Dracaena

KazzyC

New Member
Is it only the Dracaena fragrans that's safe for chams or are all the dracaena species OK for them?
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
I don't think there is a definitive answer to that question.

The problem you'll encounter is that most of the safe/toxic plant lists that are available on the web are based on toxicity to humans or mammals, and those that are specific to reptiles are usually not very complete w.r.t. species/sub-species included.

So on some lists, Dracaena spp. is listed as safe, whereas on other lists certain sub-species of Dracaena are listed as toxic.
But how can you even know whether that toxicity is actually in relation to reptiles, or more specifically your chameleon, or is it only toxic to humans, dogs, cats etc.?

For instance, the ASPCA says that Dracaena Sanderiana (sold as "Lucky Bamboo" or "Ribbon Plant") is toxic to pets (http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pro_apcc_toxic_ribbonplant), yet my Veileds have nibbled on this plant with no ill-effects (can't verify if any of it was ingested, but they definitely bit into the leaves). So is it only toxic to mammals, and safe for reptiles like the other Dracaena plants?
Throughout the animal kingdom there are some animals affected by a plant, and others that are not affected by a plant, even within the same types of animals (e.g. sloths can eat leaves of plants that mammals with higher metabolisms can't).

Which brings me back to the original question... I don't think anyone can give you a blanket answer for an entire species of plants based on experience with only certain sub-species.
The only thing you can possibly rely on is the positive affirmation from keepers that have used the specific sub-species of plant you are using with the same species of chameleon you have. Dracaena Fragrans is a plant that many keepers have used successfully with a number of different chameleon species.

So perhaps you should tell us what type of Dracaena you want to use, and maybe somebody here has had experience with it.

If you can't positively verify that the plant is safe to use, then perhaps it is best to just follow the cautious approach and not use the plant. It shouldn't be too difficult obtain a plant that is recommended.
The specific plants that are recommended on this site are not only recommended because they are safe for chams, but also because they are relatively easy to find and generally do well in cham enclosures.

Also wanted to add:
The plant toxicity issue is usually only relevant for Veileds. Most of the other chameleon species either don't consume vegetation in the quantities that Veileds do, and so in general it is safe to use almost any plant in their enclosure (except those that cause mechanical injury, or secrete irritants, etc. - common sense prevails).
 
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KazzyC

New Member
I've got 3 Dracaena Sanderina's (AKA ribbon plant), so I was thinking about putting at least one of them in with my Veiled Cham as long as they're safe for her. I'm also going to get her a Devil's Ivy
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
I've got 3 Dracaena Sanderina's (AKA ribbon plant), so I was thinking about putting at least one of them in with my Veiled Cham as long as they're safe for her. I'm also going to get her a Devil's Ivy
As I mentioned, I had Dracaena Sanderiana in my cham's cage for over 6 months (under the mistaken impression that it was actually a bamboo) and my cham suffered no ill effects (despite the plant being left with plenty bite marks). I can't verify whether my cham ingested any of the plant or not, nor can I speculate as to what the result might have been if it did ingest the plant.

Devil's Ivy is what they call Pothos in South Africa. I'm pretty sure it would be the same in the UK. Try to check the botanical name when you buy it: it should be Epipremnum aureum or Scindapsus aureus - they are the same plant.
 
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