DIY hides?

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DIY hides?

Postby mistyskinks » Sat Jul 10, 2021 9:11 am


We will be getting our first-ever baby skink in a week from Milky Way Reptiles. We're so excited!

I thought it would be fun for the kids and I to make some DIY hides for the baby (as opposed to just buying) while we wait the week.

I've found instructions for making them out of foam (which looks like it uses a lot of materials that would not be safe around kids), one for a cooler-zone using air dry clay, and I saw Susann's thread on making them out of tile and pvc pipe.

I was considering making small hides out of polymer clay - if air dry clay is safe to use for reptiles, I imagine polymer clay would be too, since it has to be baked. You would have to make sure there aren't any small pieces that can easily be broken off and eaten of course. Has anyone made a hide out of polymer clay? Would you need to use a sealant like air dry clay?

Aside from cutting a hole in an upside-down plastic container, does anyone have any suggestions for other DIY hides that are fun to make?
Thank you!
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Re: DIY hides?

Postby tbcorbett » Thu Jul 15, 2021 8:12 am

Err I don't know anything about making hides since I just use cork rounds for mine (which is what I would personally recommend because they are so beautiful and natural and fit right in with her plants and substrate : D ), but I don't know if it's a good idea to use clay, I work with clay a lot and it releases a ton of gross fumes when it's baked, and if it's near a heat element in your setup it might get scorched too >.<

I believe the reason air dry clay would be okay is it's typically based from natural clay pulled right from the earth. Polymer clay I don't think would be a good idea at all in comparison because it is not natural, it is right in the name! Polymer clay is plastic-based and actually has like
.. no real "clay" inside it. To further that, all polymer clay products are actually not considered food-safe due to how plastic even in finished products can leech out in the form of nasty toxins, so nobody should have them near stuff they eat!!

Also, I know polymer clay especially scorches very easily and releases fumes/odors (specifically hydrogen chloride) which could definitely definitely irritate a reptile!!!! Not to mention if it's even slightly underbaked it'd get really brittle, which if your skink is really active and hungry like mine, she'd absolutely devour any pieces that broke off if she managed to stomp it to pieces, which would be a big issue : <

All in all I can't say 100% it would be toxic to your skink, but I would say I'm like 90% sure it would be a bad idea to use polymer clay. And if you're not sure about something, why risk it? >.< Even if you're only 10% sure it COULD be toxic for your skink, that's still 10% too much for me D;
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Re: DIY hides?

Postby IvanDanko » Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:12 pm

Hi there Misty,

I've experimented with a few variations of DIY hides myself and had great success with a few, including:

Shelf type: A shelf hide made from plywood coated in mortar and painted in non-toxic water based paint. This can be done with cheap materials but requires some tools to assemble. Great to provide a basking platform and also a hide. See picture below:


Log type: A simple pvc pipe half, which can be covered in similar materials to above and painted.

However, one I am going to be moving on to using very soon is a material called tile pointing (google search Dunlop tile pointing typically available at hardware stores) recently used by one of my favourite reptile YouTubers Coop's Reptiles - this is a versatile, flexible and non-toxic substance which will bond to a surface and create a similar rocky style look. This would probably bond to even a plastic container with an opening if you wanted to try that for a cave style hide.

However, id suggest if you are able to in the future, cutting shaped foam appears to be the best method if you can do it safely (outside allowing for fumes, or exhausting them out) which can then have tile pointing applied - its great because its super light so it can't hurt your skink and they can burrow right underneath. I will try it myself at some stage soon and post my results on the forum.

Hope that gives you a few helpful ideas. :D
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Re: DIY hides?

Postby mb606587 » Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:43 pm

I made a hide out of Styrofoam, and then coated in mortar cement and polyurethane to seal. It is pretty heavy duty and has lasted several years now
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Re: DIY hides?

Postby splashy07 » Mon Jul 26, 2021 5:44 am

Wow that's a cool one mb! I use those large plastic rectangular ones I believe are made by Vivarium Electronics. I take some aquarium silicone and glue on a piece of cork tile (sold as background material) cut to the size of the hide box. It doubles as a basking area and my skinks love them. I keep extras to switch out when they mess them up. I'll post a picture when I get home if I remember...

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