No Place Like Home | Creating Your Chameleon Habitat Part 2

chameleon-63148This 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

lobby-797961Just 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.

Coming Soon!

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.

 

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Reptile-Health/Habitats-Care/Create-a-Habitat-for-your-Chameleon/

http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html

 

 

No Place Like Home | Creating Your Chameleon Habitat Part 1

chameleon-855125Before you bring your chameleon home, you must create a habitat suitable to its needs. While it may be tempting just to buy the first option you see, examining your options more carefully can produce better results. In this installment, we will cover information about the main types of enclosures that are available, and which may match your situation best.

Key Features for All Habitats

Certain features are ideal for any chameleon habitat. First, chameleons are arboreal and enjoy being able to get up higher. That means your enclosure will often be taller than it is wide. Additionally, you want to make sure the base of the enclosure is not actually on the ground. Your enclosure either needs to come with suitable legs or have the ability to be placed on a table or counter.

Drainage is also a concern as well as easy of cleaning. You want excess moisture to be able to quickly exit the living space, as well as any waste created by your chameleon. Even if you keep live plants in the habitat, drainage is always a concern.

Screened Cages

Screened cages are one of the standard options on the market. These enclosures have a frame, typically made of wood, metal, or plastic, and the frame supports the screens that prevent your chameleon from making a break for it.

The screens feature a relatively tight weave for multiple reasons. First, it prevents your chameleon from being able to reach through the screen. Even though many people would assume the design would only need to stop the chameleon from squeezing through, it is better to make sure that they can’t even stick a toe through the material. Aside from the risk of injury (should the chameleon get a toe stuck), it is also less likely to be damaged from your chameleon using it as a climbing surface.

mesh-443975Finer mesh also limits the ability of live food, such as crickets, from being able to escape the enclosure. Not only will this help keep the food in reach of your chameleon, but it also keeps in out of your home!

If you live in a hot, humid environment, screened cages make an excellent choice. First, they provide superior ventilation. This helps keep the enclosure from getting stuffy or musty as air can flow freely through the space. It also prevents the enclosure from becoming too hot based on heat retention from the material itself.

Terrariums and Vivariums

There are glass and acrylic terrarium or vivarium options that are suitable for chameleons as well. Often, these have solid sides made of glass or acrylic, a solid base, and a mesh or screened top. These options are also commonly available, though take care not to accidentally end up with a unit meant to be used as an aquarium as they may not come properly equipped and may not feature ideal dimensions.

These forms of enclosures can be ideal if your home is in a cold or dry environment. Glass and acrylic enclosures hold heat and humidity more effectively than screened cages. This allows you to create a more tropical environment without affecting your overall home environment as dramatically.

However, since temperatures and humidity can get quite high, and ventilation is more difficult with these enclosures (as it is commonly limited to the top only) you will need to pay particular attention to environmental readings.

Hybrid Enclosures

There are combination enclosures that feature a mix of glass or acrylic panels and screened sections. For example, the front of the habitat may be made of glass or acrylic, and the side may be half glass or acrylic and half screen. Some may even feature glass or acrylic panels that can be slide up or down to expose screened sections.

Hybrid solutions may be ideal if your weather varies drastically throughout the year. You can control ambient temperature and humidity more efficiently by adjusting the amount of ventilation based on current conditions.

Coming Soon!

This is part 1 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.

 

 

http://www.muchadoaboutchameleons.com/2012/04/how-to-set-up-proper-chameleon.html

http://chameleoncare.net/cage-habitat/

http://raisingkittytheveiledchameleon.blogspot.com/2007/12/enclosures-habitat.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Habitat-for-Your-Chameleon

http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/Lizard-Care/Building-Lizard-Cage/