Chameleon owners know that their pets are extraordinary in various ways. Their lifestyle, habit and habitat are much different than other reptile pets. When it comes to decorating or setting up the right kind of terrarium for the chameleons, it makes sense if you go through some articles or ask for advice from the vets or experienced owners to know about the details.
With time, human has gained more and more knowledge about this reptile and they have now been successful in providing the right kind of set up to make the chameleon feel at home even in captivity.
So here we will be discussing a few details of the chameleon’s habitat set up which may help you to arrange for the chameleon you will adopt anytime soon.
- 1 What should be the ideal size of the chameleon’s terrarium?
- 2 What are the requirements for setting up a chameleon’s cage?
- 3 Why reptile carpet is necessary?
- 4 Which live plants are safe to be put into the chameleon’s cage?
- 5 How long the heat lamp needs to be switched on in the terrarium?
- 6 What is the necessity of a night time lamp or red lamp for the chameleon’s cage?
- 7 Heating element or heat lamp:
- 8 Night time heat resource:
What should be the ideal size of the chameleon’s terrarium?
Chameleons, when they get matured, need some space to move around.
They love to move around on the branches of trees, so an adequate amount of vertical space is needed to keep the chameleon healthy. While getting the terrarium for the chameleons, do not think of it as a container but rather a part of the wild forest, where the chameleon will live and move freely.
This is also healthy for them as moving inside the terrarium will keep them from getting obese. There should be some equipment which will make the chameleon happy and help it to play. So when you keep the chameleon in a medium or XL sized terrarium, you will be able to keep those decorative items inside the terrarium.
What are the requirements for setting up a chameleon’s cage?
There are some basic needs for maintaining a good set up for the chameleon. The chameleon cage is the foremost important thing that you need to give shelter to the chameleon. Then you need to decorate the cage with screened top. This will enable the entering of air and natural light.
There can be a good amount of decorations by adding some natural or synthetic foliage. This gives the cage some freshness in look and feel.
You need to keep an adequate source of light and heat inside the cage. Natural light is not enough to keep the chameleon healthy inside the cage. Also, you need to arrange for a humidifier to keep the environment of the cage humid.
You need to offer the right kind of food at right time and a bowl with fresh water is a must to be kept in the cage.
A substrate is another necessary part of the chameleon’s cage. There should be the right kind of substrate which will not choke the chameleon, and yet will maintain the humidity as well as the temperature of the terrarium.
Why reptile carpet is necessary?
Reptile carpet can be placed at the bottom of the terrarium as this is a reusable, washable and durable option for covering the bottom of the terrarium. After 3 to 4 wash the fibres of the carpet becomes loose so you can change it then. You need to wash the reptile carpet after two weeks of use.
Which live plants are safe to be put into the chameleon’s cage?
Chameleons are arboreal creatures, which mean they prefer to stay hidden inside the foliate. Thus to accommodate them, you also need to put some plants, mostly indoors, inside their terrarium.
There are any indoor plants but not all are suitable to be put inside the terrarium of the chameleon. The safe options are yucca, weeping fig, golden pathos, hibiscus, jade plant, bromeliads etc.
How long the heat lamp needs to be switched on in the terrarium?
The heat lamp can be switched on during the daytime inside the terrarium, as the body temperature of the chameleon stays in the right condition if they get the heat from the light source. But during the nights, the temperature should be dropped to make the chameleon sleep or rest peacefully.
What is the necessity of a night time lamp or red lamp for the chameleon’s cage?
Low wattage heat is recommended for the night time for the chameleons. During the night the heat emission should not be entirely stopped but it should not be as high as the daytime. So the nocturnal infrared heat lamp is the right option for the reptiles at the night.
Now we will probe into the actual elements that are needed to make a chameleon stay safe and healthy in your house. We will suggest a few products that are available in the market and are of good quality. You can select from our chosen range or check for other available products.
Terrarium or screen cage:
You can keep the chameleon in a screen cage which will allow the natural light and air to pass through. The place needs to be a large one so you should get a 48-inch screen cage to make the chameleon comfortable. This is also a pocket-friendly option for first-time chameleon owners.
When you are experienced and wished to go for a high-end option, there are solid wall cages available. The main cause of using a screen cage over a walled terrarium is ventilation. As chameleons love to stay in natural and well-aired surroundings, this seems apprehensive that they would love to stay in the screened cages.
But the problem arises when the question of humidity comes.
A screened cage can offer ample natural light or air but it will not be so smooth when you need to manage the humidity to keep the microclimate of the terrarium. To maintain the humidity level, the exposure to the air should be as little as possible, as the flow of air will disturb the humidity level. So from this perspective, it is easy to maintain the glass-walled terrariums.
Heat is also another important aspect, which can be maintained only if the terrarium is a solid-walled one. The outside temperature can be sometimes lesser than the requirement and sometimes it will be higher than the required temperature of the chameleon. So only using a heater you can fix the temperature within the glass-walled terrarium.
Best screen cover:
When it comes to selecting the screen cover, you can check the Zilla reptile covers which are available in various sizes. So you can get the screen cover according to the size of the terrarium. This one comes with a black mesh design which allows the clawing of the chameleon but it does not get harmed or damaged anyway. The screen clips are much heavy-duty and thus they will not be broken after long use.
Best walled enclosure:
Repti zoo 34-gallon large glass terrarium will be your ideal choice when you will bring home a matured chameleon. This terrarium is a safe shelter for your reptile pet as it comes with a double-hinged door and foam background.
The door comes with screen ventilation so you can make the natural airflow inside the terrarium. The window ventilation is available on the left and right of the terrarium whereas the closeable inlets are there at the top and right. The bottom is raised so you can fit the substrate heater in the gap.
A drainage tray is what you will find most accommodating in the terrarium of the chameleon. When you will be misting the terrarium to make the atmosphere hydrated or keeps the chameleon moist the excess water will be collected in the drainage tray.
We suggest Zoo Med manufactured which comes in extra-large size. This tray is removable and washable, so you can keep it in the terrarium of the pet. This tray is also watertight and thus the substrate will not be messed due to leakage from this tray. All the various kinds of substrate like eco earth, repti-bark or mulch can be used along with this bottom tray.
Heating element or heat lamp:
Basking zone is a necessary parameter for the chameleons’ terrarium. You have to keep a proper heating source as well as some stone or bark where the reptile can sit and enjoy the warmth. A nice bright bulb can be an ideal choice for heating in the terrarium. Also, the heat helps in the digestion of food and absorption of calcium in the body of chameleon.
New products are coming to the market every day. Lauto is a new brand that offers a set of two bulbs that has the capacity of 50 W. these are called baking lamps and comes with an adjustable stand. So you can fix it anywhere in the terrarium so the reptiles can get the warmth inside the terrarium.
The bulb is much useful as you can change the temperature of the bulb. When you attach it with the help of a clip at any corner of the terrarium, keep a safe distance from your pet, unless it can burn the skin of your chameleon. These bulbs can offer UVB and UVA rays which can offer the reptiles the necessary radiation that is only offered by the natural sunlight. To adjust the brightness you will get a modified switch in it.
Night time heat resource:
As the need of heat is not to be ignored at night time and yet the chameleon needs some resting time in darkness, you have to arrange for some heat emitter that does not provide much harsh light to disturb the sleeping cycle of the chameleon. Ceramic heat emitters or infrared bulbs will work particularly for this scenario.
We suggest the brand Fiveage that offers a pair of red light heating infrared bulb that also offers UVA radiation. This is a much powerful source of UV radiation and also keeps the terrarium warm if not hot. So this is the right choice to keep the chameleons healthy while let them sleep at the night time.
The set of two bulbs come at a pocket-friendly price and they are also fitted to all standard sockets. The heating of the bulbs offers thermoregulation and thus the basking area is hotter than the rest corners of the terrarium, providing a good temperature gradient.
The two bulbs in the set are made with red glass which is not painted. No toxic gas will be emitted from these bulbs and these are waterproof too. Though these bulbs emit heat there will be no chance of explosion.
Around 60% humidity is required in the terrarium of the chameleons. As the normal humidity seldom reaches that level, you need an additional set up for mystifying or humidifying the terrarium to keep the atmosphere soothing for the reptile. Though chameleons are from naturally dry regions, still they need some amount of moisture in the atmosphere. Their healthy depends largely on the humidity of the weather. So adding a humidifier to their terrarium is an obvious decision.
From the wide range of humidifiers, we choose Evergreen humidifier cum fogger which is compatible with terrariums of all sizes and shapes. This is not a high priced product and this is a compact gadget for offering mist to the cage of the chameleon.
The ultrasonic fogger works smartly and makes your chameleon perfectly comfortable. This tank is a large one and you need to refill it only once in a week or even lesser. The assembly of this product is much easy and you can do it without much knowledge or technique.
Keeping a good quality substrate where the chameleons can dig or burrow is a necessary part of the terrarium decoration.
There are various kinds of substrate available, but you need to find something natural. Make sure that the substrate does not contain any mites or parasites that can infest the body of your pet. Also, make sure that the substrate does not contain any chunks like the shavings of any wood. This kind of substrate often chokes the chameleon and that can be fatal for it.
Here we will be suggesting you a few good options for substrate. Our first choice will be a reptile carpet which is easy to wash and quite long lasting.
McLanzoo is one of the renowned but comparatively new company which offers unique fabric material that is pet friendly. The print on this carpet easily mixes with the rest of the terrarium and gives it a natural look. When you have to clean it just shake away the debris and use cold tap water to wash away the mat.
If you prefer to keep some bioactive substrate then there is an option available from Josh frog store. The big bedding need not be changed often like other substrates. This substrate follows bioactive cycle which lessens the chance of any bacterial disease. The color and texture of the substance is much similar to earth so it will make the chameleon comfortable. The natural feel offered by this product is one of the best items to make the chameleon feel at home. Also, you can grow a natural plant in this substrate if you chose to plant some inside the terrarium.
Coconut husk brick from the Zilla store is another great option for chameleon’s substrate. This is a fully organic material and there would be no toxic element in this product. This is lightweight and it increases in volume, so you will get a pocket friendly option by buying it for your reptile’s terrarium. Not only it keeps the reptile easy but also it takes care of the humidity level inside the terrarium. You need to make a 2 inch layer of this husk and that will be perfect bedding for the chameleon.
Food and water bowl:
Keeping the food and water in the proper place is necessary when you are keeping any pet inside the terrarium. Not only it grows the habit of safe eating in the pet but also it maintains the cleanliness of the terrarium. If the food and water does stay in its place, then there will be less chance of bacterial infestation or microbes.
The bowls that you offer your chameleon for serving food or water should be made of non toxic materials, should have the right amount of depth and width and also it must be heavy so it does not tilt away when the chameleon will try to eat from it.
By keeping all these conditions in mind, we have chosen the food and water bowl set from Helime store. The set contains two bowls, which you can use for food and water serving a purpose. These are adequately wide and heavy in weight. So these ones will not skid away or break when the chameleons will eat or drink from them. These ones are non-porous and made from solid material. Ceramic is a non-toxic material that does not harm pets anyway.
Hammock or basking spot:
Chameleons prefer to stay hanging from the branches when they are in wilderness. When they are captivated, you must arrange for some similar settings around the basking spot of the terrarium. A hammock made from natural fibre is a good idea for such a purpose. It will let the chameleon ride onto it and also hang from it, which is a good exercise for them.
A pocket-friendly option is what we suggest for the terrariums of chameleons. Niteangle hammock is made from seaweed and it is quite sturdy in nature. Also it offers a wide space which can be used for lounging under the heat emitter bulb.
This is not a harsh product but a soft one, which will not scratch the skin of the chameleon, so you do not have to worry about the damage done to the pet due to the frictions created by its contact. This will be an elevated vantage point for the chameleon and they would love to spend time on the hammock.
Chameleons drink water dripping from the leaves when it rains in the forest. So you can make similar arrangement within the terrarium also. Water fountain is a different kind of decoration piece for the chameleon. A fountain or water dripper will be a perfect item which will initiate drinking habit among the chameleons. Also, the dripping of water will humidify the atmosphere and will add some freshness in the terrarium’s artificial surroundings.
We suggest a Nomoy reptile drinking fountain water dripper which will offer continuous drips of fresh and clean water within the terrarium. The capacity of this fountain is 1000 ml so you need to add water once in two weeks. This product is easy to clean and will add some fun element as well as healthy process of water drinking in the terrarium life.
Synthetic or natural foliage:
We have already stated above regarding the importance of adding foliage, natural or synthetic to the terrarium of chameleon. Now, natural foliage is of course the better option and it will let the atmosphere of the terrarium be cool and humid. But maintaining the plants along with maintaining the chameleon is not an easy task. So many pet owners opt for artificial or synthetic foliage, which adds some brightness to the terrarium and yet, is much low on maintenance and budget.
Chenkou craft 10M artificial vine is a perfect example of pocket-friendly artificial foliage. It comes in the form of a vine as mentioned in the name. You can add it to the terrarium of the chameleon and they can hang or ride on it. The material used for this product is hemp which is 100% natural and there will be no chance of toxicity affecting the chameleon. This is a very natural looking vine and made from sturdy material thus will not easily break off.
When you want to add some colours to the vine, then choose a Beebel set of two pieces of artificial vine which comes in magnificent magenta color. The natural looking foliage as well as flowers makes the terrarium a cool place. This is a three-dimensional product and it offers a luscious look into the terrarium. This is washable and thus you can clean it once in a month to maintain the healthy atmosphere inside the terrarium.
Chameleons can get easily stressed when they are newly brought to the owner’s house. So you need to be very cautious and maintain peaceful and calm surroundings. It will take a few days or may be weeks to get accustomed with the new environment. You need to provide for all the necessities to make it comfortable as you will be solely responsible for its better life.