To Ficus or not to Ficus, that is the question.

werecat

Established Member
Hi all, I'm new here and am considering buying a chameleon soon. Been looking at Jackson's or maybe panther. Anyhow, in my research on both this forum and on other internet sources I keep reading that Ficus is a popular live plant to include in enclosures, but I also read that it is mildly toxic and can produce a milky substance that can hurt chameleon eyes. So... what do I do? I like the idea of a small Ficus tree for my chameleon to climb around on and it's many leaves look like they'd hold moisture well. But I worry about the health problems. I'm eager to hear your experiences with Ficus or reasons you avoid it.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi all, I'm new here and am considering buying a chameleon soon. Been looking at Jackson's or maybe panther. Anyhow, in my research on both this forum and on other internet sources I keep reading that Ficus is a popular live plant to include in enclosures, but I also read that it is mildly toxic and can produce a milky substance that can hurt chameleon eyes. So... what do I do? I like the idea of a small Ficus tree for my chameleon to climb around on and it's many leaves look like they'd hold moisture well. But I worry about the health problems. I'm eager to hear your experiences with Ficus or reasons you avoid it.

The health problems are very minor. Most of us have used or still use Ficus. I prefer looking for Ficus alli which is a larger tougher variety than Ficus benjamina. F. alli has longer lance-shaped leaves than F. benjamina. Check for this type at houseplant nurseries. Ficus sap is only a problem if the cham is unlucky enough to get some in its eye. If you do any branch or leaf pruning to open up easier climbing routes through the tree and rinse the sap off before you put the tree in a cage that will take care of most of the problem. Sometimes a cham will break a twig or leaf when climbing around on the tree...but again, it would have to actually bump its eye on the broken tip to get sap on itself.
 
Top Bottom