Screen viv vs. Glass viv!?

ChameleonRave

Avid Member
Alrighty.. So I have been wondering why we are told to only keep our chams in screen cages instead of glass terrariums? Yes screen is a very easy airflow design for vivs but what about glass? Such as the Exo Terra brand? They have the vents at the bottom and has a screen top creating a chimney effect for airflow? I want to know your opinion? The glass does keep the feeders in better and also humidity than the screen. And don't think that I have my chams in a glass terrarium! I had my 3 month old veiled in an exo Terra for a month but not anymore. I just want to hear your guys' opinion! :)
thanks!
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
many people use something other than a screen cage.
what is important is the environment inside the enclosure, rather than what it is made of.
If you live somewhere that the conditions are similar to what chameleons like, a screen cage is great. It provides good air circulation, and does not trap heat and humidity.
Whereas, if you live somewhere less ideal for chameleons, you may like a more solid cage to retain heat and humidity better.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
First of all let me say that I live in Ontario and its dry and cold in the house in the winter and hot and humid for part of the summer.

I have kept chameleons in all different kinds of cages except all screen. I have been saying this for years.

When I first started keeping them over 20 years ago I kept them in glass cages with screen lids, wooden cages with some side venting and sliding glass doors, etc. With any of these you have to be careful not to let water lay stagnant on the floor of the cage. My C. chamaeleons almost all lived to be 6 years old or more living in these cages...and veileds, panthers and a number of other ones also did well. Also be aware that most of the chameleons I had then were WC's too.

As the years progressed I switched to cages with 3 glass walls and a screen door and lid...but I found that these were hard to keep moist and warm...and the chameleons tended to sit up under the basking light all/most of the time in the cool months. Even so, with attention to keep the temperatures and humidity up in the winter the chameleons did okay in these...but didn't always live as long as I thought they should.

I switched again a few years ago...this time to the exo-terra cages with the vents and screen lids. IMHO for where I live these cages are the best. The chameleons seem to do well in them.

I'm glad that Chris has published the article in the E-zine. Its time that people don't have such a "fear" of the glass cages.

Hope this helps!
 
Yes screen is a very easy airflow design for vivs but what about glass? Such as the Exo Terra brand?
Please take not the Exo Terra as a good example of glass cages. In Germany the Exo Terra glass cages have the nickname Exo Terror. The chimney effect is in my opinion not good enough for chameleons. Based on this I was wondering that Chris are using so much of them.

I prefer this:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/eve...chameleons-glass-31937/index7.html#post297519
 

ChameleonRave

Avid Member
Please take not the Exo Terra as a good example of glass cages. In Germany the Exo Terra glass cages have the nickname Exo Terror. The chimney effect is in my opinion not good enough for chameleons.

I prefer this:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/eve...chameleons-glass-31937/index7.html#post297519
It might be the climate regions? Like NE South Dakota which isn't fare from Canada I will switch to glass cages for winter it helps tremendously with humidity and heat compared to my screen cages. And that is sad that it is considered Exo Terror
 
Like NE South Dakota which isn't fare from Canada I will switch to glass cages for winter it helps tremendously with humidity and heat compared to my screen cages.
It seems you have nearly the same climate like me - cold winters and warm summers. Than a glass cage with cork at some walls helps you during the winter to keep the heat and humidity.....

And that is sad that it is considered Exo Terror
.... the problem is during the summer you need a very good chimney effect to get a good circulation. Anyway else it will be to hot for the most chameleons.


After thinking about this topic a while:
Maybe the Exo Terra glass cages are working better in the USA because you have much more rooms and houses with air condition. With this you get more fresh and cold air during summer in the room and as a consequence in the cage too. It seems then the small front ventilation is big enough for a chimney effect.
For my conditions I never will buy one of these Exo Terra glass cages because I can get customized glass cages with a big ventilation at the front and a full ventilation an top.

But I have to read the article of Chris later to get more information about his conditions.
Now it is to early (7 in the morning) and there are to much english words in his article for this time... ;)

P.S. - we like the flextray from Exo Terra and have some on our balcony...
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have no air conditioning (except for in my bedroom) and never have. You said the exo terras don't provide enough air circulation...the glass aquariums I used for the C. chamaleons, pardalis, veileds, etc. in the early 90's would have had no more, so how would they have lived so long without health issues?
 
Today I try to get the best conditions and cages for our chamaeleons.
And in my opinion a glass cage with a big ventilation on front is better than with a small ventilation.

That is the reason why I prefer cages like the two cages at the left side of the next picture and not like the cage at the right side:



Your argument shows how resistant some species are.
You are still using the same cages than in the 90's?
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You asked if I'm still using the cages I used in the 90's...no, I use mostly exo-terras now.

You said that my argument shows how resistant some species are...I kept many species of chameleons (oustlet's, senegals, globifers, verrucosus, pardalis, rudis, fuellbornis, veileds, dwarf jackson's, fischer's)...how many species do I have to name?) in the all-glass cages with screen lids...so they must all be resistant.

I have kept many other species of lizards in these cages over the years too (coneheads (lived over 11 years), helmeted iguanas, waterdragons (lived over 12 years), bearded dragons (lived over 11 years), etc. but maybe they don't need so much air circulation??
 
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ChameleonRave

Avid Member
Today I try to get the best conditions and cages for our chamaeleons.
And in my opinion a glass cage with a big ventilation on front is better than with a small ventilation.

That is the reason why I prefer cages like the two cages at the left side of the next picture and not like the cage at the right side:



Your argument shows how resistant some species are.
You are still using the same cages than in the 90's?
I have my Cham in a glass cage and the temp is abou 70. To low 80s and humidity is about 70%
 

chamyndst8

New Member
Beyond airflow, panther chams prefer a visual barrier. If they are in a glass cage they tend to paw at it relentlessly.
 
....I use mostly exo-terras now.
Interesting!

For which chameleon species do you use them?
Which of the exo-terras you are using?
If I see the offer of exo-terra glass cages, I think they are only for small chameleons.
http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/glass_terrarium.php

Or do you have a larger offer of these cages in the US and Canada?


For example - for K.multituberculata (the small subspecies) we use a 20 x 20 x 40 (Zoll/Inch) cage. In the list I find no matched cage.


I kept many species of chameleons ... in the all-glass cages with screen lids...so they must all be resistant.
Can you post please a picture of these cages?

I´m a little bit confused of the mass of technical terms in this thread. Maybe I mean the same but I´m not able to write it in a correct English (sorry - it´s not my first language).



If they are in a glass cage they tend to paw at it relentlessly.
OK - somethime our Panthers show us with this "I wanna get out" (to the flextray at the balcony). But only for this begging and absolut rarely - not as a sign of confusion.
 

fluxlizard

Avid Member
Back in the early 90s when I began with chameleons I also used all glass enclosures (aquariums) with screen lids, and used them for 4 or 5 years, raising several species from baby to breeding adults producing viable eggs in these types of enclosures, and never had a problem with them.

Species I raised from baby to breeding adult to baby again include veileds, panthers, carpets and jacksons. I also bred campani in them for a short time before selling my breeders off in those days. (edit- nearly forgot also bred and raised to breeding quads and also bred montiums in these terraria).

The screen cages became popular when 2 particular individuals took over the hobby's only regularly published newsletter. Prior to their taking it over, varying opinions on husbandry appeared in the publication, after their taking it over, it became basically their husbandry theory only. That's not to say they didn't do an excellent job and most of us today are still benefiting as a result. But they were very adamant about screen housing, and this quickly got passed on as mandatory for chameleon husbandry thanks to the newsletter and constant information regurgitation from the masses, as did the attitude that anything else was immoral and harmful.

The way screen housing became an almost magical ingredient for success and the way breeders who used glass enclosures were treated in those days- like they were immoral, ignorant and didn't care about their animals or they would use screen enclosures- has always rubbed me the wrong way, in a big way. Basically anyone with a different experience or viewpoint was called immoral and cruel (or they would switch to screen) and told to sit down and shut up- and we did.

But to me, it's nothing more than superstition. Glass enclosures were very successful for me at that time, and I used them because the guy I bought my first chameleons from used them very successfully for breeding. I had another friend who was breeding jacksons over multi-generations in those days who used them.

I eventually switched and by the latter part of the 90s was using screen enclosures. I don't think I will ever go back to glass unless I decide to set up something custom built in my living room. Screen is cheap, the dimensions are better than most glass enclosures, I love keeping the lizards outdoors all summer and don't want to invest in separate terraria for indoors and outdoors and I don't have a humidity problem in the winter.

All of those are valid reasons for using screen enclosures.

But this idea that has been floating around for years now that the unlimited airflow provided by screen enclosures is magically beneficial for chameleons when all arboreal lizards (not just chameleons- also iguanas, day geckos (from trees in madagascar!), anoles, sceloperus, collard lizards, etc) have unlimited airflow in the wild and are very successfully kept and bred in glass tanks is nothing more than superstition.

Success in a glass tank doesn't show how hardy a chameleon is- it shows the owner is providing correct environmental parameters and happens to be doing it in a glass tank. Nothing more or less.

I am really glad someone with credentials finally published the article that appeared and tip my hat and say thank you to Chris Anderson! It has been validating to see things come full circle.
 
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Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Hi everyone,

I'm glad everyone found the article compelling and I'm always happy to discuss my experiences and thoughts on such topics. As as already been mentioned, there are a lot of different ways to do things and each will work differently for different people and ultimately, success in differing setups simply means that the keeper was able to successfully create an appropriate environment in that setup.

I agree that increasing the size of the ventilation space under the doors will increase the air exchange and ventilation in terrariums and my personal opinion is that the ventilation below the doors in the Exo-Terra glass terrariums is the minimum I would be comfortable with. That said, I have had very good luck with these setups and their levels of ventilation. I've not had a single respiratory infection since I started using them and the animals seem to do very well.

As for possible reasons why some have not had good results with them, there are many possible explanations. The first that comes to mind is that the enclosures were not allowed to dry out sufficiently between misting sessions. Obviously, as you increase the amount of airflow and ventilation, it will take less time for the enclosure to dry out from a given amount of misting. The result is that with a lesser amount of ventilation and airflow, you would need to decrease the volume you mist and/or increase the time between mistings. This does not necessarily mean you can not provide the appropriate amount of water and humidity, its simply about balance. I have kept a number of species with high humidity and hydration requirements (T. hoehnelii, T. incornutus, T. montium, etc.) in them for quite a while now without negative effects.

The idea related to air conditioning helping increase ventilation is interesting and probably true, although not a necessity in every instance based on Lynda's experience. Because the air in my house is air conditioned, it is relatively cool and dry which would result in an increased chimney effect and air turnover rate. The same should also be seen in the winter for keepers further North than me.

At any rate, glass terrariums are a viable housing option for chameleons as is evident by all of our experiences. Myself and others have had good results with the Exo-Terra glass terrariums and I've been very happy with them. In the end it comes down to being able to do things in a number of different ways and learning what works best for each of us.

Chris
 

Titan

New Member
Very nice setups Chris! Just curious, It appears that all enclosures here are at least visually separated at sides and backs?


I use a couple glass terrariums with my chams and this has not been my experience at all. Have you actually tried it?



Chris
 

Chris Anderson

Dr. House of Chameleons
Staff member
Very nice setups Chris! Just curious, It appears that all enclosures here are at least visually separated at sides and backs?
Thanks! Yes, in the back of each setup I use the artificial background that comes with the enclosures. I think this adds to the look of the enclosure and prevents the chams from the temptation of trying to grab cords from the lights. On the sides between the enclosures I cut pieces of the light diffusers panels from overhead fluorescent lighting to size. This allows for light travel between the enclosures, which helps with overall brightness, but prevents the chameleons from seeing each other or having the desire to try and go into the next enclosure.

Chris
 
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