The Iguana Cage Page

Building With Glass/Plexi-Glass

I have yet to use glass or Plexi-glass (I will usually refer to glass/plexi-glass as simply "glass" from now on) for any of my cages, but I do have opinions to share on the subject. First, the idea of building a cage with a transparent, solid material is obviously an attractive one. It looks sleek and clean, it allows for amazing visibility, and it keeps heat in. However, I personally have opted for wire because the pros for me have always outweighed the cons. I recommend you read about both glass and wire cage building before making your own decision.

If you have read the Building With Wire section, you can use glass in many of the same ways I described for wire. You can build a wooden frame and either slide the glass into routed grooves, or you can use adhesive to attach the glass to the wood. (I hope to be able to recommend a good adhesive here shortly.) Glass and plexi-glass are easily cut to the correct size using the proper cutting tools.

In my opinion, the process of building with glass is just as easy as building with wire. Glass is probably more attractive, and it keeps heat in the cage better than wire. However, glass is an enormous hassle to move. It is heavy, fragile, and expensive. Sometimes when I move I leave the cage wire behind and cut a new sheet when I move in to my new house - the affordability of wire allows me to do that. If you never move, that might not be an issue for you. Also, I like my iguanas to be able to climb the wire. In my experience, iguanas can spend an entire afternoon scratching at glass, trying to get through it, whereas when they have a bit of galvanized steel to grab onto, they will instead climb it to the top and then settle onto a shelf.

Tips for building cages with glass:

- Glass is not difficult to work with. Plexi-glass can be cut to size with a utility knife, and glass cutters are available for the real thing.
- Plexi-glass scratches relatively easily. If you have a restless iguana, you might not want to use it where s/he might constantly claw. Affordable thicknesses of Plexi-glass are also relatively flimsy, so it's probably best to use it in smallish sizes.

Pros and cons of using glass:

Pro: The transparency of glass can be attractive and allows for unparalelled visibility.
Con: Glass is much heavier, more expensive, and more fragile than wire. Plexi-glass isn't as heavy, but scratches and is even more expensive than glass.
Pro: Glass keeps heat in and cold out.
Con: By the same token, glass does not allow for as much ventilation as wire.