Pet reptiles are amazingly diverse and domesticated reptiles come from all over the world. They can be found in tropical climates or deserts and because of this incredible diversity, different pet reptiles also need different environments to thrive.
Some reptiles prefer lots of space to crawl and bask, while others need room to climb. Climbing reptiles are the ones that need extra tall tanks.
That’s why today, we’ll list some reptiles that need tall tanks.
Arboreal reptiles are pets that need tall tanks to thrive. Arboreal reptiles like to climb and spend most of their time off the ground. Pets like crested geckos, chameleons, and reticulated pythons love to have plenty of vertical space, and in many cases the taller their enclosures are, the better.
In this article, we’ll discuss why certain reptiles need so much room to climb. Then, we’ll list some of our favorite picks for climbing reptiles that you might love to welcome into your home.
Why Do Some Reptiles Need Tall Tanks?
So, why do some reptiles need tall tanks and some need long tanks?
It all comes back to their natural habitats. In the wild, reptiles have different methods of survival. Arboreal reptiles climb, sleep, and even hung up in the trees. These reptiles have special adaptations for climbing. You might be surprised to learn that not only are lizards great climbers, but snakes can climb too.
Obviously, we’re used to seeing images of chameleons and geckos that are able to scale surfaces. These lizards use their tiny toes and specialized hair on their feet to grip impossibly smooth surfaces. But, snakes that have no limbs of any kind can also climb. Snakes in the wild can climb up trees, hills, and large rocks. In captivity, snakes can use their muscles to climb up things like glass aquarium sides and even stairs!
Reptiles that climb in the wild need tall tanks to get adequate mental stimulation.
What Reptiles Need A Vertical Tank?
Arboreal reptiles are reptiles that are going to need a tall tank because arboreal reptiles are reptiles that spend most of their time climbing and existing off the ground.
Oftentimes, arboreal reptiles will eat, socialize, and sleep in the trees. In captivity, it’s so important to give your arboreal reptiles places to climb and hide. With a tall tank, you’ll have much more room to create a lofty paradise for your arboreal pet. T
o make use of a vertical tank, you can place natural or store-bought branches inside. You can also use live plants and vines to make a jungle that will keep your arboreal reptiles happy and entertained.
What Reptiles Need A Horizontal Tank?
If arboreal reptiles need a vertical tank, then terrestrial reptiles are the ones who need horizontal tanks. Terrestrial reptiles are ground dwellers. These pets won’t be found climbing up to the tops of their tanks and will make the most out of horizontal spaces.
Sometimes, terrestrial reptiles will also burrow or dig and will need appropriate substrate for that. Some examples of terrestrial reptiles are pets like ball pythons, bearded dragons, and leopard geckos. While these animals can climb, it’s not their strong suit.
12 Arboreal Pet Reptiles That Need Tall Tanks
If you’re looking for pet reptiles that need tall tanks, we’ve got 12 of them for you. Some of these pets make great pets for beginners and others need more advanced caretakers. We’ll talk about why each of these animals needs climbing space and whether they’re easy or difficult to care for.
You’ll notice that we don’t mention turtles or tortoises below. Because of their bodies, turtles and tortoises aren’t great climbers. Actually, they can’t really climb at all. Turtles and tortoises will almost always need horizontal space whether they’re terrestrial, semi-aquatic, or fully aquatic.
Plenty of pet lizards are arboreal. Our choices are some of the most common and accessible pets you might be able to find. Remember that even though all of these pets are arboreal, they still have different environmental needs and diets.
1. Crested Gecko
Crested geckos are one of the best pet lizards for beginner reptile keepers. These lizards are pretty small and easy to handle. Crested geckos are amazing climbers and can often be found on the side or ceilings of their tanks.
Crested geckos don’t need hides on the ground and definitely aren’t swimmers. Crested gecko tanks usually look like a scene out of a jungle. The more greenery you can provide for these critters, the better.
Plus, these lizards like to sleep up above the ground so you can give them floating hides to make them feel comfortable while snoozing.
2. Green Anole
Green anoles are one of the smallest arboreal lizards that you can keep as a pet. The great thing about these guys is that they stay small which means a smaller enclosure to save space or that they’ll live like royalty in a normal size enclosure.
Keep in mind that if you do choose to give these pets a larger enclosure, you’ll have to work a little harder to keep the humidity up. These reptiles are tropical and need temperatures and moisture levels high.
Of course, green anoles love to climb and need plenty of vines and branches in their enclosures. If you can provide these pets with live plants, that’s even better than artificial ones.
Green anoles can be kept by beginner keepers but shouldn’t be handled. They’re so small that if you lose them, it will be hard to find them again. These reptiles have very short lifespans and can make great pets for renters.
3. Panther Chameleon
Panther chameleons are beautiful blue lizards that love to climb. For these reptiles, the taller the tank is, the better. One of the great things about panther chameleons is that they’re active during the day. This means you’ll be able to watch your chameleon climb and hunt while you’re awake too.
Panther chameleons eat sleep and drink in trees. When you provide these lizards with climbing materials, you’re also providing them with a water dish. Chameleons only drink water droplets off of leaves and won’t drink still water out of a bowl.
4. Green Iguana
Green iguanas are one of the largest arboreal pet reptiles and they can be tough animals to keep. They’re just so big that they almost need an entire room to themselves. So, not only do these reptiles need tall tanks, but they also need plenty of space to walk around on the ground.
Many green iguana owners will let their pets out to explore in their homes or on a leash. One of the best enclosures to keep a green iguana in is an outdoor enclosure but you can only do this if you live in the appropriate climate.
Green iguanas aren’t easy to keep just because of their size. But if you have space, these reptiles are fun to interact with and watch climb.
5. Tokay Gecko
Tokay geckos are cool climbing geckos that have beautiful patterns all over their scales. This fun arboreal lizard will climb all day if it can and needs a pretty tall tank in order to do so.
While tokay geckos are great to watch and observe, they’re not the best to handle. Tokay geckos can be mean and aggressive and are quick to bite owners if handled improperly. However, it’s totally possible to build relationships with these little reptiles if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
6. Chinese Water Dragon
Even though this lizard is called the Chinese water dragon, it can actually be found high up in the trees in Southeastern Asia. These dragons love to climb to the highest possible points and need plenty of vertical space. A tall tank is the only good option for this medium-sized reptile.
As much as they love to climb, they didn’t get the name “water dragon” for no reason. If you do decide to keep a water dragon as a pet, you’ll also need to provide them with a shallow pool for swimming, or a paludarium!
It’s still a shock to think that some snakes spend more of their life off of the ground than down on it. Even though they lack limbs, some snakes love to climb.
If you find yourself with arboreal snakes, that means you’ll need to give them a tall vertical enclosure to climb in. Plus, since most snakes aren’t as small as some of our climbing lizards, you’ll need a large enclosure in general.
7. Reticulated Python
Reticulated pythons are classic climbing snakes that can grow to be enormous in size. Reticulated pythons can get so large in size that they can be hard for the average family to keep. These snakes usually end up in the hands of expert keepers.
Reticulated pythons spend time on both the ground and in trees in the wild. They’re very protective snakes and can be aggressive to handle. Because these snakes are so large, they don’t need to eat very often. Since they don’t eat or poop often, these are one species of snake that don’t smell bad!
8. Emerald Tree Boa
In the wild, you can find emerald tree boas perched up high on tree branches. They will coil their bodies up and hang from branches while resting, sleeping, and stalking prey. Emerald tree boas are a beautiful bright green color. Their bright green color helps them to blend into the leaves of the tropical trees they perch in,
These snakes spend virtually no time on the ground, so any enclosure you use for them needs to be tall and filled with branches for climbing.
9. Carpet Python
Carpet pythons are Australian snakes that get their names for their striking resemblance to beautiful carpets. Carpet pythons are arboreal snakes that need plenty of branches for climbing in their enclosures.
These snakes are notably hardy and can thrive in captivity, making them decent snakes for beginners. Carpet pythons are one snake that seems to do well no matter what the humidity level is, but aiming for something around 50% relative humidity is ideal.
10. Smooth/ Rough Green Snake
Both smooth and rough green snakes are super thin bright green snakes. In the wild, it can be hard to distinguish these snakes from the vines in the trees they climb in. Even though these snakes don’t bite when handled, they prefer to be left alone.
A green snake’s enclosure should include a nice natural substrate with plenty of places to hide plus branches for climbing. Unfortunately, these snakes aren’t easy to breed and are often captured and sold straight from the wild. Not only does this make captivity more stressful for them, but it’s unnecessary.
11. Boa Constrictor
Boa contractors are a large group of snakes that are kept as pets. In this group are res-tailed boas and northern boas. These snakes do pretty well in captivity and can be handled with care. If handled incorrectly, they can constrict you and cause painful wounds.
Boa constrictors need plenty of room to wander both horizontally and vertically. They not only need a tall tank but a big enclosure in general. Boa constrictors should be provided with a hide and branches to explore all of the corners of their enclosures.
12. Spotted Python
The spotted python is a relatively small pet snake that is popularly kept in Australia. At maximum length, these snakes will only reach about 3 -4 feet in total.
Even though these snakes love to climb, they actually prefer smaller enclosures. A bigger enclosure may stress these shy animals out, so this is definitely a “less is more” situation.
Reptiles that need tall cages are synonymous with arboreal reptiles. These reptiles spend most of their days climbing trees and branches.
Arboreal reptiles can be so fun to keep because you can watch them travel all day long. If you have a tall tank, hopefully, you have some fun ideas of what you could get to fill it up next!