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Chameleon Husbandry: Cage Setup

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The instructions in this guide apply if you have a Veiled, Panther or Jackson’s chameleon. While their care requirements may differ slightly, the general setup for any of these species is the same.

Before you begin setting up the cage environment, please make sure you either have all the equipment you need or are at least familiar with it.

If you are a beginner and you haven’t already, you might want to check out my short course on what having a chameleon entails and their care requirements.

Also, don’t get your chameleon until you have everything in place and all setup ready for you to bring them home

If you’re familiar with all that let’s dive in.

The Ideal Cage Setup

Regardless of what type of cage you choose, hybrid or screen, the finished setup should look as close to this as possible. Your choice of plants, lights and branches will likely differ from what’s shown here but the structure and layout should be the same.

A: UVB Light

B: Automatic Mister

C: Heat Lamp

D: Basking Spot

E: Branches

F: Plants

G: Home Owner

H: Thermoregulation Space

I: Substrate

Putting it all together

Now you know how a completed cage should look like it’s time to get it all setup and ready for your chameleon to move into.

Step 1

Assemble the cage as per the manufacturer’s instructions then place it on a table. It needs to be on a tall enough table so the top part of the cage is above head height.

Step 2

Place the heat lamp on top of the cage in one back corner. Lay the UVB lamp flat in the middle of the roof across the cage. The power strip can go on the roof as well. If this is not possible, have it off to the side and away from where any water might reach it. Switch them on to test

Step 3

Assemble the branches in a criss cross fashion as seen in the diagram. I use bendy branches of different sizes like the ones mentioned in the equipment list. These can be bent easily and cable tied into place through the screen mesh.
If using real branches, wedge them in place between two sides and thumb tack into the wood through the mesh. You might not think it but these will hold your chameleon’s weight

Step 4

Line the floor with substrate of your choice. I use paper towels as they are convenient and easy to clean up.

Step 5

Add your plants to the cage. Make sure you have varying different heights. Arrange the leaves around the branches you installed in step 2. This will give your chameleon plenty of places to hide and feel comfortable. For hanging baskets make a loop with a cable tie through the roof mesh and hang the basket off there.

Step 6

Welcome your chameleon into their new home!

If you can, try and set your chameleon’s cage up in a quieter room that has fewer people coming and going from it.

You don’t have to set the cage up completely out of the way of people, but the quieter the room is the better for them.

And that’s all there is to it. Leave any comments below if you have any questions about the setup process.

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Thinking about getting a chameleon? Or maybe you just want to brush up on the basics? Then click here to check out my free beginner’s course. It gives you a good overview of everything you need to get started.