Custom Cage So Far

Sumu

New Member
Hi, this is my first post, so if I'm doing anything wrong, please let me know!

I recently finished (aside from the door) the construction of my first custom open Panther Chameleon Cage.

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(please ignore the cords and mess)

Its dimensions are 3' x 3' x 8' with roughly 6' of lateral living space for the chameleon. The bottom 2 feet contain storage and a drainage bucket. The frame of the cage is made out of wood painted black and it is coated with black polycarbonate sheets. The walls around the corner to contain my cham are roughly 18'' high. Construction around took 4 weekends.

My cham will be a 4-month-old male Panther, and, while he may not be the first chameleon I've ever owned, it has been several years since and he will be the first I have owned as an educated owner.

I plan on making the enclosure fully bioactive with isopods and springtails upon completion. As of now, I am planning to have a drainage layer of around 2.5'' and a substrate layer of around 6''. For plants and decorations, I have 2 Madagascar jasmine vines, 1 rubber plant, 1 wandering jew, 1 ti plant, 2 bird's nest ferns, and a maidenhair fern. As a centerpiece, I am planning to have 1 giant branch around 4.5' high acting almost as a small tree for the jasmine vines to grow up. I also have artificial vines and some artificial foliage, but the foliage I only plan on using temporarily if my plants haven't grown enough to provide adequate shelter for my cham by the time he is ready to take home.

I have all other necessities such as appropriate lighting (34'' T5 HO), a heat lamp, feeders, supplements, thermometer/hygrometer, mistking, and more.

Really I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right and to see if anyone has any input/advice for my enclosure plan while it is still possible for me to make big changes before I start setting everything up. Right now I'm a little concerned about my plant selection because they are all very small right now and I'm concerned that I don't have enough plants or that they won't grow big enough to provide enough coverage for my cham. Any and all input is very much appreciated.

Thank you all so much!
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome on here! While that cage is stunning, I do have a few questions/comments:
  • Is the paint waterproof and the entire inside of the enclosure sealed?
  • I would either take down or scuff up the polycarbonate sheets as you don’t want a reflection.
  • Definitely add more branches and vines, along with some big plants and fast growing ones, too.
The Chameleon Academy has a great plant list that goes over more than the images below!
 

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Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree the black poly will be a source of reflection (and stress for the chameleon)—especially with bright lights inside the enclosure.

3' x 3' may be a challenge to reach inside to clean, maintain, and/or make adjustments.

Here are 4 lists of chameleon-safe plants:
https://chameleonacademy.com/plants/
https://www.madcham.de/en/pflanzen-fuers-terrarium/
https://www.chameleons.info/l/safe-and-unsafe-plants/
https://www.chameleonschool.com/safe-plants-for-chameleons/

The first is also a guide on how to arrange plants.
 

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome id keep quiet about the Madagascar jasmine some members may want to steal it lol 😆. Have you thought about plant light/ s ? If so you can put your smaller plants up high then move them down gradually as they grow and repot. But if you can get a really good mature centre piece happy days that will hold an adult panther weight. Also plus the links that have already been added. Casque above ( ihave the app on my phone is a great site for info 👌
 

Sumu

New Member
Welcome on here! While that cage is stunning, I do have a few questions/comments:
  • Is the paint waterproof and the entire inside of the enclosure sealed?
  • I would either take down or scuff up the polycarbonate sheets as you don’t want a reflection.
  • Definitely add more branches and vines, along with some big plants and fast growing ones, too.
The Chameleon Academy has a great plant list that goes over more than the images below!
Hi, thanks for responding!

All paint and wood are completely sealed and waterproof. I was planning on having my two taller plants, the rubber tree and the ti plant, on the backside against the exposed polycarbonate to help reduce reflection, but for now, I think I'm going to cover it as much as possible with artificial foliage. I took your advice however and I decided to get many more branches for the cage and am planning on going to the nursery tomorrow to look for more plants.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
People use black backgrounds with the black pond and stone foam, I'm more concerned with the reflectiveness.
Yeah, but those are usually covered with landscaping/plants, no? This doesn't look like that kind of arrangement. Pics I've seen of foamed enclosures usually are dark—or have additional lighting (which is fine).

Already agreed about reflectivity.
 
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