Large outdoor enclosure: live plant help & imagination are welcome

Preekoo

Member
Everyone needs to use a little imagination on this one :p
Its going to be a 8 ft tall , 6 ft wide, and 4 ft in depth, screened outdoor enclosure.
All AC2 treated lumber.

The second picture shows how long the enclosure will be. Thats the 4 ft depth sticking up in the air :p (the part laying on the ground will be one of the 6 ft sides)

I'm going to lay down 2- 2x4 across the very top of the box (Imagine it standing up and fully furnished with plants in it) and hang 2 pothos from the top. But there will be room in between both of them for a ficus to be at the bottom.

I'm raising the enclosed part a good 1'-1/2 above the ground and putting a sheet of some plastic flooring with holes so I can put pot's underneath it; for the ficus and possibly some other potted plants.

My questions to everyone are:

1) Screening: As you can see, there is a large forest right behind my house. Our entire property is crawling with bugs during the summer. There's cobwebs and ants everywhere. Soo should I perhaps use door screening along the sides and a more grated metal material along the top for the sun to come through?

2) Live plants that can live outdoors pretty good: Pothos and Ficus are some pretty sturdy plants, I believe. I'm forsure hanging 2 plants from the top, having atleast one larger potted plant sprouting from the bottom, and I'm not to sure for what to furnish the empty spaces with. That's what I'm wondering.

3) Any other advice/comments/ help is much appreciated, this is so far my first large "dedicated" outdoor enclosure.

I have 2 chams by the way. Leon (Profile picture), he's about 17-18 months. And I have my little 6 month old female BB Panther, Molly.

:D
 

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Preekoo

Member
And perhaps some ideas for the massive amount of sticks I'm going to be putting in there, I would rather it all be bought online in bulk for cheap and thin and sturdy enough to not poke holes in the screening.

Links to some good websites would be kicken :p
 

squiggles13

New Member
I wish we could build an outside room for our chams. I am by no means an expert, but i would assume you could use door screen. Are you bringing them in at night? Do you cup feed/ hand feed?

There was someone who posted his idea about holding up dowel rods with plastic chains. There were some that fit perfectly and some that required ziptying. You could also buy a bunch of flex vines to put throughout the cage.

hope this helps a little:)
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
That sounds awesome, many chameleons on this forum are jealous right now.

I would actually focus more on using a really sturdy chicken wire-type screen, something that will keep your chameleon safe from hawks, cats, raccoons, etc. You always have alternatives to keep bugs away (like putting each leg in a bucket of water, as a rough example, or natural pest-repelent remedies) but it's more important to keep them safe from predators. And if things like flies and such come in, well... free lunch.

As far as plants, pothos do well outside but need a lot of water. They seem to dry up easily outside in the sun, so I have to water mine daily. But ficus would be great, schefflera would also be great. Since you have a veiled, why not add hibiscus as well? I bet you he would love eating the leaves and flowers and they would do well outside in bright light.
 

Preekoo

Member
I wish we could build an outside room for our chams. I am by no means an expert, but i would assume you could use door screen. Are you bringing them in at night? Do you cup feed/ hand feed?

There was someone who posted his idea about holding up dowel rods with plastic chains. There were some that fit perfectly and some that required ziptying. You could also buy a bunch of flex vines to put throughout the cage.

hope this helps a little:)
I like the idea of the plastic chains and sticks! Thanks for sharing, I could put those along the top, next to the hanging rings along the support beam and dangle some sticks around. Thanks!

And yes I'll be bringing them in at night. But I sure plan for them to be out there all day :cool:
 

Preekoo

Member
That sounds awesome, many chameleons on this forum are jealous right now.

I would actually focus more on using a really sturdy chicken wire-type screen, something that will keep your chameleon safe from hawks, cats, raccoons, etc. You always have alternatives to keep bugs away (like putting each leg in a bucket of water, as a rough example, or natural pest-repelent remedies) but it's more important to keep them safe from predators. And if things like flies and such come in, well... free lunch.

As far as plants, pothos do well outside but need a lot of water. They seem to dry up easily outside in the sun, so I have to water mine daily. But ficus would be great, schefflera would also be great. Since you have a veiled, why not add hibiscus as well? I bet you he would love eating the leaves and flowers and they would do well outside in bright light.
Thanks for the info Olimpia :p

I went to Menards and found alot of different metal mesh's. Some are just square patterns and just thin metal bars running up and down. I thought those would work good but I'm pretty sure they would get a little rusty :/

Would chicken wire rust?

& would schefflera's be hangable? Maybe, hanging pretty low down and a hibiscus hanging higher up on the other side and so then the whole cage will kind of have an elevating flourishment with a ficus sitting in the middle?
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Thanks for the info Olimpia :p

I went to Menards and found alot of different metal mesh's. Some are just square patterns and just thin metal bars running up and down. I thought those would work good but I'm pretty sure they would get a little rusty :/

Would chicken wire rust?

& would schefflera's be hangable? Maybe, hanging pretty low down and a hibiscus hanging higher up on the other side and so then the whole cage will kind of have an elevating flourishment with a ficus sitting in the middle?
I know that some are plastic-coated metal wire, that might be a good option to look into.

Scheffleras (or umbrella trees) are a bush so it'll grow upwards, but you can use a plant stand or a few bricks to raise up some of the taller plants, so you have varying plant height throughout the cage.

And as far as branches or vines in the cage, feel free to cut them directly from a tree! Avoid pine or anything else that is sappy, poisonous, or has loose, flaky bark. But if you have a tree nearby that has smooth bark you can totally cut down some branches to size and put them in there. No need to waste money on fake plastic vines when these are more natural (and free).
 

Preekoo

Member
I know that some are plastic-coated metal wire, that might be a good option to look into.

Scheffleras (or umbrella trees) are a bush so it'll grow upwards, but you can use a plant stand or a few bricks to raise up some of the taller plants, so you have varying plant height throughout the cage.

And as far as branches or vines in the cage, feel free to cut them directly from a tree! Avoid pine or anything else that is sappy, poisonous, or has loose, flaky bark. But if you have a tree nearby that has smooth bark you can totally cut down some branches to size and put them in there. No need to waste money on fake plastic vines when these are more natural (and free).
That is a good option :3 I'll look into that for sure.
Alright well that takes care of the branches problem as well :)

Well I'm going to stop by our plant nursery we have in town (chameleon owners dream palace) and pick up a ficus, schefflera, and a hibiscus.

But before I do that, I'm going to get the core of the frame structure built and and the plastic flooring in.

Now my question with that is, should I put the ficus underneath the enclosed part? With like a hole thats lined up against the edge of the pot? Or does a ficus even need that big of a pot? Last time I checked they dont get all that big. I could just stick the pot in the enclosure if so.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
For larger sturdier trees you could use edible fruit or nut trees, maple, ash, birch, or alder. If there are any of these around your area you could cut branches for your climbing routes. To give them more height plant them in large pots. Hibiscus would love sunny spots. Clematis or morning glory vines would fill in fairly quickly and attract insects.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
That is a good option :3 I'll look into that for sure.
Alright well that takes care of the branches problem as well :)

Well I'm going to stop by our plant nursery we have in town (chameleon owners dream palace) and pick up a ficus, schefflera, and a hibiscus.

But before I do that, I'm going to get the core of the frame structure built and and the plastic flooring in.

Now my question with that is, should I put the ficus underneath the enclosed part? With like a hole thats lined up against the edge of the pot? Or does a ficus even need that big of a pot? Last time I checked they dont get all that big. I could just stick the pot in the enclosure if so.
A Ficus in the right climate would get larger than the indoor potted types. They get huge in nature. The pot and soil will need light or it may mold and stagnant. And, you'd need to be able to get to the pot periodically to change soil, feed, etc.
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
I know that some are plastic-coated metal wire, that might be a good option to look into.

Scheffleras (or umbrella trees) are a bush so it'll grow upwards, but you can use a plant stand or a few bricks to raise up some of the taller plants, so you have varying plant height throughout the cage.

And as far as branches or vines in the cage, feel free to cut them directly from a tree! Avoid pine or anything else that is sappy, poisonous, or has loose, flaky bark. But if you have a tree nearby that has smooth bark you can totally cut down some branches to size and put them in there. No need to waste money on fake plastic vines when these are more natural (and free).
Most of the large hardware stores carry plastic fencing that has 1/2 inch holes. Doesn't rust or damage climbing cham feet. the rolls are 15 feet long by 2 feet tall, so plan to have wood to staple to.
 

Preekoo

Member
Most of the large hardware stores carry plastic fencing that has 1/2 inch holes. Doesn't rust or damage climbing cham feet. the rolls are 15 feet long by 2 feet tall, so plan to have wood to staple to.
My step dad pointed this out to me because he used it as the windows for his chicken house he built. I'll probably just zip tie all the loose ends together since the fenced sides will be 6 ft tall, and I'll be adding a door in along the side.

And just throwen it out there, I bought all the lumber needed for $49.00
I went in to buy the wood and they were like "Oh well what do you know? All the expensive wood your buying is on sale for dirt cheap!"
I bought four 8 foot 4x4's, four 6 foot 2x4's, & four 47"-48" 2x4's (<-?)
All pressure treated, water proof pine.
 

Preekoo

Member
I'll be posting progress pic's sometime today.

Progress is crawling by since its been raining so much and I just cant handle the humidity outside for to long. And trying to drill these wooden post together on a not level patio is VERY frustrating. I've had to go back and start over on a few parts because my sides arent level.
 

Preekoo

Member
Finally got the frame done. Im off to work unfortunately so ill be back tommorow to update you all even further.

We braced each part where the boards connected with steel braces and also screws inside of the wood (picture 5) into the other boards. Tommorow I will have it mainly done. I just hope the weather permits a test run :)
 

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Preekoo

Member
Alrighty, after a long day of making trips to Menards, hauling lumber, cutting wood, measuring, and tending to my cham about to lay eggs; I got the floor in :l

I have everything to finish this up by tommorow afternoon. I have the plastic coated screening, and a butt load of bamboo to furnish it with as well. I'll be putting an umbrella, a pothos or two, and a cham safe tree that wont get all to big outdoors (<--? help). The pothos will be hanging from support beams at different heights to try and give my guys some options ;) And also I will probably add in alot of rope and some branches from outside.

I would love to hear some suggestions from everyone :D Thanks!
 

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Preekoo

Member
Thanks Olimpia!

I went to our nursery in town and picked up all the plants I'll be putting in.

From left to right:
I got an umbrella, hibiscus (really pretty one), swedish ivy, and a regular ficus.

I'll be hanging the sedish ivy and the unmbrella will be elevated pretty high up to about the height of the hibiscus :D
 

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Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Awesome, that's a nice hibiscus. I tell you, he'll probably enjoy that one the most. It's a hang out place and a healthy snack, all at the same time!
 
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