Howdy Guys!


New Member
Im a newb to the forum and the breed. I just finished selling off 95% of my adult breeder snakes and because I dont have the time to breed and take care of so many animals, I decided to get into Chameleons.

Ive been interested for so long now that I just jumped in with both feet. I purchased two pair of animals from BLUEBEAST reptiles and am waiting on one to be old enough before he ships.

Im excited as all can be and I hope that I am going to find the forum a wealth of knowledge.

Because Im a perfectionist, Id love to hear some really good ideas on building cages and setting up the animals.

I have a pair of Sambavas and a pair of blue Nosy Be panthers coming and Id really like this to just be as smooth and sweet as can be.

Id really love your guys tips. Im not new to reptiles but as I understand the chameleons are much more fragile than any snake Ive ever had.
Oh I guess I should also say, Im going to be building my own cages while waiting........any plans or really good pics?

I saw a couple pics of you guys stuff. Id love to see more.
Im partial to zerah's cages...he takes great care in building them and with what he puts inside them. I think if you look at his examples you will get some great ideas.
Welcome Hybrid.

I honestly have tried to build cages for my chameleons. I honestly just suck at it. Heika has a very good custom cage. I believe you could access this in a past post. Utilizing a washing machine part for drainage. Tonedo has what looks to be a custom cage in his gallery (very big too). Will Hayward had a semi-recent post demonstrating good multiple cages built for his females. I believe Jerm had a good, big, custom in his gallery. Zerah is like McGayver of the forum he has a lot of good cage ideas. Chris Anderson has a article in Chameleon e-z online (how to). I think it is a thread on this site too. I figured maybe some name dropping would get some post from people that are good at it or at least give some direction where to look for ideas from.
How to build a simple 2'x2'x4' cage for your chameleon

Ok here we go!

Start by buying 2"x2" lumber (pine. poplar, aspen whatever is available). Make sure it is nice and straight unless you want to spend the day at the long bed jointer getting it straight! Pick up a 4x8 sheet of 3/8" shower board while you are there.


Cut it up real good, miters for the 2'x2' top and bottom, butt joints for the stretchers between.


Throw in your dado blade and cut a dado to hold the shower board and 1/2"x1/2" PVC coated hardware cloth. This is where you will get you strength, once glued and silicone in. Remember you only need them where you need them.


Cut the shower board down to size to fit your frames. Now test fit your miters.


If it fits good then pull out the most hated tool in the shop and go to work!


Clamp, glue, and perma-clamp (screw). Pre-drill and countersink for fun.


More sanding!


Drill the drain and test fit the fittings. This is your bottom. Build one just like it only leave the shower board out and put 1/2"x1/2" hardware cloth in instead for the top.


Pre-paint, seal, stain, whatever floats your boat. Try and keep it off the glue joints, but if you mess a bit just take a Stanley #5 1/2 and take a very thin pass to clean up.


Work very fast with Bondo fiberglass (too fast for pics) and bevel and slope the base to your drain.


Now use the stretchers we cut earlier to connect the two 2'x2' squares. Slide the shower board into the dados, do not forget your glue. Once set and screwed run a nice bead of silicone (GE 100%) to tighten things up.


Smoke cigar and look at your handy work, check for square in every direction, every corner and adjust with clamps before the glue dries, re-light cigar and admire.


Work very fast again with Great Stuff poly foam, peat and coco fiber. Find some nice sticks and screw them to the uprights. Oh and you will need a door. 1x2" poplar jointed, and planed for thickness, dado it to accept the hardware cloth, like you would a flat panel cabinet door. Mortise in 3" Stanley hinges, hang and level.


Install Stanley industrial magnetic catch and aluminum pull.

Light another cigar and stare at what you have done. Hmmm good. Thinks to your self about the 12/4 rock maple sitting in the shed that you bought to finish that bench base, oh well another day maybe.


Let it sit in the sun to gas off for a bit then plant, light and hang.


Think wow it looks good and the wife likes it so maybe I should build more!


Total cost per cage <$100.00US. Total elapsed time about 8 hours/cage.

Now you just need to figure out how to put the chams outside to get some sun! :confused:
Thanks Zerah,

Im going a bit different on my route. Im going to use 1X2 aspen furring strips and 3/8" birch plywood and aluminum (charcoal in color) screen for my first ones.

So far I have about 140 bucks in materials and I didnt think about the shower board for the bottom, good idea and Ill be using it or something like that.

In real life I build carbon fiber parts so maybe Ill just carbon fiber the bottom for giggles.

Wanna tell me more about what you did with the poly foam and other stuff to make the rock looking wall? Ive done similiar but more for my fish tanks in the past and that required concrete over the foam.
Zerah - You are an amazing carpenter. Your chams are very lucky.

Hybrid - I know that you wrote you're an experienced reptile keeper, but I was baffled by your comment "I just finished selling off 95% of my adult breeder snakes and because I dont have the time to breed and take care of so many animals, I decided to get into Chameleons.

Chameleons are not low maintenance reptiles. Once you get your cages made, all the lighting on timers, your plants and vines strategically positioned, maybe an automated misting and drainage system hooked up, and your chams are all sitting in the trees, then comes the daily routine of feeding, cleaning out their cages and caring for all the insects. Feeding your crickets and cleaning their containers, feeding your silkworms and cleaning their containers, making sure your superworms are hydrated so that they don't eat each other, the list goes on depending on the variety of your insects.

I'm sorry, you probably already know these basics but I couldn't resist pointing them out because I doubt that any cham keeper enjoys doing them. Plus correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that snakes were easier to care for than chameleons.
not when you have a couple hundred of them..............

Thawing and feeding mice, cleaning out rows of cages, incubating eggs, feeding hundreds of babies..........and so forth....

A couple pair of chameleons are no way near as hard core as me doing that kind of work.
Wow! :eek: A couple hundred snakes.......that is a lot of work and you are definitely an experienced reptile keeper. Enjoy your 4 chameleons.
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