Cage at Petsmart

CFree3344

New Member
Today I was at Petsmart and they hand themselves a beautiful Red Barred Panther.. I was thinking about buying it but not sure yet. They had a Tank there that I am not sure would work for the cham. Im not positive on the size.. But I know that it is pretty big. I can find out if necessary. But the big issue is that It has 2 sides that are glass, and the 2 smaller sides are screens and the top is a screen. I was wondering if this would work. They are selling it pretty cheap. Otherwise I was wondering if those Reptariums they sell are good and what size to get.. Thanks Guys..
 

ChameleonsTree

New Member
CFree3344 said:
Today I was at Petsmart and they hand themselves a beautiful Red Barred Panther.. I was thinking about buying it but not sure yet. They had a Tank there that I am not sure would work for the cham. Im not positive on the size.. But I know that it is pretty big. I can find out if necessary. But the big issue is that It has 2 sides that are glass, and the 2 smaller sides are screens and the top is a screen. I was wondering if this would work. They are selling it pretty cheap. Otherwise I was wondering if those Reptariums they sell are good and what size to get.. Thanks Guys..
Better to have a full screen cage...I bought all mine from LLLreptile.com
 
Wow you guys are tons of help. Hope he/she is not a why person.

CFree3344,
In general you will find it recommended that an all mesh or screen enclosure be used. Glass enclosures are out, because of the lack of air movement, long dry time (too much moisture can cause respiratory infections), weight to size, poor height to width ratios for the money, and reflectivity of the interior surfaces causing stress to the cham. That said all screen enclosures are very poorly insulated structures, are difficult to maintain humidity and temp in, can cause foot injuries in larger adult animals, and have a tendency to rust or rot. European keepers have for years used enclosures that are made of high percentages of sheet goods, like OSB and veneered ply, combined with pvc coated hardware cloth or aluminum screening, in an attempt to maintain better climatic conditions without having to heat, cool, or humidify an entire room to do so. The reptarium is a very convenient cage, easy to setup, cheap, etc and can be used with good success. Many breeders and serious collectors swear by them. Another alternative would be to build a cage. This is often a more expensive and time consuming endeavor but the benefit to both captive and keeper can be high if proper thought is put into it, and an adequate amount of research done before building starts.

-Zerah J Morris
 
Zerah Morris said:
Wow you guys are tons of help. Hope he/she is not a why person.

CFree3344,
In general you will find it recommended that an all mesh or screen enclosure be used. Glass enclosures are out, because of the lack of air movement, long dry time (too much moisture can cause respiratory infections), weight to size, poor height to width ratios for the money, and reflectivity of the interior surfaces causing stress to the cham. That said all screen enclosures are very poorly insulated structures, are difficult to maintain humidity and temp in, can cause foot injuries in larger adult animals, and have a tendency to rust or rot. European keepers have for years used enclosures that are made of high percentages of sheet goods, like OSB and veneered ply, combined with pvc coated hardware cloth or aluminum screening, in an attempt to maintain better climatic conditions without having to heat, cool, or humidify an entire room to do so. The reptarium is a very convenient cage, easy to setup, cheap, etc and can be used with good success. Many breeders and serious collectors swear by them. Another alternative would be to build a cage. This is often a more expensive and time consuming endeavor but the benefit to both captive and keeper can be high if proper thought is put into it, and an adequate amount of research done before building starts.

-Zerah J Morris
Exemplary contribution to a thread. This is how every remember should be replying to questions.
 

CFree3344

New Member
Great post thanks so much.. With that advice.. I have built my own cage.. yay! hopefully soon to have a chameleon in it. so here are a few questions i have.. I built it 29x29x48.. I used wood 2x2s to build the supports upward. I then attached the screen to these. I used aluminum screen from Home Depot. 1. What exact lights do I need and wattage? I need to be able to keep this warm and humid. 2. How do I get branches tall enough to bring to the Basking Bulb? The cage is pretty tall and big. 3. How much "stuff" should be in it.. such as fake plants. I already plan on getting 1 real plant but not sure if 2 would be alright.. 4. Is it ok to cut branches off a live tree from outside? or is there a better way? Thanks guys for all the help. You are all helping me buy my first cham. btw. I have spent 48 dollars so far and have the door left to build for the front. So I am looking at about 60 bucks for the cage. Pics will be posted tomorrow for your guys approval.. :)
 

Prism Chameleons

Established Member
Hi CFree,

I just answered your question on your other post about cage sizing. For young chameleons in a smaller cage, I wouldn't use any basking light hotter than around 50w and a Reptisun UVB Bulb 5.0. Make sure the vines and/or branches are not too close to your basking light as this can cause serious burns. You don't want the temperature any hotter than 90 degrees at the basking area you have set up for your chameleon.

To get branches to the basking area, the easiest thing to do is just go buy one vine at the pet store or online (they run anywhere from 7.00 - 15.00 depending on size and place of purchase). The vines are bendable and you can wrap them around your branches and set up to the right distance for basking (check the temperature with a thermometer). If you need to steady the vine, use some fishing line to tie to the edges of the screen. This works quite well for me.

As far as decorating your chameleons cage, real plants are the best as they help to provide humidity to the caging habitat. You can also add some fake vines if you wish to wrap around branches to provide extra coverage if needed. The Plant Section on this forum gives some good ideas for the type of plants that are safe for chameleons. When decorating, make sure you have open areas, as well as privacy areas for your chameleon. If you have it too dense with foliage, the UVB is totally ineffective as it cannot penetrate through plant leaves.

Anytime you use branches from outside, you must treat them for safe use for your chameleon. To treat a branch or other types of wood sources, make sure there are not sharp broken limbs poking out on the branch as this has the potential of hurting their eyes. Make sure the branch is smooth. Secondly, soak the branch in bleach (you can use a large trash can for this) in order to kill any parasites or unwanted insects inside the branch. After soaking, rinse thoroughly and since it is summer you can let it sit in the sun to completely dry. Once completely dried, it is now safe to use in your chameleon's cage.

If you have any more questions, ask away! It's nice to see someone thoroughly researching the proper habitat for panther chameleons prior to purchasing one :).


CFree3344 said:
Great post thanks so much.. With that advice.. I have built my own cage.. yay! hopefully soon to have a chameleon in it. so here are a few questions i have.. I built it 29x29x48.. I used wood 2x2s to build the supports upward. I then attached the screen to these. I used aluminum screen from Home Depot. 1. What exact lights do I need and wattage? I need to be able to keep this warm and humid. 2. How do I get branches tall enough to bring to the Basking Bulb? The cage is pretty tall and big. 3. How much "stuff" should be in it.. such as fake plants. I already plan on getting 1 real plant but not sure if 2 would be alright.. 4. Is it ok to cut branches off a live tree from outside? or is there a better way? Thanks guys for all the help. You are all helping me buy my first cham. btw. I have spent 48 dollars so far and have the door left to build for the front. So I am looking at about 60 bucks for the cage. Pics will be posted tomorrow for your guys approval.. :)
 
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Frank Castle

New Member
CFree3344 said:
3. How much "stuff" should be in it.. such as fake plants. I already plan on getting 1 real plant but not sure if 2 would be alright :)
The only fake Plants I have are the Vines that were talked about in a previous post. I have a 2x2x4 home made cage. I have 2 Ficus Trees, and a Hibiscus plant in it. I would say that the Cage is about 50% foliage. It is at the keepers discretion I think. I like the dense areas, but also have the 1st 10" from the top open for UVB and Basking. then the center is foliage, and the bottom 12" is open for feeders to run around. I have a bunch of "Chameleon Highways" in the cage with the fake vines, from the Basking area to UVB to Cool side of the cage, to the bottom of the cage, etc. You want to make it comfy enough that the cham can hide if it wants, and be in the open basking when it wants. Hope this helps a little.

Frank
 

CFree3344

New Member
I am almost done with my cage.. Just a few questions.. I plan on painting the wood black, and then water sealing it... Is this harmful to the cham? if so can i seal it and then afterwards wash it with soap and water.. Second, Is it bad to have a 23 gauge screening on the bottom of the cage? Thats what I have right now.. I did this in order for the water and other stuff to fall through into the pan below.. please let me know if this ok.. i don't want the cham to hurt himself crawling on the bottom.. but i hope he will just crawl on all the vines and 2 or 3 live plants I plan on putting in the cage.. thanks..
 
Cfree3344,
Glad to hear the cage is coming along. I would personally skip the sealer. Most major paint manufacturers offer an exterior grade 20-25 year warranty latex based paint. It will seal the wood and provide water protection. You may have to touch it up every few years or so and watch for water infiltration but you should be fine. Once painted leave it out in the sun for a day or two to gas off.

In general your cham should never be on the bottom of the cage. If he is there is a problem. He could be uncomfortable and looking to escape, sick, or if female gravid and searching for a place to lay. Screen bottoms provide drainage and can be very sanitary. That said i would make sure that the bottom provide a visual barrier that to the cham seems to be the bottom. You provided the wired gauge put not the opening size. If the cham thinks he can get through he will try relentlessly and rub his nose raw. Also make sure that your screened bottom provides good support for your plants etc, they can become very heavy when filled with water.

Here is a pic of one of 5 cages I recently completed. I used the exterior grade latex paint to paint mine, it is holding up very well. I did end up adding significantly more cover than what is pictured, and my chams have really enjoyed their new homes.

 
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CFree3344

New Member
Thanks for the Help Zerah.. Would you suggest Priming the Wood first? I don't need this to be an expert looking job.. I just want to make it black and make sure its water sealed.. Thats all. 2nd. What kind of plant is that? Looks nice. First time trying to post pics.. But hopefully it worked. This is the cage after the 3 sides and bottom screen are on.. The cage has much more done now.. I will take new pics and keep you guys updated.

Bottom Screen.jpg

2 Sides Done.jpg

3 Sides Done.jpg
 
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Sure I will post some more pics when I get home, that is the only one I have stored online.

The plant is commonly known as an umbrella plant, I am sure someone on here will provide the scientific name, I will slaughter it. It can be found at most major super centers and box stores. They are hardy and cheap and I think they provide really good cover.

I would not bother to prime; your first coat of a latex paint is a sufficient primer for your second coat. Just brush it on thin and then follow it with a good heavy coat.

Cage looks pretty good.
 
Sheffelera arbicola - the dwarf umbrella plant. Readily confused with the umbrella plant(note:NOT dwarf), Sheffelera (yeah, same genus) actinophylla. Arbicola is safe, actinophylla is much more toxic. Probably not going to kill anything, but it'll make them puke if they eat it.

Sheffelera arbicola are one of the two most common "promotional foliage" seen at big greenhouses: walmart, homedepot or lowes. They get them in by the ton, and sell them for next to nothing - usually $10 or less for a 10" pot with a 3' tree.
 
Hello all,
Ok a few more pics of the cages. In total i have five like this and am building a 6th. The design went through some evolution but they are all fantastic. They drain into a common drain and out into a flowerbed outside my office.












And of course the obligatory shot of Wasabi!
 
Frank,
Yes I did make it myself. That is the first of the cages I built and I decided to make the walls look more natural using a technique often used in dart enclosures. It is poly foam covered in black silicone and then dusted with peat and coco fiber. I really like the look, the added insulation factor, the ability to root plants to the walls, and the added humidity, but I hate the muddy drain water! So on the other 4 I skipped this and went with a cleaner approach. Both have there advantages but I am so anal I could not handle the shedding dirt.
 
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