I've got a woodie!
Well, I'm sketching plans for one at least. Got your attention?
My little coastal carpet will not be so little one day, and I would like to give him a great looking enclosure. Dimensions will be 4'x2'x2'. Would have liked to go 5' long, but just don't have the space for it.
I"m thinking of building from A/B grade plywood and just paint the whole outside. Inside will get a fake rock treatment via styrofoam and concrete, possibly some type of sealer on the concrete. Qucikcrete is naturally waterproof once dry isn't it? The side panels will have acrylic windows, and acrylic sliding doors on the front.
I'm thinking 18" windows in the 24" side panels. Any opinions on whether 1/8" vs. 1/4" acrylic for this?
The sliding doors will be 1/4" acrylic. The question here is to use the plastic sliding track, or just use the router to make the slots? I've heard that acrylic doesn't slide very well in wood. I wonder how well the plastic sliding tracks hold the pane, I.E. could the snake push the glass out of the track?
Let the brainstorming begin!
If I were doing this, I would leave out side windows. It might just be me, but I prefer my reptiles' cages with only the fronts visible, for the animal's comfort, if I can help it (yet, I keep my green trees and Corallus in all glass exoterras...go figure). I also would recommend against the fake rock. It might look nice, but that is going to be a @#($* to clean and disinfect, I'd think. I'd seal the wood on the inside, paint it, if you want, and give him about an 8" wide shelf along the length of the back. It's a carpet python classic, and works well.
NO idea on the sliding acrylic. Although, what if you router the slots wide enough to fit the plastic tracks inside of it? You'll get the smooth slide of acrylic on plastic, yet the security of the track being encased in the wood.
EDIT: Also, you didn't say anything about heating, but I highly recommend ProProducts radiant heat panels (shameless plug) for a project like this. They're thin, light-weight, safe (get hot to the touch, but cannot burn the animal), and can last up to 40 years. Be sure to use them with a thermostat.
How high is the shelf normally? Just smack in the middle, or a little lower as to make it a bit cozy?
The heating will probably end up being a 2' long strip of 11" Flex-watt on one end. I feel the snake should be OK with the see through sides because of the plant-cover. The fake rock is to house some built in planter locations. Something along the lines of some flowerpots glued in, to accept other planted pots. Should make things quick and easy to switch out as they get trampled.
Most cages would have the shelf in the middle, though I don't think the height is very important. You could probably put it wherever you wanted.