Fake and Live Plants for Chameleon Cage – Which is Better?

Chameleons need lots of leaves to hide behind and lots of vines or branches to climb on. With plenty of leaves, your chameleons feel so safe which means they come out by themselves whenever you want to see them.

Both real and fake plants can be used in your chameleon cage. Real plants help to increase and maintain humidity, are better at holding water droplets for drinking, and are safer in case your chameleon eats them.

Use only non-toxic plants in your cage since chameleons or their feeder bugs could eat them. Commonly used plants are Schefflera arboricola, Pothos, Hibiscus, and Ficus.

Store-bought plants have fertilizer and insecticides in the soil that are unsafe for your chameleon.

Repot the top ½ of the soil with organic soil and cover any soil with large rocks or screen because your chameleon could ingest soil causing impactions.

Wash all the leaves first to rinse off chemical residues.

If you use fake plants wash them well with soap and water first to remove any chemical residue that could be harmful.

Clean branches from outside trees can be used in your cage. Wash well or bake branches before use. Bendy vines are available at pet stores and work great in cages!

Small wire can be threaded through the screen to secure vines and branches in place.

Dowels can be used for perches, and thumb tacks/push pins can secure them on the ends from outside through the screen. People have also used twisty ties, fishing lines, and garbage bag ties. Get creative!

You want to arrange branches, plants, and vines to utilize all the major spaces of the cage.

ALSO SEE: Are Chameleons hard to Care for?

The top zone is for basking and the middle and lower zones are used for cooling off, hunting, resting, etc.

Wild chameleons do not drink standing water sources; they either take from dews, rainfall or little amount of water on leaves. Hence, you are making them prone to disease and infection which means they are likely to die.

You need to simulate this with a dripper or heavy misting so that water droplets accumulate on the leaves of the plants in their cage.

Unlike ground-dwelling lizards, chameleons do not seek a warm rock to bask on.

They are strictly arboreal (tree-dwelling) reptiles and seek out the sun from above to bask in. Ground heat sources can burn their feet and belly easily and should not be used at all.

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Horizontal cages are not appropriate for chameleons as they are arboreal (tree-dwelling) animals and need vertical space to move throughout the temperature gradient.

Fish tanks do not provide the vertical space or ventilation needed. So do not use them.

Lightbulbs inside cage – Chameleons are very good climbers and always find a way to crawl onto the light bulb or light fixture, even when you think it’s safe. Severe, life-threatening burns occur this way.

Screen Cage

In case you want to construct a screen cage for your chameleons, which will help a lot, kindly consider the following:

One UVB light and one basking light – All light bulbs of any kind should be placed on top of the cage pointing downwards.

– A dripper is placed on the top of the cage so it drips onto the leaves in the cage for drinking.

– Automatic Misting System (optional)

– One thermometer should be placed at the same level as the branch your chameleon basks from to monitor the hottest point.

– The hygrometer is placed anywhere in the cage to measure humidity.

– Feeding cup (optional)

– Egg-laying bin containing appropriate substrate. (females only)

– Another thermometer should be placed in the lower portion of the cage to monitor the change in the temperature gradient.

– No substrate – Substrate (mulch, dirt, sand, etc.) should not be used in standard chameleon cages. The substrate can actually be harmful by allowing bacteria and mold to grow; it can also cause impaction when accidentally ingested. Only females need a laying bin containing substrate.

Chameleons need a cage that is taller than it is wide so they can climb vertically.

The most common mistake people make is getting a cage that is too small. Chameleons of most species need a cage that is at least 18”x18”x36” (45cm x 45 cm x 91cm) tall!

Every chameleon should have one UVB light and one basking light of appropriate wattage. All lights should be on top and outside of the cage shining downwards.

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The top of the cage must be screened because UVB rays will not penetrate glass or plastic.

There should only be ONE chameleon per cage. Think of chameleons like Betta Fish – they are beautiful but they cannot live with others.

Generally, screen cages are used because they have good ventilation, are readily available, and are less expensive than glass cages of the same size. Your geographic location may make a different cage option a better choice, however.

Beware the Exoterra glass cages – these cages are often suggested by pet stores for your new chameleon.

They are good starter cages for babies, but they are often far too small to use for Veiled, Panther and Jackson chameleons over 6 months old.

Safe Plants for Chameleon Cage

One of the questions the majority ask; is important because it provides vegetation, and since they are arboreal by nature, they will need trees to reduce stress (stress kills) and feel secure. For this reason, do you have this article at your fingertips.

Nursery or live plants can be used, in case you are off a distance from a store; try purchasing your plants from an online store.

  • Gold Pothos

This is one of the most used plant to habituate your chameleons. It is easy to care for, requires high rays of light to grow vigorously. Since it can be cloned, you can just have a bunch and cut some just to spread over the house of your chameleons.

Keeping your Gold Pothos in low light makes your plant light green in color. It is best kept in a temperature degree raging from 60-85F (15-29C), it does not need high humidity.  So your chameleons will have a lot of space to hide with a touch of tropical goosebumps. Gold Pothos is good at 16-feet (180cm).

  • Ficus- Ficus Benjamina

This plant, just like Golden Pothos, does not need too much light. It loves a fairly humid environment. It can serve as centerman in your chameleon’s habitation. It has strong branches capable to hold the weight of your Chameleons whenever they wish to climb.

Just with a maximum of 6-feet (180cm)  in height, you’re good to go. You can go on with creativity by making your chameleon’s cage so nice by beautifying with other plants to seem like a jungle canopy. Because Ficus is mostly found in the jungle.

  • Schefflera Arboricola- Dwarf Umbrella tree

It is a tropical tree with very large leaves, which means your chameleons will have places to hide. This plant needs very bright light for growth, hence, make sure it is close to the door or window, perhaps tour UVB bulb. Just make sure there is exposure to sun or light.

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With lights, it stems become strong; in fact, stringer, fit enough for your chameleons to climb. It has a maximum height of 6 feet (180cm).

  • Codiaeum Variegatum- Croton

Just as the chameleon is known to be the animal with a coat of many colors (Green coloration and Red coloration, precisely), so is this plant.

It at various shapes and amazing colors that if used well, your cage will become a tourist attraction center.

It has broad and narrow leaves at the maximum height of 2.3-feet (60-90cm).

A cool plant that needs a fair humid environment for growth. Strong and colourful leaves are a result of bright light, sunlight, or UVB light bulb.

  • Madagascar Dragon Tree- Diacaena

The Madagascar Dragon Tree can be abundantly found in Africa. This is because they tend to live in low light and minimal precipitation, and this region feeds this.

It does not grow so quickly; just place it in a cool place with low or high humidity it germinates.

8-feet (2.4meters) in height, it does not have branches at all, meaning your chameleons cannot climb, but they can find roofs for a hideout from its leaves, its trunk to climb.

  • Hibiscus- Hibiscus Rosa-Sinensis

Rosa-Sinensis can be traced to China; it is a very colorful plant that will so beautify your chameleon’s cage till other animals around, even beyond will become jealous.

First, you can grow it from a container, nurse it till it matures, before you move it to your chameleon’s cage. It is easy and simple to start, even from seeds till it wakes in an adult with colorful leaves and branches. Just 18-feet (5.5meters) in height.

Artificial Plants for Chameleons

  • Mokook Jungle Vines Decor for Lizards
  • Magnaturals Jungle Vine Bridge
  • Peon Plax Reptology Climber Vine Reptile Terrarium Plant Decor

At this juncture, I hang my findings on the shoulders of a small round circle from the ABBREVIATION FAMILY. I hope you find this useful enough to have that stunning look you desire on your chameleons and the cage.

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