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Lighting and Temps | Hydration and Humidity | Enclosures

This page will examine various enclosure arrangements for chameleons and a few other basic husbandry topics.

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A few things to consider when deciding on an enclosure

  • The size requirement of the species you are getting. Remember most chameleons are arboreal (tree dwellers) and prefer height over length. A good size  is calculated by using the guide (HBL = snout to vent length)

For arboreal (height loving tree dwellers) species

short side of bottom = 3 x HBL - long side of bottom = 4 x HBL - height = 6 x HBL

For terrestrial (ground dwellers) species i.e. Brookesia

short side of bottom = 4 x HBL - long side of bottom = 6 x HBL - height = 4 x HBL

  • A good cage for chameleons will be screen on at least three sides- they need fresh air, avoid glass and plexi-glass - the reflection causes stress (seeing another cham) and STRESS KILLS

  • You should be able to maintain a noticeable temperature gradient - depending on species some as much as 30 degrees from basking spot to cool down. Remember they regulate their body temp (cold blooded) thru basking

  • It should allow good humidity control, not too open and not all solid walls

  • It should be able to sustain a lot of watering without rotting or rusting

  • It is best if feeder insects can not escape, but the screening used should be open enough not to cause injury to your cham's feet and resistant to crickets eating it

  • You should be able to place a basking light and/or a UVB light on it without melting or burning the walls

  • You should be able to view your chameleons but there should be plenty of leafy cover for them to hide in. They do not need ground cover i.e. hollow logs.

  • They do not need water bowls or bottles, they drink droplets off of misted leaves (moving water)

  • They need lots of various size branches and vines to climb around on. This lets them exercise those very strong hands and legs.

  • Substrates are not recommended with chameleons. They can be ingested and cause impaction leading to premature death.

  • Live plants are recommended. some species of chameleons will actually EAT the plants. If a tropical house plant can not survive in your enclosure then it is not right for the chameleon either. Most have very similar requirements.

  • You need a to use BOTH a basking light a regular 60 to 100 watt light (depending on the size of your cage and species of cham) works fine and florescent (ZooMed's REPTISUN 5.0 ) UV lighting

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  literature cited (,2,5,6,7,9)

Lighting and Temps | Hydration and Humidity | Enclosures

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