably in a home-made RUB rack. My home office, however, was less than comfortable. Taking the tubs in and out of the racks to feed involved full removal from the rack, then removal of the lid before feeding or watering could be done. This added extra time and effort which just wasn’t necessary in my eyes.
I researched the different professional snake racking systems available, such as the Vision racks. These are lovely looking racks… But! The cost was prohibitively high for me, if I wanted to afford any more snakes for my collection.
Many breeders on the assorted reptile forums I frequent have discussed their Ikea home-made racks. I read these posts religiously over the last year, just to make sure I had the correct technique, the right kit, the right heating, etc. My obsession will help you make a gorgeous, furniture grade snake rack for far less.
My adult royals like their 50L RUBs. They have plenty of floorspace, without being too large and overwhelming which might put them off their food. The 75 x 58 cm Ikea Komplement tubs have a larger floor space than a 50L RUB, as per the table below. Not enough of a difference to upset them, but plenty more wriggle room.
|Really Useful Boxes 50L||71 cm Length x 44 cm Width (External)||3124 cm2|
|Ikea Komplement 75cm||75 cm Length x 58 cm Width (External)||4350 cm2|
- Man with Van (thanks to Simon at Building Envelope Evolution!)
- 2 x Ikea Pax Wardrobes 75cm wide x 201cm tall
- 12 Ikea Komplement 75cm x 58cm tubs without lids or rails
- 8 of the 2 packs of Pax Shelves
- [amazon_link id=”B007MADUCG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]100 pack of screws – 6 gauge by 6.35cm screws[/amazon_link]
- [amazon_link id=”B005IFXFMW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]12 Thumb Turns[/amazon_link] – these work beautifully as locks. I have had zero escapes in the 9 months since building the rack.
- [amazon_link id=”B002UEB0RQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]12 Habistat 20W heat mats – the 17″ x 11″ size fits and allows for a temperature gradient across the racks[/amazon_link]
- [amazon_link id=”B0002AG0F2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]5 x 4 plug socket surge protector[/amazon_link]
- [amazon_link id=”B00308AZF4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]4 x Habistat Twin Channel Thermostat[/amazon_link] as it allows for two thermostats in roughly the space of one.
I found it was easier to build one rack at a time.
- Assemble wardrobe carcass up to the point of fitting shelves. Don’t fit the shelves using the supplied plastic pieces. These are not strong enough to support full-grown Royal Pythons. Royals can get to 2 kilo each as adults!
- Place a heat-mat on the bottom of the rack, with the 17″ side butting against one side of the wardrobe. Duct tape the edges down, ensuring you don’t tape over the heat element. These mats have a margin of plastic around the edges – only tape on this clear margin!
- Place a Komplement lidless tub on the heat mat.
- Place 1 or 2 CDs on each corner of the Komplement tub. This will make sure that there is some leeway when pulling a tub out, but not enough room for a snake to escape when we place the shelf on top.
- By cutting a small corner from the shelf (at the back, on what will be the heat mat side) we make sure we can run cables to the central section which will hold all the wiring.
- Place shelf on top of the heat-mat/tub/cd sandwich. Make sure to run the heat mat cable upwards through the small opening you created in the shelf. If you don’t do this now, you will need to remove the plug from each heat mat and rewire them.
- Drill and screw 3 of the screws into each side.
- Move upwards to the next level, repeating steps 2 through 7 until you reach the top. Feel free to add one extra shelf and up to 3 additional tubs per rack.
- Move rack into place, plug-in the heat mats, thermostats, and consider thermometers for temperature monitoring.
- Make sure to run the rack for 48 hours before introducing any snakes to make sure there are no faults with any of the electrics as well as to make sure your temperatures remain steady.
- You have an awesome snake rack!
Comments? Questions? Please post them below.