Propagation heating mat for a cham cage


New Member
Has anyone ever used a propagation mat to heat the floor of a home built wooden cage for a chameleon? Maybe one with something over the top that would sheild it from burning my cham. I would also use a proportional thermostat with it.

Honestly, I can't think of any valuable uses for any other the following heating devices in chameleon caging; heat rocks, radient heat panels, heat mats, heat pads, ceramic heat emmiters, heat tape, heat rope...

If you have considered using these, i strongly advise you to check on what the appropriate caging and keeping tools are for the species you intend to keep or are keeping.

This is a community of friendly helpfull people, who will drop their work at a moments notice to help someone out finding an answery to their queries. Use it to your best ability.

Will Hayward.
From what i have read they need the bottom of the cage some where between 70 and 80 F. My room changes between 65 and 70 during the winter. Ill have a heat emitter on top for the basking area.
when you start heating top of the cage, some of the heat will get all the way to the bottom, and your overall cage temp will be fine.
Even if your lower cage temp is little lover then needs to be it's fine, your cham will not be spending lots of time there anyway.
So your fine.
No heat emmiters. Heat Bulbs that produce light are absolutely nessecary, as chameleons, as do almost all reptiles, associate the brightest point of light to be the hottest point of heat source. If the heat emitter does not produce the brighter light you are messing with the chameleons instinct and adaptation.

The point isn't so much to have a certain temperature at the bottom of the cage as it is to have a large gradient from bottom to top. Remember that after a couple hours that the heat from the lights (both heat lights & ultraviolet & plantlights) will raise the ambient temperatures in the room, and will thus raise the temperatures below slightly.

Chameleons actually have more defense from the cold than they do extreme heat, (I will describe if wanted) and are completly fine with low night temperature drops, providing the morning after they are able to find the 'hotspot' and warm up again.

You wont need to use a heat panel at the bottom of the cage, and it would be dangrous to as you will need to provide the chameleon with ample "simulated rain" to keep them healthy and hydrated.
I'm sorry I should have stated what i have built and are going to use. I havnt bought my cham yet because I want to make sure I have the perfect place to bring him to. I built a wooden cage thats 4'x2'x3'(I will make it taller in a few mouths when I have the head room). Its just framed in as I want to know evreything I need first befor I just throw stuff together. Im thinking of a ReptiSun 10.0 for lighting, a ceramic heat emitter with a proportional thermostat for basking, an automatic misting system, some type of floor slanted to a dranige system and some kind of heating mat in the floor. Im thinking about the carpet or a vield but that could change... I want to test all this befor I buy him.
I was just thinking of a propagation mat because it water proof.

Thank you very much Mr. Hayward. I have looked around this forum for a couple of weeks and have noticed all the nice, helpful people that I feel I can trust. If this site ever needs a new server I will be more then willing to donate to expand this wonderful place!
I had to leave my PC 1/2 into my reply and didnt see your replys. The reason I was think of a propagation mat is becasue most of them, if not all are water proof. I would also get a heavy duty one because it has thicker rubber on it. I have also read that its good to have a heat mat at the bottom anyway but Im a newbie with chams....
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the best kind of basking bulb that i found to use is this one
First, before you built anything, you need to keep in mind that each cage needs to be designed for each specific species needs. Sure there are species that have identical requirements, but considering you havent chosen a species as of yet, I think you are getting ahead of yourself.

Another point that should be made is that cages should be sized appropriately for young chameleons. A 3 month old chameleon (most common age to buy the majority of species at) would not do well in an enclosure so vast. You'll need to keep a temporary enclosre of say 12x18x24 for a chameleon youngling.

Depending on which species, the cage walls will be different materials, you may need more of less contained humidity, more of less importance for an automatic mister. As far as Ceramic heat eemiters, I already explained the importance of using a true "light/heat" bulb. The Ceramic heat emmiters seem to such just as much humidity from the air as bulbs do, and more.

I don't know of anyone using proportional thermostats with these types of chameleons. Reason being is that they are generally smart... and will move in or out of the heat, regulating themselves. There are few cases of chameleons burning themselves, however this is usually due to a fallen bulb, or a bulb that is set too close to a perch that site under the light-- the position of this perch may not be correctly aligned to allow them to stay within the heat, but back off a bit. You can correclty ensure this is possible by having angle snating branches beneath the heat lamps, allowing the chamleeon to shuffle up/forwards-down/back and choose they temperature they wish.

Another note is that some types of heat bulbs do not do work with diming thermostats at all, or do not do well with proportional thermostats as the filament cannot handle the on/off adjustments.

Actually, it completely slipped my mind that a Propagation mat would be waterproof! I goofed!

As far as donating, Brad, our wonderful creator, founder and generous site funder would be the one to contact. Him and I have personally discussed moving the site to an exclusive server and adding in some more complex real time chat features, possibly a bought program since they seem to be of higher quality.

2nd reply:

I just dont see any need for a heatmat. Unless you have gravid females, pygmy leaf chameleons, or improper caging... chameleons will spend a vast majority of their time in the upper 2/3rds of the cage, as it should be.

There are a bazillion types of bulbs that can be utilized for heatlamps, you just have to find the one you like best.

I want to note that you show diligence in insuring that each detail of your future chameleons care is looked after, and diligence is absolutely one of if not the most important trait for a chameleon keeper, aside from an open mind and a thirst for learning.

glad to have you onboard.
Thank you very much for you kind words. I like to think I have an open mind and I always love to learn knew things. I am very excited about my new hobbie! :D
I did not know that about the youngins needing a smaller sapce. The chams I have my eyes on are adults. The Carpet cham says Wc Adults, whats Wc? This is great I dont need the heat mat. That makes floor easier to make with handling the water runoff from cleaning and what not. As for the mesh screen, what would be the best? Ive seen that 1/8" PVC coated hardware cloth works good but I dont know. What ever i use I want to make sure the ReptiSun 10.0's UV rays will penatrate enough for him. I saw that the 5.0 goes down 10" or so and the 10.0, around 20". If the screen on top filters out 40-50% of the UV rays could this mean that the 5.0 would go 5" down with say 10-15% filtered out, and the 10.0 reachs 10" down with the same amount filtered or is it more like once it hits the mesh it's cut in 1/2 no matter what bulb it is? I hope my theroy makes since....
WC means "Wild Caught". These chameleons are imported. I highly suggest starting with CB which signifies "Captive Bred" or "Captive Born". If it doesn;t say, Ask. With imports you'll have to deal with parasites, old age, easy to stress chameleons. Trust me, not something you usually want to experience your first go round.

The screening can depend on what you intend to feed, how you want to offer food, or if you want to risk escaped live feeders. For young chameleons, you'll want very fine mesh, or even a type of see through solid cloth. I don't advise you use metal screen. "Pet Screen" seems to be nice as there is much less chance of it pulling out toenails imo. And I beleive you can buy "SUNTEX" (good stuff) at

Not enough research has been done on screen reducing the UV rays. However you can read probably one of the best sites concerning reptiles and UV lighting here:
WC means wild caught, and they really aren't your best bet for a first chameleon. You may want to look at captive bred, or CB. Wild caught chameleons take some work to acclimate and even the most experienced keepers usually have some loss. You can do everything right, and the animal may just fail to thrive. Some individuals simply don't do well in captivity. If you are really set on getting a carpet, which is really an intermediate chameleon, you should look for a captive bred one to improve your chances of success. They do exist...

i would get a cb veiled chameleon because they are good starter chameleons and you dont have to invest 300 - 600 dollars for the animal you could buy a established one for maybe 60-90 dollars. or you could try your luck with a baby for maybe 35$
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