Custom Cage or Something From J Worlds Custom Cages


New Member
Hi Everyone,

I'm thinking about getting or making a display cage for my cham Mtumbo. What are the pros and cons of making a cage vs. buying one?

Hi Everyone,

I'm thinking about getting or making a display cage for my cham Mtumbo. What are the pros and cons of making a cage vs. buying one?


I've never made one myself, but I can imagine the pros are being able to make it exactly the way you want it, more or less, and possibly saving money that way, BUT if you have limited expertise or are impatient, it may not turn out very well.

If you're going to buy, I recommend Dragonstrand. They're closely priced with other commercial Vivs, but are of much better, rust proof quality, and they're ridiculously light and easy to put together. Not to mention, customer service is top notch.
This is just list off top of head of pro's and con's for each, Feel free to add more.

Custom Enclosure:
One of a kind
Built to your specs
Custom sizes
Satisfaction of creating encloure for you reptile with your own two hands.

Time! Takes a bit to build it
Time! Have to design it
Material (If using wood, wood needs sealent)

Pebuilt enclosure:
Tested Design
Long Lasting
User support and company support
Built to withstand high humidity

Limited on customization
Only have few sizes to choose from
Not many good ones to choose from so everyone has one

For cost, it's a pro and con for both, as depending on if you buy materials new or not, how you seal it, ect, custom cages can cost much more or much less than good premade cages.
J worlds are $3k-$10k. I dont think i could sink 3K into a custom cage if my life depended on it. You would be better off hiring a local carpenter.

Guess im just too hill billy. 4ft cage, no problem, $50 sheet of marine plywood, cut 2 4ft circles, attach thick coated wire (even stainless rusts), buy some $10 concrete mixing tubs, get a $100-200 sprinkler system going, get some arcaidas, boom dun, on to the next one.
When building your own cage I have found it is a never-ending process. There is always something you want to change, so although the first cage may cost less than a pre-made cage, the costs in the future tend to escalate.

As long as you have the tools, time, and money, building your own can be an enjoyable experience.

If you are short on any of those, buy it my friend!

In the long term life of a cage, wood and water do not mix…just saying' from experience!


If you happen to care a lot about having a furniture grade cage with fancy wood, joinery and trim that match decor, maybe an expensive custom build would be worth it. I see many cham cages that are finished nicely but way to small IMHO.

I don't really care if the cage has fancy corners or finishes. My personal preference is for a cage large enough to give the cham a decent life, accommodates attractive large bushy plants, offers a variety of microclimates, hiding areas, humid spots, varying light exposures. It will also be visually interesting anywhere in the house. A very simple cleanly designed screen panel cage can look great, as the occupant and the plants are the focus. Easier to maintain without worrying about water staining or warping a fine wood either.
Hell, I have seen some setups that people convert those chinet cabinets into chameleon cages. Those look mighty fine too.. Wish I had my own house so that I may be able to do that sort of stuff.
My husband is currently building me a solid oak enclosure with hidden lights and a cabinet under to hide the drainage pot and misting system. He is being very particular with it and in the end it will be gorgeous. But it takes along time to do it correct (ie no nails or screws, just wood glue and correct joints with biscuits and dowels). The cage parts is 24x24x48 and with the stand and light enclosure it will be over 6 foot tall. But until then, my female veiled is in a reptibteeze with a stand that we built very quickly. Pros in my opinion- gorgeous, one of a kind and everything I want including shelves for plants and a sealed pebble floor. Con-- takes a long time before its done! And even building it yourself it is very expensive. Using incorrect types of wood can be a waste of time because they won't hold up the life of your pet.
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