The Full Effect of Ficus on Chameleons

Discussion in 'Science And Conservation' started by Bio123, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Bio123

    Bio123 New Member

    I want to start a thread to discuss the ficus controversy. Many things about Ficus plants should be considered for the chameleons safety. Recently, I found that Ficus sap increases metabolism, which also leads to salivation. As known, ficus sap also irritates, and possibly blinds, chameleons. Does anyone want to add to this. We should discuss on whether Ficus should or shouldn't be in chameleon cages.

    Here's an outline for anyone that needs it.

    Side: (for or against)
    Reasoning: (why you support your side)
    Proof: (links or facts supporting your reasoning)

    I hope we get this resolved!:D
  2. jojackson

    jojackson New Member

    Can you please explain the above?
  3. HairyScaryMark

    HairyScaryMark New Member

    You have offered no proof to back up your claims.
  4. ChameleonAyer

    ChameleonAyer New Member

  5. Texas Panther Man

    Texas Panther Man New Member

    I dont know about the claims of increased metabolism when ingesting ficus is proven. But I used to use ficus yrs ago in my enclosures. I stopped using them and I havent had any eye issues since. That is enough proof for me not to use them any longer. I still use the long leafed ficus but not the variegated or ficus benjamina any longer.
  6. Jimturner

    Jimturner New Member

    I'm with Texaspantherman... I used ficus bengimina years ago and expirienced eye issuses with several chams... Switched to ficus Ali and have not had eye problems since
  7. PedroANDAshley

    PedroANDAshley New Member

    I have a ficus benjamina in pedros viv.
    Hes fine.
    But also I look for said sap but I cant find any.
    Suggestions on how to find it??
  8. mwebb

    mwebb Member

    I'm with them

    I have been using ficus in my indoor cages for years and no problems. I use it with my baby's and sub adults.
  9. PedroANDAshley

    PedroANDAshley New Member

    What kind of ficus though?
  10. Cainschams

    Cainschams New Member

    Same here. Inside, outside, for babies and adults of many species. They say if you trim them to let them dry for a day or two. Well, I have never done that and still have not had a problem.

    For those who had eye issues years ago and not anymore. Was it diagnosed that the ficus indeed caused the issues? I am not trying to question what happened to you guys. I am only asking because there are lots of other things that can cause issues. If your problems were "back in the day":p then could have been possible different supplements, different way of gutloading or some other nutritional issue caused the eye problems? I know from my first chameleon to know my overall husbandry has been tuned in much better all the way around. Also, were the same supplements available when you guys were having these problems?
  11. Dsignrguy

    Dsignrguy Member

    This is interesting, as one of my chams had a problem with a severely swollen eye. The vet was stumped, and nothing seemed to help....except time. Its been around 3 weeks now and his eye is almost back to normal. The funny thing is, a day or two before the problem showed up(literally over night), I did a major trim job on his ficus, and there was a LOT of sap around. I It never dawned on me, until now, that the sap could have been the problem.
  12. I use ficus is MANY cages and have zero issues. as long as you trim a branch and then wash the sap away... there is no issue with the sap bothering the cham.
  13. sandrachameleon

    sandrachameleon Chameleon Enthusiast

    If you have a chameleon that is a bit of a brute, breaking the twigs and such of a fiscus, it will bleed a white sap. This sap can irritate eyes.

    I had a female who would constantly snap branches, rip leaves etc and I therefore removed the fiscus benj and gave her other plants to destroy instead.

    But I have the same fiscus in a males cage now. He is a gentle chameleon, walking slowly and carefully, and generally using the larger vines and branches that I've run through the fiscus for most of his weight. He doesnt break twigs, doesnt eat leaves, so no sap, so no potential eye issues.
  14. ricardo velthuizen

    ricardo velthuizen New Member

    in holland almost every cham has ficus benjamina and their are almost no incidents here with the sap and some chams(not mine) take a bite of the leafs but never have any kind of injury's from it.

    But we have it on our seva list of save plant for in the viv''s and my chams never had problems with the benjamina's in any kind of way.

    This is our saveplant list hope you van do something with it.
  15. DGray

    DGray Established Member


    Here's the short and to the point:
    Safe Ficus incude:
    F. benjamina ("weeping fig")
    F. elastica (aka: robusta, decora "rubber tree")
    F. sycomorus
    F. maclellandi (aka alii "willow-leaved fig")
    F. 'Amstel King'

    I would recommend avoiding the following which all have been cited in animal poisonings:
    F. nekbudu (aka: utilis "Zulu fig")
    F. lyrata ("fiddle-leaved fig")
    F. pumila (aka: repens, "the creeping fig").

    Certain people develop an allergic reaction to fig sap. It is wise to portect your skin and eyes when pruning figs.

    Don different protection if you plan on stirring the pot.

    For my references you can look at my bookshelf post here.
    #15 DGray, Dec 5, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010

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