No Place Like Home | Creating Your Chameleon Habitat Part 2
This is part two of a multipart series about creating an ideal habitat for your chameleon. Part one focused on selecting the proper type of enclosure based on your local climate and chameleon’s need. This section is going to review where to place your enclosure once you have it purchased.
Choose a Room
Your first decision regarding the placement of your enclosure is the room in which it will be setup. While many people would initially think a common living area is the best option, it is not always the case.
First, you need to understand that chameleons can become agitated by their environment. Rooms on the main floor that are either high traffic or that allow outside noise to carry into the space can cause your chameleon to feel nervous or threatened. Repeated disturbances make it difficult for your chameleon to settle, and the constant stress can have a negative impact on his or her health.
If you have a multistory home, then selecting a low traffic room on the upper floor is ideal. Not only does the increased height help your chameleon feel more secure (this is based on the location of a window, which we will explore later in this piece), it likely has these auditory or visual disturbances. This means your chameleon is less likely to experience unnecessary anxiety based solely on the environment.
Second, you need to make sure the temperature in the space is well controlled. Chameleons are highly sensitive to temperature, and you need to make sure the room can provide the temperature range your chameleon needs to thrive.
Keep it Up
The base of your chameleon enclosure should not be on the floor. If you purchase a glass or screen habitat that does not come with a set of legs to raise it off the floor, then you will need to put the cage on a table to lift it off the ground. Make sure the table is broad enough to support the weight of the enclosure and provide reasonable stability based on the fact that the chameleon will move throughout the space and may cause the weight within the enclosure to shift slightly while doing so.
Find a Window
Just as you wouldn’t like to stare at the same four walls all day, every day, for the rest of your life, your chameleon wouldn’t like it either. To help create a more engaging environment, it is best to pick a room with a window. This also gives your chameleon the opportunity to experience sunlight on a regular basis.
East-facing windows receive the morning sun which can provide a gentler warmth, while west-facing windows will brighten up in the afternoon but often get warmer. Depending on which option you choose, you need to make sure the temperature needs of your chameleon are met throughout the day. Getting too hot or too cold is not a great way to live, so take care to monitor temperature changes so you can provide him or her with the extra warmth or shade your chameleon may require.
If you live in North America, south-facing windows actually get the most sunlight throughout the day. However, on hot summer days, it may make the temperature in the space uncomfortably high. You will need to take extra care to ensure your chameleon can escape from the heat of the sun when required to make a south-facing window work.
This is part 2 in a multipart series focused on creating an ideal environment for your chameleon. Come back for additional advice to help you build your chameleon’s perfect home.