Animal species

Insects, spiders, scorpions, amphibians, lizards, snakes and turtles are the animal groups most commonly kept in terrariums. We'll give you tips on how to keep these animals, and to make the information easier to find, subdivide them not in rainforest and desert animals, but in the groups mentioned above. Although this is not systematically correct biologically, it will make your job easier.

Insects and myriapods

Although the insect group is huge, only a few species are regularly found in the terrarium. Even amongst the myriapods (millipedes, centipedes, and others) there are few species that are regularly kept. Both groups of animals are suitable for beginners. Only scolopendra are better left to the expert because of their toxicity!

Myriapods / millipedes (in the order of Julidae)

Millipedes live in rainforests on damp soil.


Scolopendra, centipedes of the family Scolopendridae, are aggressive predators with a length up to 25 cm.

Praying mantises

Praying mantises are fascinating creatures with an incredible variety of forms and species (2300 species).

Leaf insects and stick insects

With over 2500 species, these quirky insects are widespread.


Spiders & scorpions

Unlike the insects, all arachnids have not 6, but 8 legs. They have most of their nerve cells in their legs, so you could say they think with their legs! Spiders and scorpions are ideal for smaller terrariums. Extreme caution is required with some of them because of their toxicity. Please also remember that terrariums with poisonous animals should be secured with a lock ( JBL TerraSafe ). Spiders and scorpions do not require UV-A and B proportions in their lighting. They need light to generate heat but no UV radiation ( JBL ReptilJungle Daylight 24W , JBL SOLAR REPTIL JUNGLE T8 , JBL ReptilDay Halogen , JBL LED SOLAR NATUR , JBL Reptil LED Daylight 12W ).


The most popular spider group must be the tarantulas, which are also considered to be peaceful pets by the indigenous people of South America who keep them and let their children play with them (the spiders probably don’t like this much, but they tolerate it).


Scorpions are very interesting terrarium inhabitants and not difficult to keep.


Amphibians, also known as caudata and anura, can be fascinating terrarium inhabitants, and they are enormously attractive both in terms of colour and behaviour. Caudata (salamanders, newts, axolotls) can easily get used to substitute food, while frogs (anura) eat only live food such as flies and so on. This needs to be considered from the start when choosing your animals.


Axolotls are very primitive and cute creatures whose body form has never developed from a larval stage with gills.


Although newts live predominantly in the water, they also need a land section in the terrarium.

Poison dart frogs (dendrobates)

Poison dart frogs, also called dart-poison frogs or poison arrow frogs, are certainly among the most colourful terrarium dwellers.

Red-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas)

This must be one of the most beautiful frogs in the world and it comes from Central America.

Clawed frogs (Xenopus)

These frogs, which originated in Africa, live exclusively in the water and prefer calm waters with no current.


The lizards form an extremely diverse group of animals that has populated almost all habitats with the exception of the world’s ice regions. Only very few species are herbivores which can be fed without animal live food. Please give careful thought to the size of the terrarium you select. Many lizards are very large and need a lot of space. Climbing species require high terrariums, while ground dwellers need a lot of floor space. Aggression within the species can be extremely pronounced (eg in chameleons).

Central (or inland) bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)

Although these agamas need a terrarium size of at least 150 cm in length, they are among the most popular lizards of all.

Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx species)

These Agamas live in desert regions of North Africa and reach 30-40 cm in length.

Beaver-tailed agamas (Xenagama species)

These African highland lizards, which don’t grow larger than 15-20 cm, are becoming increasingly popular as their terrariums only need a length of 100 cm.

Chameleons (Chamaelo and Furcifer species)

It’s impossible to classify chameleons in one group.

Anolis species

Anolis species are very popular smaller lizards from the rainforests of Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

Collared lizards (Crotaphytus collaris, C. bicinctores)

Only 25-30 cm in length, they are one of the smaller iguana species.

Green iguana (Iguana iguana)

At a length of 2 m green iguanas are very impressive to look at and they need a correspondingly large terrarium with at least 2 x 2 x 2 m.

Common chuckwalla (Sauromalus obesus)

Chuckwallas live in rocky regions of North America’s desert areas with corresponding daytime temperatures between 30 and 40 ° C.

Geckos (Gekkota)

Geckos are very popular terrarium dwellers, but they inhabit very different biotopes.

Skinks (Scincomorpha)

With over 1000 species the skinks are the lizard group with the most species.

Monitor lizards (Varanus)

The 3 m long Komodo dragon must be the best known representative of this lizard group.


The fascinating group of snakes is incredibly diverse. It has everything - from almost 10 m long constrictors to 1 m long nonpoisonous colubrids to deadly venomous species. In the case of venomous species, securing the terrarium doors with a lock ( JBL TerraSafe ) is absolutely necessary! All snakes are predatory feeders. Many of them can be fed well with dead animals (e.g. mice or chicks). Some species like to hunt small fish & frogs, others insects and some species are very hard to get used to dead food. This needs to be clear to anyone interested in snakes. The contents of your freezer may need to change accordingly.

Depending on the habitat you'll need to build a dry, semi-dry or even a humid terrarium. A 3 m long boa constrictor imperator needs a terrarium with the dimensions 200 x 100 x 200 cm. Except for desert species, a bathing pool ( X JBL ReptilBar ) pool is almost always recommended. 

The bath water must be clean - either by filter or by daily renewal. For larger baths the JBL internal filter series JBL CristalProfi i is very well suited (for bathing pools up to 110 litres e.g. the JBL CRISTALPROFI i80 greenline ). It is best to use a water conditioner ( JBL Biotopol T ) to bind any existing pollutants such as heavy metals. Care should be taken when using climbing opportunities to ensure good anchorage and screw connection to the branches. Snakes have enormous physical strengths and can bring almost any decoration down. This also applies to rock constructions in desert terrariums, which need to be well inter-connected with a non-toxic adhesive ( JBL PROHARU UNIVERSAL ). The type of substrate depends on the snake species being kept. For many of them, such as pythons and colubrids JBL TerraBasis is well suited. Very large constrictors prefer coarser substrates like JBL TerraCoco coconut chips. But also beech wood shavings, such as JBL TerraWood are very popular with boas and pythons. For desert snakes JBL TerraSand natural yellow is mostly used. Since most snakes are day-active, lighting with UV content is a must. With the help of metal halide lamps JBL ReptilDesert L-U-W Light alu (Special lamp for use in reptile keeping! Not suitable for other applications! No EEK label required. Exemption according to (EU) 2019/2015 Annex IV 3. c) UV radiation > 2mW/klm) and the JBL UV-Spot plus (Special lamp for use in reptile keeping! Not suitable for other applications! No EEK label required. Exemption according to (EU) 2019/2015 Annex IV 3. c) UV radiation > 2mW/klm) the right UV-A and B supply is always ensured. Even for nocturnal species such as the green tree python, UV radiation is important because the decrease in UV radiation in the evening is the start of its activity time and it receives a lot of UV radiation during the daytime during its resting phase in the treetops. It is vital to research the living conditions of your own snake species.


Virtually all constrictors come from forest biotopes.


Most colubrid species are nonpoisonous and because of their small size very well suited for terrariums.

Vipers, pit vipers, elapids and back-fanged snakes (Boiginae)

Only about 10% of all snake species are poisonous and we need to differentiate between their toxicity. A species can indeed have an extremely strong poison, but injects only a small amount (sea snakes) or have a less toxic poison which is injected in large quantities.

Tortoises and turtles

Turtles and tortoises have reached most biotopes: the sea, the land, the swamps and the fresh water, and the terrarium design needs to be adapted accordingly. When buying juveniles people often forget the size the animals will reach when fully grown and which terrarium size will then be needed. They also tend to forget the high ages they can reach!


Tortoises are the most common terrarium animals ever.

Turtles and pond turtles

The active little juveniles inspire everyone who sees them.

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