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#1389057 - 04/16/15 06:36 PM DIY custom habitat
alixdor Offline
Out of Pouch

Registered: 04/14/15
Posts: 57
Loc: Canada Ontario outside of the ...
Hello, I am new hear and not yet a glider mommy but will be on monday.
I am rescuing 2 gliders and will be taking 2 others from a friend as well. I am a bit of a habitat building hobbyist, building custom habitats, terrarium and vivariums in my spare time. I have decided to do the same for my new gliders (hopefully they all end up in 1 big happy colony or I will have to make another habitat)

Here are my plans, please any advice or tips would be appreciated.
I will also attach all links to websites where I am purchasing my products incase anyone would like to buy some, or give me advice on weather or not it is sugar glider appropriate. I am still learning and really want to make sure all products are non-toxic to the gliders and gentle on their paws.

/Users/ChristineBaillargeon/Desktop/11149185_10153121163398700_466703241_n.jpg

^ I am moving my table out of this nook to dedicate the area to the enclosure. They will be in a relatively common area so they will can a lot of attention even when they are not being held.
The area they will occupy is 82.5" wide by 28" deep and 6 feet high (this is the space within, already having accounted for the thickness of materials)

The ceiling itself is 9 feet high, therefore I will build a bench type area on the bottom portion with doors for storage and access to the electric plugs.

The two pot lights will fall within the enclosure, but they are on a separate switch then all other lights in the room and are on a dimmer, I may or may not put in moonlight bulbs (opinions?) There will be 2 inches between light and wire so that the gliders cannot touch it. I will also place a plastic cover on hinges for easy access to lights and stream-line top of enclosure with ceiling.

I have a quote foor a custom shower pan, built to size, which will be placed on the bottom of the enclosure, resting on the bench. I will have a small pvc pipe dumping into a pale. This will only be for ease of clean-up and rinsing. The link to the shower base company is here:
http://www.simpleshowersolutions.com <- also if anyone has tips on drain covers, I could also have it blocked off by the hardware mesh.

In the back right corner, just about the drain, I will utilize that mini nook to store a small water pump and build a full length drip wall. Drip walls are very neat, I will have water dripping along polished pebbles. The system is very slow, and there will be no puddle at the bottom. I will have it pumped through a straw sized tube back through the water filtration. I will have access to the water filtration and pump system from underneath the enclosure. I still haven't made a decision on the pump system yet but I am looking into getting the exo terra cascade pump as the drip wall will be 6 feet high and it is an adjustable system. The drip wall is commonly used in many zoos as the best way to stimulate natural drinking habits, and ensuring water freshness and quality. Like all enclosures I build great care will go into ensuring that EVERYTHING is out of reach from the gliders and there is NO possibility of them drowning or getting stuck. I do have a question.
Does anyone know if silicone is safe for gliders? I would glue pebbles to plastic backing for wall with 100% silicone.

On the second half of the nook, towards the outside of the beam protrusion along the right wall I will build a fake fig tree trunk, I do this by carving foams, sanding, grunting the foam, painting and sealing the grout so it is both water proof and non-toxic. This is a very common method in vivarium building with several sensitive animals. I would have a removable insert which would store a wooden nest. This nest will be purchased from the glider superstore online, and replaced regularly as smell does stick. There will be a whole in the fake trunk to access the nest, multiple plastic branches will be sticking out of the trunk for glider to climb up to nest of have easy access to drip wall for drinking. I have 1 question. Should I be worried that grout will be too hard on the gliders paws? I normally sand everything down before sealing, and my gecko has sensitive paws just like a glider and he is fine.

against all 3 walls and the ceiling, attached to one another and siliconed to the shower pan will be wire mesh specifically this kind —> http://www.walmart.com/ip/Honey-Can-Do-6...dingMethod=p13n

If anyone can tell me if this is the proper type of coating for gliders, and if the holes are the right size I would greatly appreciate it.

Inside of the caging I will tightly hang a custom vinyl banner made by a local sign shop and friend. It will be of a tropical australian background (still haven't chosen it. The banner will make it easier to clean and can be punctured to install shelving, toys etc to the mires behind it. The banner will not cost me much so I will buy several, that way when I am changing the set up around and there all holes everywhere I can just replace it.

Over top of the banner I will tightly attach hardware mesh (to the wire behind the banner. This will make it easier for gliders to climb the walls of their cage. the mesh will be clear so we can still see the back ground. this is the product I will purchase —> http://www.industrialnetting.com/on4130.html
Advice on this product would be great.

I will also (outside of the cage) over top of the drip wall, attach an air ventilation system which will have a pvc pipe going down user the enclosure and camouflaged so we can't tell it's there. This way the gliders will have constant fresh air. Again the vent will be on the outside of the cage and use the free space in the little nook behind the drip wall. this is the system I will install —> http://www.ipscorp.com/plumbing/studor/minivent

I have also been thinking about building 2 more fake tree trunks, one in the middle but against the wall, like a half trunk. And one against the left far corner parallel to the drip wall. within these trunk I would have carved out 4 various "shelves" kind of like caves within the trunk. Imagine an arch with a flat surface inside the trunk. This would be where I feed to gliders, each with their own location and portion of food. There would be various fake branches and ladders to climb to each dinner location.

The extra tree trunk on the left back corner could also incorporate another nest. I will be trying to get two sets of gliders together and with the assumption that they don't all get along I could either build another custom habitat or place a cage wire barrier in the middle, and add an extra drip wall and nesting box on the left side. Please if anyone has any advice about this let me know. I would weave the wall with vines to create privacy between the colonies.

Since the ceiling will be covered in the wire caging I wanted to have various vines with leaves weaved throughout the caging to make it look like the tops of trees.

Using the ceiling cage wire and poking wholes throughout the vinyl banner to attach things to the cage wire along the walls I would have multiple platforms and toys, which I would regularly change around for variety. All of these extras could be stored under the habitat.

Under the habitat I would have a large cut to fit piece of plastic attached to the bottom of the structure by hinges to open for easy access to all the storage, plugs, drainage, water filter/pump and air exchange system. I would decorate the outside of the panel and top panel over the space for the lights with foam which I would carve to look like a trunk again and glue leaves to my ceiling. The habitat would look like a giant fig tree with a habitat inside.

The final part is the front of the cages barrier and doors. I am looking into having safety glass shower doors installed. The doors would be french doors giving me full access to the entire unit for proper cleaning and making it possible for me to open only one side at a time if I needed to instal the middle divider.

The habitat would obviously have a thermometer and hygrometer as well to better control temperature and humidity levels.

To summarize the products and things I have questions on are:

—> Did I make a good choice for wire caging?
—> Did I make a good choice for hardware mesh?
—> Do you think sealed a sanded grout is a good idea?
—> Do you have advice on types of drain covers?
—> Is silicone safe for sugar gliders?
—> Is the exo terra moonlight bulb a good idea?
—> Do you think that will be enough ventilation?
—> what do you think of my location choice?
—> Do you think the shower pan is a good idea?
—> Do you think it would be wise to put a divider if the 4 don't get along, or is it better to build a whole new habitat? [img][/img] [img][/img]


Attachments
11149185_10153121163398700_466703241_n.jpg (32 downloads)



Edited by alixdor (04/16/15 06:38 PM)
_________________________
Mum to Eva & Brie
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Gecko Galileo Galilee & 4 babies
Hedgehog Gandalf
Chihuahua Milou
Bettas Pablo Picasso & M.C. Escher
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Current Research, Studies & Resources
#1389061 - 04/16/15 07:52 PM Re: DIY custom habitat [Re: alixdor]
Terry Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 04/29/12
Posts: 4963
Loc: Maryland
I'm going to let someone more experienced with glider-safe materials and building to respond to your description of plans. They sound massive and technical, I can't really picture it in my mind.

Here's what I do know:
I do know that hardware mesh is a popular material used for home-made enclosures as well as pvc piping.

I've used "moonlight" bulbs for my Leo from time to time, but mostly ended up using the red lights for both my lizards. I had the red lights on thermostats so they would be on at night and during the day if needed to raise temps. For my Leo, I used a regular iridescent light for day time heat side and the Mega-Ray for my dragon. I'm not sure how the gliders would do with moonlight bulbs. I've used red and orange bulbs in the room where their cage is (usually my bedroom) for a night light so I can view them to check on, and they are not affected by those. I have also used colored lights for lighting for "out of cage" playtime so I can see where they are and what they're up to, lol. I would be slightly concerned if they'd have access to the lighting though, I'm sure you're considering all safety hazards.

I wish I could advise more on your other ideas, I just think if it's used in a habitat for sugar gliders at zoos, it should be safe, I just don't know that much about all of that.

I love naturalistic setups for exotics, as long as everything you're planing is glider-specific safe, then I can't wait to see it.

off_topic
I also wanted to add that I once had a Leo and a Rankin's Bearded Dragon, and loved cleaning and designing their habitats. I am now enjoying designing safe and fun cage environments for my gliders. I have to admit, I've never come close to the extent to call me a hobbyist, but it's something I just find enjoyable. After cleaning and designing, I'd return my babies to their habitat and enjoy watching them explore and take in their new setups and sometimes new furnishings. My Slimmy (my Leo) would take a slow stroll around his habitat (he had a 20gal long) and just check it all out. He always looked like he was smiling, and I miss him so much. I also miss my little dragon, he was such a mommy's boy, waiting up for me when I had late nights, sometimes falling asleep at the front, half up on the side of his habitat when I was really late.

Back on topic, well sort of: I've thought if I ever get another pair of gliders/or other pets down the road, I would name them Hoot and Nanny, I think Hoot would work for a boy or girl, while Nanny would be strictly girls name, lol.


Edited by Terry (04/16/15 07:55 PM)
_________________________
Lives with:
1 God
1 dog, (Willow)
2 Sugies, (Ollie & Skadoosh)
R.I.P. Lulu (2/28/12-10/13/17)

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#1389065 - 04/16/15 08:27 PM Re: DIY custom habitat [Re: Terry]
alixdor Offline
Out of Pouch

Registered: 04/14/15
Posts: 57
Loc: Canada Ontario outside of the ...
you are both hilarious and adorable. I know what you mean about missing your boys though. I've only had my leo a short time and the thought of life without Galileo is heart breaking. I'm in the process of making him a new tank, a 10 gal. 10 gals are really hard to get the temps right on both sides and within the hides. Plus to have enough space for the leo to walk around with 3 hides. It's a lot. But I figured out a system. By using insulation foam I can easily control temps between each hide and sides. I've also carved the hides to be "underground" so that there is more room to climb and walk around. I think he'll like it. He isn't using much of his 20 gal, he prefers to stay in one area. He's still a juvenile so a smaller tank with an UTH for belly warmth will be best. I added a photo of it so far, just finished the carving and gluing and ready for first layer of grout. I love making habitats.

Thanks for the tips on lighting, the red bulb was another one I was considering. I will be putting the wire two inches away from the pot lights so I can change the bulbs easily and the gliders can't touch them. and better for ventilation too.

I'm still lost on names, I'm big on naming them after famous scientists or people who have shaped the world. It's a great way to introduce my kids to world history too. exp. I had 2 poison dart frogs who just passed frown but their names were Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie-Antoinette cause I figured what better names for frogs lol (I'm french I can say that lol)

Anyways any more tips or ideas would be great THANK YOU :D


Attachments
11136648_10153107797753700_6850370219763507068_n.jpg (23 downloads)

_________________________
Mum to Eva & Brie
Bengals Nala & Simba
Gecko Galileo Galilee & 4 babies
Hedgehog Gandalf
Chihuahua Milou
Bettas Pablo Picasso & M.C. Escher
Cockatiel Charles Darwin
Suggies
:wfb: Tesla, Ollie & Akbar The Great :bb: Loki & Kaiya :leu: Grace Kelly :grey: Omeo :plat: Audrey Hepburn

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#1389066 - 04/16/15 08:31 PM Re: DIY custom habitat [Re: alixdor]
CandyOtte Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 5138
Loc: Lutz Florida
I got a bit lost in your detailed description but I will toss out a few thoughts for discussion.

First - while I know you are trying to create a wonderful habitat for your gliders, the biggest issue will be CLEANING.

Covering the walls with any type of mesh to allow the gliders to climb on the walls and ceiling will not protect the drywall behind the mesh from glider Pee, Poop and sticky food mess that they will manage to get everywhere. Even with an easy to clean pan on the bottom, you will find it difficult to scrub the walls and wire mesh.

Drywall will absorb the odor and is very difficult to clean.

The wire shelving/storage units you plan to use on the walls have openings large enough for gliders to just walk through. It would need to be secured in a way that the gliders cannot get through it or behind it - flush against the wall. Any cage wire you choose should have no more than 1/2 inch between the cage bars.

The plastic mesh shown I am not familiar with but it needs to be a sturdy plastic that will not stretch with the weight of the gliders climbing on it. 1/4 inch holes may prove difficult to hang anything from the cage walls that are covered by this material. If it is a thin plastic the gliders could chew or tear holes large enough to escape.

Quote:
Inside of the caging I will tightly hang a custom vinyl banner made by a local sign shop and friend. It will be of a tropical australian background (still haven't chosen it. The banner will make it easier to clean and can be punctured to install shelving, toys etc to the mires behind it. The banner will not cost me much so I will buy several, that way when I am changing the set up around and there all holes everywhere I can just replace it.


I would hesitate to use any type of vinyl banner. It would be difficult to guarantee that the paint/ink applied to make the image is NONTOXIC. When climbing the glider's nails will scratch off minute pieces of the image which they might ingest. Each place you have to puncture the banner for mounting anything is a spot where glider pee can seep behind the banner and also an easy to tear spot that your gliders will probably be interested in investigating.

I definitely would NOT have glass shower doors built to enclose the habitat. With the solid walls and glass front there would be little to no air circulation in the room. Glass doors would also prohibit your gliders from coming to the front of the cage for you to offer a treat through the cage bars. The glass would need to be covered with plastic mesh in order for your gliders to climb on it at all.

The size of the habitat alone could also be an issue with cleaning - if you cannot reach the entire surface of the enclosure you will not be able to clean the walls.

You will also not be able to reach your gliders if they choose to go to a high point in the cage totally out of your reach.

Quote:
Drip walls are very neat, I will have water dripping along polished pebbles. The system is very slow, and there will be no puddle at the bottom.


I would definitely not include this in the cage design. Gliders should not be put in an area where they are going to get wet. They can chill very easily and even though there will not be a drowning hazard, it is likely that your gliders would get wet easily which could cause health issues.

Before you begin your habitat project, I recommend that you get the largest standard glider cage you can (the Congo from Exotic Nutrition is a great cage for glider colonies) and use that for some time while you get to know your gliders and learn more first hand about their habits and the mess they are able to make.

I really prefer cages that I can wheel outside now and then for a good scrub down with dawn dish soap and hose rinsing. I let the cages dry in the sun for additional sanitization as well.

My glider room has a sheet of plexiglass attached to the wall behind the cages (I have 3 colonies) because plexiglass is much easier to scrub clean than the painted wall it protects.

The floor is vinyl laminate 'wood' which is easy to vacuum and mop clean weekly.
_________________________
Candy Otte
& the Glider Kids
Sassy, Corky, Mehitabel & Missy
Wacco, Yacco, & Dot
Mindy, Kanobles, Elmo, & Chipper

http://www.gliderkids-diet.com

CandyOtte@aol.com

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#1389068 - 04/16/15 11:57 PM Re: DIY custom habitat [Re: CandyOtte]
alixdor Offline
Out of Pouch

Registered: 04/14/15
Posts: 57
Loc: Canada Ontario outside of the ...
You make a very good point about the banner. I will speak with the printer myself, since he is a good friend I am certain he will be honest with me and not just try to sell me a products. Another option could be the paint a mural but then the wire would still show. hmmmm… I will have to keep thinking of ideas lol

Thank you for letting me know about the size of the wire holes, I wasn't sure, so I will keep shopping. You just saved me BIG time smile But the coating was ok right?

With regards to the glass doors, I am still weighing out my options in terms of financing. The idea of having fully opening windows is an option too. I can also temporarily remove one window and place wiring. switch it up. But there will be a two inch gap at the top (wired of course) and I have plans for a small air-exchange system which would filter through the top and bottom. This would also help maintain temperature and humidity levels (via my thermometer and hygrometer). It's also important like you said that I get a large enough door to access the entire habitat, probably using a chair cause I'm short lol.

I love your idea of plexiglass along your walls :D I will do the same.

Also the drip wall…. I'm still looking into it. I love the idea because it keep the water fresh and filtered, it also stimulates the natural drinking behaviour. You make a very good point about the gliders getting wet and cold though. I will call some zoos who use drip walls for drinking and see how they deal with that issue. Thank you :D

I have 2 extra large congo cages as is and one small "hospital cage". I'm going to take my time with this like you said. I agree, it's very important that everything I build can be taken apart for cleaning. That's going to be the most complex part of the engineering, it's difficult but doable. It's always to must stressful part of all my terrariums and vivariums too, especially when they are built ins. I have built and designed many, even for the local zoo, but never for a sugar glider before. And sugar gliders are by far the most high needs animal I have ever built or planned for (and to think I helped design the local zoo's 900 lbs alligator). Reptiles are always easier to build for for some reason.

It comforts me to know that you have 3 colonies. What was your opinion on the idea of having wiring separate the habitat in half with leafing for privacy to keep both colonies separate? Or would you recommend I build another habitat all together?

Do you know what kind of hardware mesh people normally use?
_________________________
Mum to Eva & Brie
Bengals Nala & Simba
Gecko Galileo Galilee & 4 babies
Hedgehog Gandalf
Chihuahua Milou
Bettas Pablo Picasso & M.C. Escher
Cockatiel Charles Darwin
Suggies
:wfb: Tesla, Ollie & Akbar The Great :bb: Loki & Kaiya :leu: Grace Kelly :grey: Omeo :plat: Audrey Hepburn

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#1389074 - 04/17/15 09:07 AM Re: DIY custom habitat [Re: alixdor]
CandyOtte Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 09/03/08
Posts: 5138
Loc: Lutz Florida
It might be safer to have separate enclosures. I have not tried to introduce my colonies but the gliders for the most part seem to be OK with each other. There are nights when some of the boys crab at each other between cages, probably when one of the girls is in heat. I do keep the cages about 4 inches apart so there can be no tail grabbing or actual biting or scratching between gliders in different cages.

_________________________
Candy Otte
& the Glider Kids
Sassy, Corky, Mehitabel & Missy
Wacco, Yacco, & Dot
Mindy, Kanobles, Elmo, & Chipper

http://www.gliderkids-diet.com

CandyOtte@aol.com

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