Shrink wrap Reptibreeze or DIY Cage?

Clintaceous

New Member
Was just exploring Kijiji and saw someone had a juvenile male panther for sale. They bought him for a living wall, but quickly realized that is not suitable for him. He may have a bunch of plants to hide in & drink from, and the proper lighting, but he does not have the correct moisture according to the owner.

I was thinking of getting a cage and getting it setup ASAP, but I want to get this done right. Basically I have nothing for this thing right now. I need a misting system as well, fogger, plants, perches, etc. So to start off, I need an enclosure for this guy and I'm definitely going hybrid. I just don't know if I should do shrink wrap over a Reptibreeze XL or build a cage from scrap.

The pros for the Reptibreeze:
- Cheapest to setup
- Requires the least materials

Cons:
- Items will have to be ordered
- Looks ugly
- Probably won't last as long
- Probably have to be careful about light placement to prevent further shrinking the wrap

Pros for the DIY cage:
- Can look quite nice!
- Fully customizable for looks, drainage, dimensions, etc.

Cons:
- Could probably do carpentry, but may waste time/materials matching up dimensions
- Probably more expensive
- Need to choose wood sealant carefully to prevent hurting the cham's lungs
- Would probably be heavier than the Reptibreeze

For my fellow Canadians out there, if you know places like Home Depot or Rona that will cut the would pieces for you please let me know! Any tips or brands for wood sealant would also be appreciated.

As a quick background, I had a female veiled chameleon as a kid that lived 7 years. This was over a decade ago so I'm sure lots about there care has changed (been on Chameleon Academy website a lot), but I am aware of their needs.
 
I bought a 10 pack of corrugated white plastic sheets of 2x4 from Amazon and put the on the inside of enclosure and the outside of another, they both look "better" than than the shrink wrap for sure! I did not like the shrink wrap method, if you follow the link in my signature to my instagram you can see an example of both enclosures, I also have threads on the forums with pics in it if you don't have socials. If you do decide to do the corrugated plastic route, make sure you use use indoor outdoor double sided tape, and make sure the chameleon has no way to get to it.

I even went as far as removing the screen from the door on my screen cages and replaced with a 1.2mm thick acrylic so I could have a clear view of the enclosure and the setup I have looks VERY nice in my opinion.

Best of luck, hope to see pics of what you do and you stick around :)
 
I bought a 10 pack of corrugated white plastic sheets of 2x4 from Amazon and put the on the inside of enclosure and the outside of another, they both look "better" than than the shrink wrap for sure! I did not like the shrink wrap method, if you follow the link in my signature to my instagram you can see an example of both enclosures, I also have threads on the forums with pics in it if you don't have socials. If you do decide to do the corrugated plastic route, make sure you use use indoor outdoor double sided tape, and make sure the chameleon has no way to get to it.

I even went as far as removing the screen from the door on my screen cages and replaced with a 1.2mm thick acrylic so I could have a clear view of the enclosure and the setup I have looks VERY nice in my opinion.

Best of luck, hope to see pics of what you do and you stick around :)
Absolutely I'll share the setup when its done! And I'll probably do the same as you and replace the front screen with acrylic to get a better view, if I go that route.
 
Was just exploring Kijiji and saw someone had a juvenile male panther for sale. They bought him for a living wall, but quickly realized that is not suitable for him. He may have a bunch of plants to hide in & drink from, and the proper lighting, but he does not have the correct moisture according to the owner.

I was thinking of getting a cage and getting it setup ASAP, but I want to get this done right. Basically I have nothing for this thing right now. I need a misting system as well, fogger, plants, perches, etc. So to start off, I need an enclosure for this guy and I'm definitely going hybrid. I just don't know if I should do shrink wrap over a Reptibreeze XL or build a cage from scrap.

The pros for the Reptibreeze:
- Cheapest to setup
- Requires the least materials

Cons:
- Items will have to be ordered
- Looks ugly
- Probably won't last as long
- Probably have to be careful about light placement to prevent further shrinking the wrap

Pros for the DIY cage:
- Can look quite nice!
- Fully customizable for looks, drainage, dimensions, etc.

Cons:
- Could probably do carpentry, but may waste time/materials matching up dimensions
- Probably more expensive
- Need to choose wood sealant carefully to prevent hurting the cham's lungs
- Would probably be heavier than the Reptibreeze

For my fellow Canadians out there, if you know places like Home Depot or Rona that will cut the would pieces for you please let me know! Any tips or brands for wood sealant would also be appreciated.

As a quick background, I had a female veiled chameleon as a kid that lived 7 years. This was over a decade ago so I'm sure lots about there care has changed (been on Chameleon Academy website a lot), but I am aware of their needs.
Hiya and welcome aboard. Home Depot and Rona can cut the wood for you. Tell them if needs to fit in the car. 😉 DIY enclosure last longer and cost more depending on the materials used. If you use the reptibreeze, I would recommend using corrugated plastic panels secured to the frame. Not the prettiest, but at least tie you over while building a beautiful enclosure. Also check out the Diy chameleon guys on YouTube. You get some get tips for diy projects.
 
Wow, thanks for the link! Just in time too, I see they are having a sale. Doesn't look like they ship to Canada, at least not without sending a quote first. I'll have to look into it, thanks!
Oh sorry my bad. I forgot about the Canada issue. DIY is not that hard... I built an outdoor enclosure on my own with no carpentry experience. Not all that different to convert to an indoor enclosure. this was my outdoor build. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/my-outdoor-enclosure-build.175829/

Products for sealing would be water based polyeurathane or something like flex seal. :) Then if your doing screen you want aluminum window screen. If you can find the black coated this is better because you can see through it. And then PVC sheets 1/8 of an inch if you want solid walls.
 
Oh sorry my bad. I forgot about the Canada issue. DIY is not that hard... I built an outdoor enclosure on my own with no carpentry experience. Not all that different to convert to an indoor enclosure. this was my outdoor build. https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/my-outdoor-enclosure-build.175829/

Products for sealing would be water based polyeurathane or something like flex seal. :) Then if your doing screen you want aluminum window screen. If you can find the black coated this is better because you can see through it. And then PVC sheets 1/8 of an inch if you want solid walls.
@Beman, nice diy, by the way.
 
Yeah you could even replace the screen with heavy Guage plastic.

Or just fo with a diy zen habitats style.

The rail is available and you can buy pvc sheets and cut to fit.

It's easier than you think.

Check my posts for my diy cage
 
Hi. :) There is another option which is kind of in between. Many have been able to convert old pieces of furniture into enclosures. Those big dining room hutches - people will almost pay you to take them! The trick is finding one which is deep enough as most are only about 15-17”. Curio cabinets, wardrobes, etc also work. Check out your local thrift stores, Facebook marketplace, kijiji, and even yard sales.
 
Thank you for all the suggestions! Did some research yesterday and decided to opt for the DIY option. The only reason I'm passing on the Reptibreeze is because its too flimsy by the sounds of it. I don't plan on using a centerpiece plant, and if I do it'll be a parlor palm or some other palm set in the back corner that only goes halfway up. Thus most of my plants will be mounted on the sides of the enclosure and branches.

Since its a hybrid cage I'm going for, I came up with an idea. The aim is to keep this thing as light as possible, while still being sturdy enough to hold plants on its walls:

Backwall & sides built with plywood, 1/4" to 1/2", or a frame all around with corrugated plastic or some other material to create solid walls.

A screened bottom, with a 1" to 2" gap underneath the cage to slide out a tray to collect water. The tray would probably be plumbed to drain water, maybe even dished if I can figure a way to do that. It may have a brace if I get a centerpiece plant.

Large upper framed front door, either glass or acrylic. Then a lower screen area either made with just a window screen kit, or framed like the upper door. Depending on whether I get a centerpiece plant or not, I may not make a door at all (still would screen the bottom of the front to get the chimney effect, just might not open up).

A simple window screen framed top, and it may be domed by plywood & framing to hide the lights.

A stand tall enough to hold a bucket for the misting system, and the bucket to collect excess water if I add plumbing.
 
Did some more research and yeah, I'm gonna go with my plan for plywood or corrugated sides. The question with corrugated plastic panels is how strong are they? 1/2" plywood would be able to handle it for sure. Thinking about it to, I might go 3/4" as connecting the panels might be more difficult since I's think the 1/2" plywood is probably more prone to splitting
 
If you are considering a plywood frame and corrugated sides, you will run into issues supporting the branches/ vines unless you include some sort of additional support for them. Corrugated panels are flimsy. Even if you mount the panels with the corrugated running vertical, they will bow. You would be better off using 1/4" pvc panels.
I've done a lot of reptibreeze cages and tried numerous ways of enclosing them. I've gone from shrink wrap, to corrugated mounted on the outside. And you really should use screws to attach the CC. I use both double sided tape and screws. The tape will give way after time without some reinforcement. And , you really should still hav some sort of attachment points that are firmly anchored to the frame to transfer the weight of the branches. The CC wont hold up over time. It really is flimsy stuff.
My latest and greatest idea is panda film/double sided tape/ screws for the sides.
Its uv resistant, easier to work with, and much cheaper than CC. It also blocks all light from the cage. CC doesnt. Its thick enough that it doesnt want to tear like shrink wrap. And you have the advantage of either a white, or black background. I've been wrapping the cage with one continuous piece, but i think on the next one im going to try to wrap the panels individually prior to assembling the cage. Its thin enough that you can find the screw holes. A stainless washer between the screw and film will keep the screw from tearing the film as you tighten it down.
Whatever the sides are covered with, I shrink wrap the door, and I mount a piece of thin lexan on the bottom door, about an inch shorter than the the total height.
Gives the enclosures a good chimney effect and helps to dry them out quickly in the morning.
 
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