New this suitable?


New Member
Hey, I have posted earlier last week about the new cage I was building for my 7 month old panther chameleon, Marty. Well, the cage, I am pleased to say, is finally complete. It is a wood frame cage, 48''T X 30''W X 18''D, with plastic coated fiber-glass screening. I also constructed a base to sit it on so it is elevated 16'' inches from the ground. I am using a reptisun 5.0 uvb bulb, a zoomed daytime basking uva bulb, and a zoomed night heat bulb (which I plan only to use when it gets colder in the winter). In the bottom of the cage I have a live rubber plant that is approximately 18'' tall ( Is this plant ok, if not what would you suggest). Propped diagonally across the cage I have pieces of bamboo and sandblasted grapevine. Also towards the top I have fitted smaller bamboo pieces to go horizontally across the cage. Intertwined in all of these is a menagerie of fake vines and fake hanging plants. The temperature at the top (basking area) stays between 85-95. The lower portion of the cage can range from 70-80, and the whole cage drops at night to about 70. Marty really seems to enjoy it and is constantly exploring his new enclosure. If there is anything wrong with this setup please inform me, or if you have any suggestions they would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. :)
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Hello Kat,
I'm a slow typist, but here goes.

Which wood did you use? And did you treat it in anyway? With what brand and type. There are a few that could cause problems and are not suitable. With wood frames you absolutely need to make sure that they dry out between misting. Any areas that constantly stay moist can cause rot, or bacteria and fungal growth. Of course this happens in other more sterile materials as well, but it is worsened by the wood as it absorbs the moisture. Also, I have found that the screws and metal bits used in wood cages seem to rust much faster. Nothing a little protective non/low-solvent orderless paint cant fix though.

What temperatures does your house reach at night during the winter? Houses that get too cold on winter nights are very few and far between. You would be surprised by how low temperatures chameleons do well in. Chameleons need the drop in temperature, and if not given one, it can cause digestive problems among others. Chameleons have very very good thermoregulation and there are some species in the wild that survive night frosts. The chameleon circulatory (blood flow) system is quite advanced and the blood can be slowed down to loose less heat. Also veins shrink and the heat beats slower, and so it looses less of the heat it absorbed during the day. It works the other way as well when a chameleon wants to warm up during the day. It is easier for a chameleon to cope with hypOthermia than it is for a chameleon to cope with HypERthermia.

Rubber plant is more toxic than most and not recommended for chameleons. You can visit the plant section of the forums by going to the mainpage and selecting "Live Plants" on the left side menu. There you will also find links to several other well written articles on chameleon safe plants. My personal favourites are Ficus benjamina (A mini Tree like plant ~12-60" usually), Pothos (Long Hanging Vines but start out as ground cover), and Schefflera arboricola (Great leaves that hold misted water).

Photos would also help other members see any potential problems or see good ideas you have Incorporated. You can host them here on the websites gallery section, or use to put the photos online.

-Will Hayward
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