What Size Enclosure Should a Chameleon Have?
If you’re a reptile-lover who has the time and money to commit to specialized care, a chameleon can be a great pet. While they can be delightful as pets, the wrong size enclosure can make your chameleon uncomfortable. For your lizard to have the best quality of life, you need to make sure that you give it the right size of home. While you can buy a chameleon for sale online, it doesn’t come with everything it needs. Here are a few tips to help you create the best environment for your chameleon.
What Is the Best Enclosure for a Chameleon?
While a chameleon is small, that doesn’t mean you should buy a small cage; the opposite is true. Chameleons like to climb, so look for a cage that is taller than it is wide. People commonly keep chameleons in cages made of mesh, but the right material for a cage depends on the climate where you live. While most people can house their chameleons in a fully mesh cage, cages made of wood, PVC, glass, or wood can be better for drier climates. If it’s more humid where you live and you have a mesh enclosure, cover two sides with opaque plastic to provide a sense of security. If you have multiple chameleons, get them each their own enclosure, as they’re fairly solitary creatures.
How To Select the Right Size Enclosure for Your Chameleon
The appropriate size of enclosure for your chameleon depends on age, sex, and size. Male chameleons are bigger than female chameleons, so they need larger cages. The average recommended sizes of cages for male and female chameleons are as follows:
- Female chameleons: 24 inches by 24 inches by 36 inches
- Male chameleons: 24 inches by 24 inches by 48 inches
Many people have found success keeping baby chameleons in smaller cages. This can help with thermoregulation and make it easier for them to access food. While juvenile chameleons can thrive in smaller enclosures, you can also keep them in adult-sized cages without issues. It may be more cost-effective to have an adult-sized cage from the beginning rather than buying a smaller one and replacing it as your chameleon grows. If you buy a smaller cage for your baby chameleon, you should use it only short-term. A chameleon will need more space as it grows.
How To Build a Proper Chameleon Habitat
Although the size of the enclosure is one of the most important aspects of a chameleon’s habitat, it’s far from the only one. If you put your chameleon in an empty cage, it’s not going to do much good. For your chameleon to thrive, all its environmental needs should be met, including lighting, temperature, humidity, substrate, and decor. While these things are present in a chameleon’s natural habitat, you need to add some things to your enclosure to mimic those elements in your chameleon’s cage.
UVB and Daylight Lighting
Chameleons are the most active during the daytime hours, and as such, they require lots of light. You’ll need two types of lights in your chameleon’s enclosure: UVB lights and daylight lights. Keep these lights on in the enclosure for 12 hours a day.
- UVB Lights: Run a 6%-intensity UVB light tube over the top of the mesh at least two-thirds of the length of the enclosure. It’s best to keep UV lights on the enclosure rather than inside it.
- Daylight Lights: While UVB lights are essential for chameleons, they also need brighter daylight lights to thrive. Look for a 6500K T5 HO fluorescent or LED lamp to supplement your UVB lighting on top of the enclosure. This will help with the chameleon’s mental health.
In the wild, chameleons like to spend lots of time getting warm in the sunlight. They are cold-blooded creatures, meaning they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. To mitigate this need, place a heat lamp inside the enclosure. How hot the lamp is and how long to have it on depends on the type of chameleon you have. Veiled chameleons, for example, prefer a lower ambient temperature at night than panther chameleons do.
The proper humidity in the enclosure is just as important as how warm it is. To keep the correct humidity levels in place, use a mister to put moisture into the air. Using a hygrometer, you can measure how humid it is in the enclosure. Depending on the needs of your specific breed of chameleon, you can mist the enclosure a few times a day. You can do this manually or use an automatic mister. You can also use a fogger or humidifier as long as you use distilled water and disinfect it regularly.
A Way To Drain or Absorb Water
Chameleon environments have a lot of water pass through them, so make sure to add either a substrate or a draining system at the bottom of the cage. Chameleons don’t spend much time on the ground, so using a substrate may not be necessary as they can absorb some water. If you go this route, you can use something like moss or coconut husks, which also help with the enclosure’s humidity.
Decorations and Plants
Just like most humans, chameleons love to have an exciting environment. You can make your chameleon more comfortable by adding plants (both artificial and live plants), twigs, and vines. This will give your chameleon a nice view and places to hide and climb.
Should You Get a Pet Chameleon for Sale Online?
Chameleons are beautiful creatures and can be wonderful pets if cared for properly. With the correct elements and size of the enclosure, your chameleon will remain healthy and happy for a long time. Check out the different types of chameleon for sale online in our online store to see which one is the best fit for you.