Critique my outdoor enclosure

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
My parson's summer home... about 8 feet tall by 10 feet in length. I think just under 4 feet wide.

I had to foam a few holes... he got his head stuck in one(very scary, but he's alright thank god. Never thought he'd try pushing his head through a little golf ball sized hole in the wire.). Had some leftover foam with that and figured I'd make a few ledges on the side to prop branches and whatever. I also foamed across the seam where the wire sheets meet because he was getting his toes stuck between.

My personal thoughts for the future:
-Do a more extravagant foam wall with branches and flower pots. Want to see how it holds up as is this year. So maybe next.
-switch out those hanging baskets for some more full plants, just been tight on money lately or would have bought more already. Have all our very nice plants on our porch currently, wife would be mad if I stuck them in the cham enclosure.
-plant some flowers that attract pollinators and a shrub/tree in the ground that can survive winter. Probably hold off until at least next year for that though.

Last year I used more plant cover, but there are bushes and trees around the enclosure. I went with less this year because it is already very shady and humid. I don't think adding much more plant cover would be beneficial, maybe some little pockets, but not as much as I had. The ground is tons of leaf litter/mulch with thousands of bugs, worms, you name it... I even find salamanders and toads all over the place.

My one safety concern is rats. They can do serious damage, but I have had no issues with them in the past*knocks on wood*. Living in the woods, I'd hope they have enough food to not chew their way into an enclosure(could they chew through hardware cloth?). Maybe squeeze under the door even.
 

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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Tried planting some wild grapevine(massive ones in our woods!!!) and honeysuckle vines in the cage, but they don't seem to be doing too well. Probably need to add more soil or something 🤷🏻‍♂️

A better way to lock the door and easy/safe way to add feeders to a large enclosure like this would be nice too.

Was considering adding another layer of mesh to keep bugs in(like flying feeders)... and to keep lightning bugs out(highly toxic). He also seems to try and climb to the trees on the other side of the screen so I might need to block his view on one side.
 
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Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looking great 👌🏻 I’m thinking about one as well, but got a lot of birds, cats and squirrels coming in and out of the garden all day. Don’t know if it’s safe.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looks great. What kind of temps do you get in the summer?
Thanks brad! Umm usually mid/high 80s and very humid. 90s aren't unheard of though, just hit I think 95 the other day, which is very hot with the humidity. Basically like a less intense version of florida here.
Looking great 👌🏻 I’m thinking about one as well, but got a lot of birds, cats and squirrels coming in and out of the garden all day. Don’t know if it’s safe.
Thank you! We have a lot of wildlife here. That's why I went with the steel wire. There's a family of raccoons living under the shed that the cage is next to lol. They can't get in and don't bother with it anyway. Rats are probably my main concern.

You could try slowly sneaking the plants off of the porch…maybe your wife won’t notice. ;) If she does, we’ll, it’s big enough to be your summer home too.
🤔I could just tell her some no gooder is out stealing people's plants and that I won't rest until I get to the bottom of it.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Rats are very good at chewing their way into things. Especially if they are motivated to do so. If you just have the lightweight plastic coated cloth then they would be able to get through this without issue. I kept rats most of my life. They have no issue chewing the entire black top out of the edge of a tank. In AZ they will chew through weak points under houses to get into ducking. They are also excellent climbers and have no issues going up walls if it suits them. So I agree with this being a concern.

You could add a layer of aluminum screen to help keep out the smaller flyers. This is what I did on mine and it worked like a charm. I do not have to worry about lightening bugs but I do have to worry about scorpions here.

There is another plant that @Kaizen uses that is a vine plant with fast growth that may work well for you. I can not remember the name of it though :(
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Rats are very good at chewing their way into things. Especially if they are motivated to do so. If you just have the lightweight plastic coated cloth then they would be able to get through this without issue. I kept rats most of my life. They have no issue chewing the entire black top out of the edge of a tank. In AZ they will chew through weak points under houses to get into ducking. They are also excellent climbers and have no issues going up walls if it suits them. So I agree with this being a concern.

You could add a layer of aluminum screen to help keep out the smaller flyers. This is what I did on mine and it worked like a charm. I do not have to worry about lightening bugs but I do have to worry about scorpions here.

There is another plant that @Kaizen uses that is a vine plant with fast growth that may work well for you. I can not remember the name of it though :(
Thanks becca!

I've seen them chew through some pretty crazy things in the city. The hardware cloth is pretty heavy duty, not sure they'd be motivated enough to bother with it. I've had him outside going on 4 years with no problems, but I don't want to be careless and then have something happen. I think I'm more concerned about them squeezing through any little gaps(are they good at that I assume?)

I have mosquitoe net over most the enclosure, but nothing on the door. It's kind of messy so I left it off, but it'd be nice to hatch some bottle flies, soldier flies, and moths in the enclosure. Wonder if I could even breed some hawk moths inside lol.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks becca!

I've seen them chew through some pretty crazy things in the city. The hardware cloth is pretty heavy duty, not sure they'd be motivated enough to bother with it. I've had him outside going on 4 years with no problems, but I don't want to be careless and then have something happen. I think I'm more concerned about them squeezing through any little gaps(are they good at that I assume?)

I have mosquitoe net over most the enclosure, but nothing on the door. It's kind of messy so I left it off, but it'd be nice to hatch some bottle flies, soldier flies, and moths in the enclosure. Wonder if I could even breed some hawk moths inside lol.
My male I had could squeeze under half inch door gaps.... Put it this way if their head will fit they can squeeze their body through as well most of the time. Really depends on how determined they are.

Last summer I was putting flies in to pupate in the outdoor enclosure. Worked really well having the aluminum screen. I bet you would have no issue at all with Hawk moths breeding and laying eggs in there. Just add a humming bird feeder for the moths so they can get nectar.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
My male I had could squeeze under half inch door gaps.... Put it this way if their head will fit they can squeeze their body through as well most of the time. Really depends on how determined they are.

Last summer I was putting flies in to pupate in the outdoor enclosure. Worked really well having the aluminum screen. I bet you would have no issue at all with Hawk moths breeding and laying eggs in there. Just add a humming bird feeder for the moths so they can get nectar.
Ugh I figured that about their head. Reminds me of octopus keeping lol. Any hole bigger than their beak they can fit through.

Good idea with the nectar. I wonder if I could just let a bunch of hornworms wonder around in there and pupate... or pupate them separate and place them in the cage. They can take so long to hatch though 😕
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ugh I figured that about their head. Reminds me of octopus keeping lol. Any hole bigger than their beak they can fit through.

Good idea with the nectar. I wonder if I could just let a bunch of hornworms wonder around in there and pupate... or pupate them separate and place them in the cage. They can take so long to hatch though 😕
The one I hatched out took about a month. Then it took him 2 days to fully dry out his wings before he was able to fly and drink. Even if you kept them until right before they look for a place to dig in that would be good. Release them into the cage at that point. I dunno how much No Name would go after them though lol.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
The one I hatched out took about a month. Then it took him 2 days to fully dry out his wings before he was able to fly and drink. Even if you kept them until right before they look for a place to dig in that would be good. Release them into the cage at that point. I dunno how much No Name would go after them though lol.
Can you believe I had some pupae that took the better part of a year to hatch?!?! Dunno what was up with them.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Can you believe I had some pupae that took the better part of a year to hatch?!?! Dunno what was up with them.
HOLY crap. I wonder if they were too cold or dry? I dunno. I honestly forgot about my lil dude until I heard scratching one day coming from my bug cabinet. I had him in a tiny critter keeper buried in dirt and he had crawled up on the lid trying to get out . lol
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
HOLY crap. I wonder if they were too cold or dry? I dunno. I honestly forgot about my lil dude until I heard scratching one day coming from my bug cabinet. I had him in a tiny critter keeper buried in dirt and he had crawled up on the lid trying to get out . lol
Mine weren't buried, but they were humid and at about room temp. Maybe a couple degrees below.

Usually they were faster than that, but the last 2 took forever. Weird heh
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Mine weren't buried, but they were humid and at about room temp. Maybe a couple degrees below.

Usually they were faster than that, but the last 2 took forever. Weird heh
Yeah. I just did it for fun since the lil dude grew so dang fast. I had no idea what I was doing. :hilarious:
 

Persnickety Parson's

Chameleon Enthusiast
It sucks, 0/10. :p


In all seriousness my only concern is your wild life id personally try and reduce the size of the holes and change the screen to metal. Along with taking measures to discourage burrowing.

Ive seen rats pull some amazing shite. With horrifying results.

Also I dont know if you taken measures to prevent animals tunneling into the enclosure as well.

As for plant cover depends on how confident your cham feels.

Raccoons I dont know if you have them around, but if so I'd redouble existing security measures, they are nightmares to repel.
 
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