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Q: Has anyone built a habitat out of furniture?
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I am looking for some creative inspiration and wanted to see what other iHerpers may have done.

I would like to build a homemade habitat for a medium sized boa out of a piece of furniture.  What I sort of have in mind is a china-cabinet or armoire with drawers on the bottom that would still be functional, and the hutch on top converted into a habitat with sliding glass doors.

I have looked around on the web and not found much---a few things built from bookcases.

So, anyone have any creative homemade habitats to share?


Points: 100
Topics: Caging , Caging Plans
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Member Comment 11/3/2008 2:41:32 PM

I saw a really cool enclosure once made from an old TV set.  Probably easy to find old TV sets, from back before they were flat screened!  But, I think an armoire would be really cool.
Member Comment 11/3/2008 2:58:50 PM

I tried to make one from a china cabinet once...But the owner of the cabinet wasnt too happy. Other than that i havent seen anyone else try anything like it. Its a great idea though. Let us know how it turns out.
Member Comment 11/3/2008 3:14:53 PM

I bet you could check ikea if you have it nearby also target. Dont forget thrift funiature and garage sales! You could check those assmble it yourself entertainment centers and stuff like that. They should be easy enough to modify. Good luck I would like to see this. I am looking at a closet organizer system at home depot that uses storage tubs as a rack system for the snakes im keeping in the house and if its cheap and it works it may be what I use in the herp house. Its plastic resin and fairly sturdy. It wont be as visualy stimulating as what you have in mind though.
Accepted Answer 11/3/2008 3:35:54 PM

Being in the business designing and engineering furniture I've seen all kinds of cabinets being used. I even made myself an enclosure on wheels I used as my coffee table until moisture got the best of it. That's the key factor you have to think about afterwards is sealing the inside very well. Armoires and china cabinets work well especially for aboreals and lizards like iguanas because of the height. Older TV cabinets gutted out work well, I've even seen a 50 inch projection TV cabinet using the existing clear screen as the front converted into a cage. I'll have to see if there are any pics I can find. In the meantime there are a lot of sites that make custom enclosures that look like furniture which might give you some ideas.

Assisted Answer 11/3/2008 4:02:20 PM

I was gonna say the same thing as jeffriey, the only thing about wood is its porous and over time, the wood would warp and mold out.  Good luck.
Author Comment 11/3/2008 4:10:42 PM

Thanks for the encouragement everyone!  Jeffriey---  I love the cages on those sites.....if only I was independently wealthy my whole family room would be full of them!

I am definitely thinking along the lines of a used piece of furniture.  I keep scouring Craig's List for something that looks just perfect for starting material. 

I would love to hear more ideas and see pics if anyone has them!
Assisted Answer 11/3/2008 4:36:02 PM

Wood will definitely do that especially some veneers but there are a lot of different paints and varnishes out there with low VOC's you can use, even some marine paints. Kaiyudsai passed on a brilliant idea to me (man's a genius and I'm supposed to be the engineer here) of using fibreglass resin to coat the inside of a wooden enclosure. It has a rapid curing time which reduces any VOC's and once cured almost eliminating it. If you can pm an email address I can send you some pics of a tall china cabinet that was converted. It was posted in an ad but I saw the step by step building of it on a forum so I don't want to post them. You might want to look at some of the enclosure forums on some of the other sites to see if there is anything. Some people will post threads of their projects with pics too.There may be some videos on youtube also. Maybe Mitch or Jarred may have seen something that they can refer you to.
Assisted Answer 11/3/2008 4:49:50 PM

I saw a really neat coffee table enclosure. It looked something like this: http://www.brockwoodterriers.com/Uro/Pictures/Cage_Lt_Front.jpg only more coffee table style..esque..   I can't find it.. but I did try.
Assisted Answer 11/3/2008 4:58:37 PM

Of course I find it after I've posted.. http://www.ssnakess.com/forums/enclosure-reptile-room-showcase/80960-i-found-some-custom-tanks-beautiful-showcases-your-reptiles.html

Assisted Answer 11/3/2008 5:09:05 PM

And while I was surffing the internet, I also stumbled across the aforementioned "TV set"  enclosure that JohnJohn may have been talking about.


Member Comment 11/3/2008 5:10:47 PM

Very nice...oh you're on a roll here girl...keep surfing lol
Member Comment 11/3/2008 5:32:08 PM

I think you would need to find an antique hutch to have one with a solid back -- all the mdoern stuff seems to made with fiberboard backing. :(

If you could find the right piece of furniture, I think it would look awesome!  Good luck in your search (I suspect it will be difficult).
Member Comment 11/3/2008 8:16:33 PM

That's a very good point Rebecca. You would have to replace the back on most units and possibly some other panels that just aren't there to support any other than the orignal use. Unless you create another box for example for the interior some of the internal panels might even have holes drilled in that need to be covered up etc. Either way if you find a piece of furntiure that you like and want to convert I'd be happy to make suggestions or pointers to help get it built into an enclosure for you.  Hope you find something. Lets us know.....
Member Comment 11/3/2008 11:06:50 PM

I started building some cages that look like furniture....I'll post a blog..... I can send you my plans if you want
Assisted Answer 11/4/2008 12:37:30 AM


Here's an awesome snake cage that's very furniture-esque. http://www.constrictors.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15957

Every time I see someone giving away free or selling cheap furniture on Craigslist I want to get it and turn it into a snake tank... especially when there's entertainment centers- could fit a lot of snakes in those! XD

Author Comment 11/4/2008 6:53:21 AM

Wow!  Thanks everyone--- all of the pieces are amazing.  I love the coffee table enclosure.  Thanks to everyone who posted ideas!  I feel inspired and like I have some good things to consider---especially how to waterproof it on the inside.  I'll keep looking for just the right piece of furniture and post it to see what people have to suggest......
Member Comment 11/4/2008 11:33:17 AM

i look at all the furniture in the house as enclosures now..almost all are capable of being one =p
Assisted Answer 11/4/2008 7:43:42 PM

Check This out Though you have to be a member of reptilescanada forum It is an amazing high quality 200plus gallon crestie tank http://www.reptilescanada.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32751
Assisted Answer 11/4/2008 7:45:42 PM

Heres one I built here and is now 4 cages tall
Assisted Answer 11/4/2008 7:55:45 PM

Lastly I found this display case at a recycling yard Installed a light and a vent and it is perfect
Member Comment 11/4/2008 10:45:58 PM

WHOA!! Those are cool cages, but HOW DID YOU POST PICS HERE?!?!?
Member Comment 11/5/2008 1:15:00 AM

Awesome Mitch...I don't remember seeing that cage on Reptiles Canada but it's definitely a nice piece.
Author Comment 11/5/2008 7:58:30 AM

Wow!  Those are all awesome!  I LOVE the display case habitat---  I love antique furniture and that looks like it is a nice old piece.  I am definitely going to step up my search for a project to work on.  If I could find something like that display case that would be outstanding.   

That crestie habitat is also amazing.  It looks huge!

I'm excited now.....maybe I will drive up to some antique stores this afternoon and look for the perfect starting material.

Thanks so much everyone!
Member Comment 11/5/2008 5:10:28 PM

Wow.. I love the display case one, as well as the cresty one.  One day I will attempt such feats.
Member Comment 11/28/2008 12:44:45 PM

I think a china cabinet would be a great cage for a chondro all you gotta do is clean it add locks and heat, you may also wanna treat the inside to resist water damage. but all in all i think a china cabinet would be bad a$$
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