ReptiFiles received a free 36″ x 18″ x 18″ Repti Zoo Easy Folding Reptile Terrarium in exchange for an honest review, whether positive or negative. The review below is my honest, unbiased opinion.
Some say that glass is a terrible material for reptile enclosures. They claim that glass enclosures are too heavy, too expensive, less secure, and struggle to hold heat and humidity. These claims are true (to an extent), but for the most part, I don’t see these attributes as a reason to stop using them. In fact, I assert that they are fantastic for holding reptiles:
Glass may be heavy and expensive, but it’s also beautiful. There’s something particularly attractive about a slice of nature encapsulated in a shining all-glass terrarium that PVC or even wood just can’t match.
Glass enclosures are only less secure when they open from the top. In fact, if you think that glass enclosures are an escape risk, you’re probably actually thinking of top-opening aquariums repurposed for use with reptiles. Front-opening glass terrariums with hinged doors are actually highly escape-resistant! They’re not perfect, but they’re still more effective than most other options on the market.
Glass enclosures facilitate more diverse temperature gradients. Because reptiles are poikilothermic, having access to areas of warmth and cool is essential to their ability to regulate their body temperature. However, this can be difficult when you’re trying to create a temperature gradient in a small enclosure, or when the species you’re housing has very high basking temperature requirements or low ambient temperature requirements. Glass terrariums solve what can otherwise be a huge problem for PVC and wood enclosures.
Glass enclosures ventilate better. It’s true that an increasing proportion of PVC enclosures are being built with screen tops, but glass enclosures typically have a higher percentage of mesh on top, plus additional venting in the front. All of this airflow does mean that it’s harder to maintain consistently high humidity (which means you’ll have to mist more frequently and/or use a humidifier), but it also means that your enclosure has a higher oxygen concentration and your pet is less likely to suffer from stagnation-related illnesses such as respiratory infection and scale rot.
In other words, front-opening glass terrariums are a staple of the reptile hobby, and although PVC is popular, I don’t foresee them disappearing anytime in the future.
Meet Repti Zoo's Easy Folding Reptile Terrariums
Repti Zoo is one of the leading budget reptile supply distributors on Amazon. I’ve been keeping an eye on them for a while (one of those “I really should test drive those products sometime” situations), so when Repti Zoo reached out to me about doing a product review, it was like fate! After looking through their catalog, I settled on three representative products that I was most curious about and felt could be the most beneficial to improving reptile husbandry.
Up until relatively recently, brands like Exo Terra and Zoo Med have been the industry leaders for glass terrariums because those are the terrariums you’ll find sitting on pet store shelves. Because glass is heavy and fragile, glass terrariums generally weren’t available for sale online for a long time. However, it seems this limitation is rapidly becoming a thing of the past as distributors innovate to cater to the needs of online shoppers. And Repti Zoo is one of the brands leading that charge with glass terrariums which are shipped flat-packed rather than all in one piece.
Repti Zoo offers a wide range of front-opening terrariums to accommodate most popular reptiles – in fact, the widest selection of sizes I’ve ever seen offered by a single brand. However, if we’re talking specifically about their Easy Folding Reptile Terrariums (NRK Series):
- 24”L x 18”W x 18”H
- 36”L x 18”W x 18”H
- 36”L x 18”W x 24”H
- 48”L x 18”W x 18”H
- 48”L x 24”W x 24”H
When I first saw these enclosures on Amazon, I was highly skeptical. But as the 4- and 5-star reviews started stacking up, my curiosity was piqued. So, to see what they’re all about, I requested to review a common size: the classic and versatile 36x18x18 (also known as a “40 gallon,” even though their actual capacity is closer to 50 gallons).
What I’m hoping to see from the Repti Zoo Easy Folding Reptile Terrarium is excellent packing, ease of assembly, sturdiness post-assembly, and a functional design.
- 36”L x 18”W x 18”H
- Weighs 55lbs
- Advertised as “5-minute setup/knock-down”
- Hybrid tempered glass and PVC construction
- hinged glass doors
- glass side panels
- glass base
- PVC back panel
- hinged PVC frame
- coated aluminum full-mesh top
- Base comes pre-assembled
- Pre-sealed (watertight) base
- Basin measures 4” tall in front, 6” tall on sides, 5” tall on back
- Raised bottom frame for safe use of under-tank heating
- Large circular wire port on side
- Removable mesh top
- Removable doors
- Removable sides
- Mini Philips screwdriver
- Wire port plugs
- Not stackable
- Warrantied for 1 year after purchase if sold through the official Repti Zoo Store. No warranty for orders from third-party platforms.
Unboxing & Assembly
The most important question when ordering anything glass and fragile online is: does it arrive intact? Is it well-packed? Fortunately the answer to both questions is yes. There were a couple of dings/almost-punctures in the box when it arrived, but the foam and cardboard kept everything intact and pristine. Even the glass panels and doors were contained inside a shrink-wrapped plastic which was much easier to remove than the typical peel-off protection I’ve dealt with in the past. In fact, the only casualty was the little plastic baggie which contained a miniature Philips screwdriver, screws, and wire port plugs — the screwdriver punctured the bag, so I found myself taking apart the box and shaking it upside-down to find the escaped parts. In the end, everything was accounted for.
I was very happy to see printed instructions included in the box! There was even an extra explainer page included about the way the wire port goes together, which was thoughtful. (I’m familiar with it now, but when I first saw it while building the Dubia.com enclosure, I was completely baffled.)
As I started putting the enclosure together, I was positively delighted to discover how easily it all came together. I think it would be most effective to share quotes from my personal notes from this part of the process:
“Ooooh, the frame is HINGED. This is so easy to put together!”
“Holy hannah this thing is easier than a Zen Meridian I am FLOORED.”
The included instructions turned out to be accurate to the enclosure, except for the mention of “optional side mesh” – this was not something that was packaged with the enclosure, and I don’t see them available for purchase separately on either site. My guess is that these instructions are also used for a similar product which features mesh sides.
The frame came almost entirely assembled out of the box. All I had to do was slide in the sides, attach the top and the doors, add the included screws for stability, and the voila, it was done. Plus, all of the glass pieces were identified with easy-remove labels, which is something I always appreciate when putting together an enclosure. Little details like that really make a difference!
I did find one significant mark on the enclosure, which was a small tear-like hole in the frame’s material. It seems to be purely a cosmetic defect and not large enough to compromise the enclosure on the structural level.
Design & Functionality
Although this enclosure has a full mesh top, it also features venting along the front, below the doors, which helps facilitate a “chimney effect” to create better airflow out of the top. The top mesh is definitely stronger than what you’ll find on Exo Terra or Zoo Med terrariums, so you don’t have to worry about your lighting and heating equipment causing sagging, or accidentally tearing the mesh. Most notably, the top isn’t interrupted by any annoying support bars which get in the way of lamp placement. According to data gathered by the Reptile Lighting community, this mesh creates a 45% UVB obstruction.
In addition to the large wire port on the side, there are smaller wire ports along the top, so it’s highly accessible for thermometer/hygrometer/thermostat/humidistat probes, heat mats, and their miniature automatic misting system. In theory you could fully the wire port this to allow for larger cords, but this shouldn’t be necessary since there’s a mesh screen you can put lamps on top of, and this enclosure is definitely not tall enough for overhead equipment to be mounted inside. Furthermore, fully opening the large wire port would likely create an opportunity for the enclosure’s inhabitant to escape.
Something particularly neat about this enclosure’s design is that it has little latches along the frame which allow the doors, side panels, and mesh top to be removed even after the frame has been assembled. I have never seen removable doors as a feature in a hinged-door enclosure, and honestly? I am HERE for it. Removable doors have made my life so much easier in my other (sliding-door) enclosures, so seeing this as part of the structure of a hinged-door enclosure feels like stepping into the future. It’s just so accessible and easy to clean!!
(please pardon the anime reference, but it feels appropriate)
Overall, this feels like a premium glass enclosure — not at all what I expected from an Amazon terrarium!
Does it really set up in 5 minutes? Personally it took me longer, since I was taking notes on each stage of the process and then had to go hunting for lost screws, but yes, this enclosure can be plausibly set up and taken down in about 5 minutes.
Does it feel flimsy or like it will fall apart? Only before you add the screws. Once those are securely in place and all the latches are in position, it actually feels more or less as sturdy as one-piece glass terrariums. The mesh is also quite sturdy.
Can the glass be drilled? This enclosure is made with tempered glass, so no.
Can it be used for a bioactive enclosure? Absolutely! 4” is generally the minimum substrate depth I recommend for a bioactive enclosure due to the fact that plant roots need at least that much soil to grow in (cacti and succulents being something of an exception). This means that the 36x18x18 Repti Zoo Easy Folding Reptile Terrarium is suitable for semi-arid and temperate bioactive setups. Personally, I wouldn’t use it for anything that requires a drainage layer (tropical setups), although I have seen tropical bioactive done successfully in enclosures with a similarly shallow basin. The substrate can be piled as high as 6” in the back before it will start to spill out via the back hinge.
Will this enclosure leak substrate around the seams? Not unless you add more than 6” of substrate, as that’s where the back hinge is. It’s not very large, but substrate particles will fall out through that gap. The substrate basin is otherwise quite securely sealed.
Can it hold water? Yes, these enclosures can be used as paludariums and even have a maximum fill line indicated on the front of the base!
Is it escape-resistant? Yes. The latching hinged doors have a snug fit, and since they’re glass rather than acrylic, a determined snake is not going to be able to push them open. The removable sides and top are also quite secure when latched, as is the large wire port. Extremely small reptiles, such as hatchling microgeckos, may be able to escape, but honestly? It’s nearly impossible to keep them in anything.
What I Liked About the 36” x 18” x 18” Repti Zoo Easy Folding Reptile Terrarium
Silent assembly! I’m sure my downstairs neighbors appreciated the fact that for once I put an enclosure together without making banging noises for 15-30 minutes straight.
Collapsible. Most glass terrariums (and PVC enclosures, once assembled) are in more or less one piece, which makes moving with them a major ordeal. The fact that this enclosure is collapsible makes the prospect of moving house substantially less inconvenient.
Unbelievably easy to clean and access. Removable panels on a glass terrarium is a real game-changer!
Strong mesh top. I’m not sure it’s entirely “cat proof,” but it’s definitely not flimsy. I’m not worried at all about it caving in with all of my lighting and heating equipment, which is something I strongly dislike about Repti Zoo’s competitors.
Transparent glass base. The glass base allows a keeper to assess soil moisture and health at a glance, making it great for bioactive. It may also give keepers a peek at burrowing reptiles!
Secure. Juvenile colubrids (corn snakes, kingsnakes, milksnakes, rough green snakes, etc.), garter snakes, and other small snakes can be housed in this enclosure without fear of escape.
Lockable. The doors can be locked with a combination lock for additional security (sold separately).
What I Didn’t Like About the 36” x 18” x 18” Repti Zoo Easy Folding Reptile Terrarium
Raised base. From what I understand, although this enclosure’s raised base is great for installing a heat mat, I worry that it may compromise the enclosure’s ability to bear weight. I’m sure it can handle ordinary contents, but I wonder how it would fare long-term with a thick sand substrate and natural rock décor.
Coated mesh. Although 45% UVB obstruction is not the worst, especially when dealing with an enclosure only 18″ tall, it’s not the best, either. The coating on the terrarium’s mesh is an aesthetic choice that reduces the size of the gaps between the wires. If omitted, UVB permeability would likely be higher.
Conclusion: A jaw-droppingly innovative approach to the traditional glass terrarium
ReptiFiles Rating: 5 stars
I don’t give out 5-star ratings easily. In fact, if I’m being perfectly honest, I was looking for reasons not to award a 5-star rating. But in the end, my above complaints are really trivial. The Repti Zoo Easy Folding Reptile Terrarium is truly “jaw-dropping” — that literally happened to me several times through the process of putting it together. I thought I’d seen everything when I reviewed the Zen Meridian, but seeing a sturdy glass terrarium that is both collapsible and has removable panels for cleaning is positively mind-blowing. This is a sample enclosure worth keeping, and a new favorite. I can definitely see myself purchasing more of these enclosures in the future whenever I’m in need of a glass terrarium.
If I have one piece of advice for Repti Zoo, it’s that with their long list of enclosure size options, I would really like to see variable basin depth as a feature. This is probably unrealistic for the smaller enclosures, but it would be nice to see 6” and even 8-10” as an option for the taller terrariums.
What reptiles can the 36” x 18” x 18” Repti Zoo Easy Folding Reptile Terrarium be used with?
- African fat-tailed gecko
- Cave gecko
- Corn snake (juveniles only)
- Fire skink
- Garter snake
- Hognose snake
- Kingsnake (<36”)
- Leopard gecko
- Milksnake (<36”)
- Ocellated skink
- Red-eyed crocodile skink
- Rosy boa
- Sand boa
ReptiFiles’ tips for success with the Repti Zoo Easy Folding Glass Terrarium:
- Assemble while wearing nitrile gloves or similar to prevent fingerprints from getting everywhere.
- There must be a distance of at least half an inch between the lens of your heat bulb(s) and the mesh to avoid burning the coating on the mesh.