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My Wild Backyard and Vivariums

Vivarium for Wildlife

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Feeder Insects
Terrarium, Vivarium
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Building Large Terrariums
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Making Outdoor Critter Houses
Backyard Pond Attraction
Taxonomy
Amphibians
Reptiles
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Garden Insects
Butterflies and Moths
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My Backyard Gallery
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If you'd like to build a vivarium and put critters from the backyard in it like I did, it really isn't much different from buying one. You need to know the species, what they eat, what kind of environment they like best and what conditions they like most for breeding if at all.

You still have to calcium and vitamin powder their food like crickets, how large can the food be before it's too big for them to eat. If you see poop, they're eating.

You need to catch the critter while they are a very young age as adults are more apt to die even in a perfect vivarium just for being homesick. Don't mix them in with any animals not their own species. Make sure they are a species that can tolerate the presence of another male in their territory.

Don't tank an endangered species, even if you intend to re-introduce the young to your back yard. At least make sure you are very capable of having successful breeding and check with Wildlife Services to see if you would need a wildlife licence for it (a permit to raise wild animals for rescue and re-introduction).

Below is more or less a list I've rendered of common backyard critters you can viviarium.

Green Tree Frog: The Hyla's

Various species of Hyla are common in my backyard. Perhaps the most common throughout the US is the Hyla Cinerea. These guys prefer a tropical environment much like a dart frog with plenty of moisture, some misting and plants. But, they change colors so having greens and browns in the tank is beneficial for them. They like to hide to the wall, rather than underneath things on the ground. The most ideal hide spots for tree frogs like the Hyla's is to place smooth sided bark along the sides of the tank wall or what I did was cut pieces of green plastic tin-roofing and set them against the walls where they like to hide between the glass and the wavy grooves. Most of the Hyla's live with each other just fine, they prefer to be in groups and can be found anywhere from under plywood to around rolled up garden hose, inside pooling plants to green houses and back porches. They are most attracted to where there is going to be moisture or water and bright greens. They'd love plants like elephant ear, bromeliad or even millet and barley from just letting your wild bird seed grow.


Green House Tree Frog: Eleutherodactylus Planirostris

I don't know if you'll ever see these guys yourself. They're very small but exceptional leapers and prefer being under things like bark and leaves to a damp to somewhat wet soil. I've found them under plywood sharing space with the spotted Hyla Squirrela. They like the sort of labrynth jungle of their vivarium plants and don't 'stick to the wall' like the Hyla's but they could leap out of a 10gal without a problem. Difficult to spot and very shy, and very fast.

Green Anole: Anolis Carolinensis

Prefer a tall tank, I have mine in a 40gal tall with a screen top lid and fluorescent lighting with plants for green and bark for browns and hiding since they like to hide to the wall, so it's all standing up and kind of layered with some sticks for climbing. They love camouflage, kind of 'getting into the bushes' the more jungle of tall greens the merrier. I'm growing a potato in there to make up for the fern that died, they were allot more active than they are now with more cover to slip around in. They sort of come up for air for a nice open spot like on the glass or atop a branch to sun, or the male will also pick a nice open spot to 'shake his money bag' for mating and territory rites with rival males. They would never tolerate another male in their tank. Anoles like moist a little more on the dry side, so I spray/mist the tank for them to drink everyday but use the screen top to keep the humidity down. In the wild they're just everywhere there's going to be something green, something warm, or dry wood like between the sidings of a house. They especially love to hang around my compost pile, hibiscus, aloe vera and wild vining jungles like honeysuckle and vining buttercups, but they stake out territories too so I'm always seeing the same lizards in the same places. They can very easily be found around fences too but in the winter they basically get into things like deep wood or between stones to hibernate. They won't hibernate in a vivarium which isn't harmful.

Mediterranean Gecko: Hemidactylus Turcicus