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Is Acrylic Paint Safe For Reptiles?

As the number of reptile keepers continiues to increase at a rapid pace, the number of questions that we see people asking about keeping pet reptiles also increases at a correlating pace due to people wanting to offer their new pet reptile the best care possible.

With there being a trend of customising your pet reptiles vivarium right now with there being a wide range of different popular designs on social media, we have noticed a spike in the people asking if acrylic paint is safe for reptiles or not recently so we wanted to publish this article on the topic.

Unfortunately, there is no definite answer regarded if acrylic paint is safe for reptiles due to each paint formula having unique ingredients but the general consensus is if the acrylic paint is non-toxic then it should be fine.

That said though, some pigments can have issues if injested by your pet so our advice would be just to avoid using acrylic paint in your reptiles vivarium altogether if possible.

We have seen a number of “animal safe” paints released onto the market in recent years that are billed as having all of the potentially harmful ingredients removed from them though and some of these are acrylic paint formula.

They tend to be available in a wide range of different colors though and should easily be able to meet your needs if you do have your heart set on painting your reptiles enclosure with acrylic paint.

Should You Use Paint In A Reptile Enclosure?

The risk vs reward of painting your reptiles enclosure usually leans more towards just leaving it as it is without painting it.

Not only do the cheaper acrylic paints on the market pose a potential risk to your pet reptile but the pet safe or non-toxic acrylic paints tend to have a higher price tag and can quickly bump the costs up for your little painting project.

If you are only wanting to paint your reptiles enclosure to keep up with the latest tend on social media then you have to factor in how long the trend will last too.

There have been a huge number of pet related fads over the years that last a month or two and then are never heard from again.

If you are going to be purchasing some expensive pet safe paints just for a tend on social media that lasts a couple of month at most then you have to ask yourself if its even worth it.

You then have to factor in the potential risk to your pet reptile too. So many people think that all acrylic paints are safe due to them being a water based product but this is not always safe.

Some of the pigments used for coloration of the paint can be toxic as well as some of the other ingredients due to some paint formulas being designed to be used outdoors and have to be able to withstand more punishment.

Is Acrylic Paint Safe For Reptiles?

Not all acrylic paint formulas are safe for reptiles and other animals with some posing a risk to your pet reptile because of toxic ingredients.

Modern paint producers are required to clearly show if the paint formula in the container is toxic or non-toxic helping you purchase non-toxic paint for use with your pet reptile with confidence that the pigment used to color the paint is considered safe.

As we touched on earlier in the article though, this still does not guarantee that the paint formula is actually safe for your pet reptile though.

We know that there are plenty of people on social media and various online forums saying that they have used various acrylic paint products in their own pet reptiles enclosures without issue but there is no guarantee that the same can be said for your situation.

Although it is rare to see people report that their pet reptile has had problems with the acrylic paint used in its enclosure, they do happen so there is always a risk.

Unfortinatley, most of the people reporting problems with their reptiles after painting their enclosure do seem to have used an acrylic paint product that is labeled as non-toxic.

What Kind Of Paint Can I Use For A Reptile Enclosure?

We would recommend that you just avoid painting your reptile enclosure if possible as it totally removes the potential risks to your pet reptile but we know that some people do like to get creative with their vivarium setups or paint various decorations in the tank.

If you absolutely do have to paint sometime then try to find a paint formula that is labeled as “pet safe” but they are hard to find and usually expensive.

Out of all of the types of paint formula on the market right now, the acrylic paint ranges do tend to have the most non-toxic formulas available with there usually being at least one non-toxic option available for pretty much every color you could ever want.

This is probably the second best option for painting your pet reptiles vivarium behind a specifically labeled pet safe paint option but there can still be a risk when using acrylics.

We would recommend you avoid any acrylic or alcohol based paints completely due to the chemicals in their paint formula potentially causing a number of risks if both inhaled or injected.

You will usually find that the majority of acrylic or alcohol based paints are not labeled as non-toxic due to some of the core ingredients in those paint formulas being toxic by nature due to the chemical makeup of the paint.


That brings our article going over if acrylic paint is safe for reptiles and if you should use it in your pet reptiles vivarium to an end. As we have tried to make clear multiple times throughout the article, we would recommend that you don’t paint your reptiles vivarium if possible. Not only does it add costs to keeping your pet reptile but or may pose a hazard to them while offering minimal long term value.