How to Build a Fake Rock Cave

Written by rachel hurt
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How to Build a Fake Rock Cave

All reptiles need a place where they can hide and feel safe. A rock cave is a wonderful addition to your reptile's habitat --- but real rock can be heavy and dangerous and ones in the pet store that look like rock can be expensive or, annoyingly, "one size fits all" that doesn't fit all. Building your own rock cave allows you the ability to customise it to your and your reptile's special needs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Styrofoam
  • Grout
  • Cement colour
  • Great Stuff Expanding Foam Insulator
  • Water
  • Water based polycyclic satin sealer
  • Knives and hand saws
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Bucket
  • 2 cheap bristle paint brushes

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  1. 1

    Remove your reptile to a temporary home because the construction site will not be a safe place for it.

  2. 2

    Place newspaper into the bottom of your habitat. This will make it easier to build inside and draw reference points. Building inside of it allows you to make the cave the perfect size.

  3. 3

    Start with laying things out and rough cuts. (The detailed work will come later.) This is about getting your basic shape together so don't glue anything down yet. Leave room around the edges to work so that you have room to grout later.

  4. 4

    Trace the outline of your shape onto the newspaper below it. Mark your pieces so that you know where they go.

  5. 5

    Start gluing things down by working from the bottom up. Glue one layer at a time but don't glue it to the floor.

  6. 6

    Spray your foam insulator into the little holes or gaps that you have. You can also use it to build up areas. Leave it overnight to allow it to expand and dry.

  7. 7

    Carve your final shape. This is your time to get creative. Just remember --- fine detail work will get lost in the grout so if you want it to show up, make deep cuts.

  8. 8

    Mix your grout. Try to mix only ¼ of your grout per coat so that it won't dry out. Add enough water to make your grout thin and soupy. Add colouration now if you are using it.

  9. 9

    Brush your grout onto your styrofoam. Make sure you get into all of the cracks and crevasses, including the bottom. Let it dry overnight between coats. Apply three coats to ensure that everything is covered.

  10. 10

    If you didn't use colourant, paint with acrylic paint.

  11. 11

    Apply three coats of sealant to your cave. Make sure you get it everywhere. Allow it to air for a few days.

  12. 12

    Clean up and make sure that everything is safe and ready for your reptile to move back in.

Tips and warnings

  • Add branches and logs to your reptile's habitat to make bridges to the rock cave or just a great place to hang out.
  • Never add materials or use chemicals that could be harmful to your pet.
  • Make sure that your rock cave is secure and won't fall onto your reptile.

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