SCREENED CHAMELEON ENCLOSURE
The first thing you need is an all screen enclosure. Veiled Chameleons require all screened enclosure for one simple reason... Ventilation. Don’t let anyone try and tell you a veiled chameleon can go in a glass aquarium. Stagnant air and constant moisture can cause the chameleon to become very ill. An all screen cage will allow proper ventilation and the cage will dry out alot faster. The most common type of cage readily used is the all aluminium screen enclosure. These types of enclosures can be found on our SCREEN CAGES page.
SUITABLE SIZE CAGE
The size of the cage will depend on the Veiled Chameleons age and sex. At 3 months old a Veiled Chameleon baby can be housed in a 16″x16″x30″ scrren enclosure. As the chameleon grows and matures you will need to upgrade your enclosure size. An adult female veiled can be housed in a 18″x18″x36″ screen cage or larger. An adult male will need an enclosure a minimum of 24″x24″x48″ screen cage or larger. If you are starting from scratch we recommend you take a look at our COMPLETE CHAMELEON SETUPS. These setups are the ultimate bullet proof setup needed to keeping a veiled happy and healthy.
CHAMELEON CAGE FURNITURE
First piece of much needed furniture is a non toxic live plant. Having a live plant will help in many ways, one way is by keeping your humidity level up in its enclosure. The second way is by giving it a more natural feel so your animal feels more at home. In addition to live plants, you will need some different size branches and or vines. A combination of live plants, branches, and vines make for a complete setup.
The most commonly used plants for chameleon cages is the Schefflera, Ficus, and Pothos. All three are safe to use. They can be found at your local hardware/garden/nursery store. The Pothos, Ficus, and Schefflera are quite hardy. The number of plants you use will depend on the size of the cage. You have to consider that the more plants you have, the more you will have to clean.
You will need at least three pieces of vine or branches. One closer to the basking area, one in the middle, and one at the lower end of the cage. The important thing is to provide different temperature levels in the cage to allow the chameleon to thermo regulate. Keep in mind that you should use at least 3 pieces. The more the merrier. Veiled chameleons are cold-blooded, which means they cannot generate their own body heat. In order to regulate their body temperature, they either move closer to, or away from a heat source.
Now your next focus is appropriate heating and lighting for your chameleon. Chameleons need two specific things when it comes to heating and lighting. The first is a basking bulb to provide a heat source. The second is a UVB light source to help your chameleon produce the proper amount of D3.
The basking lamp should be placed on one side of the chameleons cage. Place some vines and branches about 6 – 10 inches under the bulb. For smaller enclosures and a lower watt bulb, place the branches 3-5 inches from the bulb. Your chameleon will suffer burns if he/she gets too close to the basking light. Place the fluorescent bulb along the top of the cage. Remember, the fluorescent bulbs are only effective up to 12 inches. Make sure your chameleon can get close enough to the bulb to absorb the bulb’s UVB.
Chameleons do not drink from standing water. They only drink water by licking the drops off leaves. The commonly used method used in captivity for this are drippers. These method can be simply made by just putting a cup on the top of the enclosure and poking a hole in the bottom. The best method is an automatic misting system.
Another good watering method is by hand misting. Regardless of what type of watering device you decide to use, you should also supplement watering with a spray bottle. These can be purchased at your local hardware store for a few dollars. It is important to mist your cage and plants at least 3 times per day. This will help keep the humidity level up, and give your chameleon a chance to drink. Do not mist the chameleon directly. Spraying water directly on a chameleon will cause him/her stress, and can even get them sick.
Automatic misting systems is a much better way to go. They are by far the best way to hydrate a chameleon. They also solve many problems associated with drippers. They offer the benefit of hands-free watering. The biggest advantage is that a misting system can prevent many health problems assocated with over and under watering. We strongly recommend that you invest in one if your budget permits.
FEEDING & NUTRITION
A varied diet is very important to a chameleons health. It helps balance there nutrition out and prevents hunger strikes. A good choice of feeders include well fed crickets , silkworms,roaches,and occasional treats which include farm raised flies, horn worms,and super worms to just name a few.
Your feeders should be well fed themselves to promote a well balanced diet. Providing them with a diet of various leafy green vegetables, fruits, etc., and a commercially available dry gutload for crickets is recommended. What is gut-loading? Here is a link to explain what this is and how it can be done. Check out our article on gut-loading your veiled chameleon.
In addition to providing your feeders with appropriate food, you’ll need to occasionally dust them with vitamin and mineral supplements as you feed them off to your chameleon. Vitamin supplements should be used less often then calcium mineral supplements.