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Old 26-09-2010, 03:19 AM
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Default How to convert a RUB into suitable housing for your snake.

Lots of people talk of RUB's in their posts and often times new people to reptile keeping or the 'hobby' have little to no idea what the more experienced members are typing about and it is with this in mind that I decided to make this post, so if you are new to keeping reptiles or indeed house them differently and want to know how to convert over to using RUB's then please read on.

RUB's (Really Useful Boxes) are practical, easy to clean, come in various shapes, sizes and colours and can be bought from lots of stores including but not restricted to Staples, Wilkinsons and other hardware type stores here in the UK.

You will need some equipment, this equipment comes in varies brands, colours and prices however, for the purposes of this post I have used equipment I have either collected over the years or bought for this specific purpose and i really don't favour one brand over another.

First off you will need a container large enough to suit the needs of the reptile, in this instance I am using an 18L RUB.

Hides (Though i sometimes make my own as shown below)

Water Bowl

Temperature Gauge (you may also require a humidity gauge too)

Kitchen Roll (newspaper, aspen or prchid bark can also be used however, I prefer kitchen roll)

Heat mat & thermostat. (Both stats are rated 100w and can easily power either one of the mats shown)

Disinfectant to clean your enclosure, ensure it is rinsed off with clean water and dried before using the cleaned equipment as failure to do so could possibly injure or kill your reptile (ALWAYS READ THE LABEL BEFORE USE)

OK you have the basic kit and you now need to prepare the RUB itself for conversion, this is how I personally do it and it may differ to the way others do this.

You will need a drill and in my case I use a 10mm drill bit. (PLEASE REMOVE ALL PLASTIC SHARDS AND BURS AFTER DRILLING)

Start by drilling a number of holes in the lid at one end, remembering that it is best to drill too few than too many.

Then drill some holes at one end of the RUB box, remembering that it is best to drill too few than too many.

Remember to drill a hole in the side to put the digital temp probe through. (you may need to drill additional holes for other probes).

Once finished it should look something like this.

I was lucky as i found some old guttering in my shed so cut it down to size and then cut an entrance in it to act as an additional hide as shown below.

Remember to smooth down all sharp edges to prevent injury to the snake.

OK, now you have all the equipment prepared and ready to be all bought together to make a really nice home for your snake.
First off you will need to disinfect and thoroughly clean everything this includes the RUB, the water bowls, hides and anything else your snake might come into contact with whilst in it's new environment. Also make one last check to ensure there are no sharp edges where you have drilled, it is best done by simply running the back of your hand across the holes making sure to make contact with the edges, failure to do so may result in injury.

Next job insert the temperature probe and any others in through the pre drilled holes as shown. Make sure that it is underneath the hide and above the heat mat so as to ensure it reads the correct temperature where your snake is likely to spend most of its time.

Now place the substrate, hides and water container into the RUB. (I know it's a different water bowl)

Then add water and a little optional fauna (ensure there are no sharp tips exposed on fake plants).

At this stage it is important to note that I have assumed you have already setup your heat mat and thermostat, once the temperatures are right and it is stable you can then add one of these.

Put the lid on, keep a close eye on how your snake interacts with the new surroundings and adjust the setup as needed.

The finished product.

You will need to adjust design as needed to suit the needs of your snake.
I hope this helps, have fun and enjoy your snakes
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Last edited by Vorgon; 26-09-2010 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 26-09-2010, 11:22 AM
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Very useful post, thanks.
Have you ever tried those round mesh vent panels rather than drilling ventilation holes? Have you used heat cable rather than heat mats before? Would be nice to see how you'd set up a row of snakes...
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Old 26-09-2010, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sam View Post
Very useful post, thanks.
Cheers glad you liked it.

Originally Posted by sam View Post
Have you ever tried those round mesh vent panels rather than drilling ventilation holes?
In the past I have used mesh on RUB's and other various containers for snakes and reptiles however, I was doing it before the advent of the digital camera sadly and never really thought to do a 'How to'. I am happy to do one though in the future if it will help others.

Originally Posted by sam View Post
Have you used heat cable rather than heat mats before?
I am currently in the process of building another rack using heat cable, this time I am taking pictures of the whole process and shall be posting a 'How To' shortly. (Though if you look around you can find someone else already did)
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Old 26-09-2010, 12:28 PM
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Got a picture of one of the smaller racks with heat cable and you can see it but only a little bit at both ends. (I know not a great rack but I converted it from a TV stand)

Silver gaffer tap is on the outside of the RUB to hold the cable in place too, NEVER use tape inside an enclosure.

Last edited by Vorgon; 26-09-2010 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 26-09-2010, 01:35 PM
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Hi Vorgon,

Fantastic thread! I have made it a sticky so the information doesn't disappear into the depths of the forum!

Any more 'How to' thread would be fantastic


James (and the rest of the Mod Team)
Regards James Stroud
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Old 26-09-2010, 02:02 PM
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Good thread.

For those who like to view their animals, you can also cut sections from the side/end of the RUB and replace them with clear perspex, although it requires some extra work.

I use a "hot knife" attachment for a soldering iron with a metal ruler to cut away sections from the side, since most of my RUBs are stored lengthways (that is, with the end section being the one pointing out from the shelf) I cut away most of the "central panel" beneath the handles (you can't really cut wider than this due to the way the boxes are designed).

This is messy and can be time-consuming to do properly, and it will require some sanding to get the edges flat and smooth. Also, too much of this sort of work will get your soldering iron covered with molten plastic and they'll eventually expire, so it's best to find cheap ones for about 5 that can be replaced.

You then need to bolt on the perspex (I use small plastic screws from my local hardware store but metal ones will suffice - they can get rusty over time though and discolour the plastic). Do not be fooled into thinking you can silicone the perspex directly onto the RUB, it won't hold for long for some reason, and needs supporting with screws/ bolts.

Perspex can be ordered to measure from several online companies fairly cheaply; most of the sheets you'll require for anything up to an 84L RUB won't be more than about 1 each.

Once this is done, then you can apply silicone around the seams on both sides for a nice even finish. This can also be messy the first time and takes practice to apply an even, professional-looking finish; its best to use something smooth (a small plastic spoon is perfect) to go over the seam and smooth it out. Once this is done you have a nice window that you can observe your animal from.

I also use exactly the same method to affix mesh strips to the lid. This has the benefit of not only helping ventilation, but the real reason I do it is so I can have fluorescents above a row of RUBs and the UV light is able to get to the animals. It doesn't match a true viv, but I have always been a firm believer that a day/ night cycle and also some UV is beneficial to almost all snakes. It also means that you can easily have a small potted Pothos or Syngonium in the medium-sized RUBs to add hiding places and humidity for small tropical species like baby GTPs and Boiga, or small amphibians.

With the larger RUBs (50L Upwards), the addition of lighting means there's no reason you can't go the whole hog and set up a full-blown planted terrarium, this is perfect for amphibians and small reptiles. Several of my Coelognathus, Gonyasoma and Rhadinophis are kept this way, and it's a nice compromise between a full viv and a simple RUB; the only additional requirement for space is about two inches above the RUB to fit in the fluorescents, and a 42" can light three 50/64/84L RUBs sufficiently to include some houseplants.

The constant temps and humidity provided by a RUB make them perfect for the inclusion of small Pothos (which tend to survive pretty much anywhere), Syngonium, Ficus pumilia, Muehlenbeckia and small ferns.

I don't feel there is any need to justify why we keep snakes.
I do feel there is sometimes a need to justify how we keep them.

"There is a pleasure, sure, in being mad, which none but mad men know"
John Dryden, "The Spanish Friar"
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:42 PM
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I use RUBs with all my reptiles, they are such a cheap and easy alternative to buying a vivarium. I don't have a drill, so I use a screwdriver on a very hot hob to put holes in my RUBs. It works just as well as a drill =D
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:35 PM
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Really helpfull thanks. Just setting up a RUB for my 09 corn but wasn't too sure on how many or where to drill the holes. Thanks
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:45 PM
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Top thread, whenever anyone asks a question about housing snakes then they should be told to look at this thread, thanks for posting
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Old 18-12-2010, 10:32 PM
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Wow this thread is really helpfull thank you so much for posting it, i am setting up my RUB at the moment ready for the arival of my latest purchase a het pied royal python called einstien, that i bought from lynne of royalgems.co.uk cant wait to meet lynne and einstien just waiting for the snow to clear lol, my bf has a corn snake, but this one is all mines yipee so excited cant wait
1 corn snake, 2 bearded dragons, 1 geckos, 1 royal python ,1 common boa, 1 goliath T, 1 mxican red knee, 1 Cobalt blue, 1 pink toe t, 1 pink zebra , 1 grammastola pulchra, 1 grammastola rosea,2 cwd's, 1 cockateal, 1 yorki, and that folks is our ZOO
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