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Posted by chris_harper2 on April 27, 2003 at 11:57:31:
In Reply to: Please elaborate on lidded v. lidless systems-- posted by Jeannie on April 26, 2003 at 19:41:53:
The Iris boxes are available through Habitat Systems. You can access their page though Kingsnake.
I've found them through other online retailers but do not have them bookmarked.
I think they have the boxes listed slightly differently, but if you look at the dimensions I'm sure you can find the size you need.
As far as lidded systems, I'll start by saying that I have no particular bias against them. I do use them after all for ALL of my hatchling racks.
However, every rack system I've seen built around adult-sized boxes (with lids) has actually been a less secure rack. I think I've pinpointed a few possible problems. Note that none of these problems are mutually exclusive.
1) Many lids (Rubbermaids being the best example) have slightly raised areas that lock onto the box or raised areas in the center instead of the perimeter of the lid. In either case when building a rack the upper shelf is not able to rest on the perimeter of the lid. When you add the slight flexibility of the box with the slighly greater flexibility of the lid, you get a box that many snakes can get out of.
Remember that with a melamine lidless rack system the only flexibility is with the box itself.
A similar problem is when you have handles that flip up from the box to lock down the lid. These also interfere with the lid being held down securly. But with this example the handles can be removed.
2) Some lids don't fit OVER the box or don't fit over the box completely. What you end up with is a box that fits over the ends of the box but is loose around the rest of the perimeter. Once again when you combine the slight flexibility of the box with the even greater flexibility of the lid you have a situation where the box is less secure than with a lidless rack system.
3) Both the boxes and the lids will have slight variance where they are not completely flat or square. If the crookedness of the lid and the box do not match, you'll end up with "weak" areas where a snake can sqeeze through.
4) With a lidless rack system you leave a gap and typically the box is ridid enough that that's the weakest area of the system. But the gap allows the box to slide. If you build a rack that includes the lids and leave enough of a gap so that the boxes will slide, you'll have trouble, especially when combined with problems # 2 & 3 above.
Even if you find the a box with a lid that fits over the box all around the perimeter AND does not have any raised areas, you have to leave enough of a gap to allow the box and lid to slide. Typically this be slightly more secure than a lidless rack system, but can be a problem if a) the lid is flexible and b) you have the variance problems described in #3.
All of these problems are especially worse with the longer, under-bed type boxes.
I think that lidded systems can be built securely and even more securly than lidless systems, but one has to actually be more careful with box selection and construction tolerances.
Given the advantages of a lidless system and the species you are keeping, I'd recommend a lidless system for your adults and sub-adults.
I cannot make the same recommendation for neonates simply because I've never built and kept those species/ages in lidless rack systems I've constructed. I know it's been done, but I won't recommend or discourage it. Most shoe-boxes have perfect lids for lidded systems (i.e. they are flat around the perimeter and fit OVER the box and do not rest on top anywhere) so I've always just left the lids on.