While every body appreciates the look of a cage naturally decorated, it must be remembered that the more elaborate you make your enclosure the more difficult it is usually to clean. If you have the time to maintain such a setup then that is great. Most people who keep large collections however, prefer to keep their enclosures simple.
It is very important to always provide your reptile a place to hide.
You may choose perhaps a hollow log, card board box, plastic fake hide boxes that represent rocks etc. When considering a hide box for a snake it is important to keep it relatively small. Snakes are generally cryptozoic and often feel secure in tight areas.
Make sure however that whatever you provide does allow for the removal of its occupant.
Rocks and Branches
If setting up your enclosure with rocks, be particularly careful that they cannot be easily pushed around by the occupant of the cage and you do not want rocks or any other heavy objects falling on your reptile. If using branches removed from the bush as perches, then make sure that these are clean.
Water should at all times be provided. It is best to use a container that can not easily be tipped over and it must be of a size that your reptile can climb in to. This is particularly important for snakes during their skin shedding cycle as they will often take to the water bowls for a soak. It is best to choose a container that is easy to clean and we prefer to use ceramic type containers. There are many plastic water dishes now available designed specifically for reptiles made to look like rock pools. These look quite good and are usually easy to clean.
There are many different ways to go when considering a preferred substrate.
We believe you cannot go past the use of newspaper as it is very cheap, and easy to obtain. We also realize that to many keepers, this looks unappealing to the eye and spoils the look of any display cage. Some people choose to use wood shavings instead, and this does look very good. If this is your choice of substrate then make sure that you use wood shavings that do not contain toxins or come from untreated timber. Another variation on this is the use of bark chips. These though, can get a little expensive and as you cannot really wash these properly, need to be changed when becoming dirty.
One very popular substrate these days is breeder's choice. I personally do not use this as I have personally witnessed a python getting its trachea blocked from a piece. As it is very absorbent, it can easily stick to the wet area on the inside of a snakes mouth, if it becomes in contact while it's feeding.
Sand and soil can be used as a substrate and should be thoroughly cleaned before hand.
The potential downfall of using this as a substrate is that when it becomes damp and can harbor disease.
What ever you decide on as a substrate for your enclosure, it is advisable to protect the bottom of your enclosure with some sort of water proofing. Although our cages have sealed bottoms, we still prefer to use a piece of neatly fitting plastic underneath the substrate which helps keep any liquid ever getting to the flooring in the first place. It is much easier to clean of uric acid of a flexible sheet of plastic than scrubbing it off a wooden surface.