Your veiled chameleon needs certain items in it’s cage for it to thrive. Vines, branches, and plants are the typical things people need to have in each cage. The three items above are the bare necessities. As time and money allows, you will be able to add more to your chameleons habitat. It is expensive to buy everything a chameleon needs all at once.
Before I go any further in this area, I want to stress that it is important to follow these guidelines below. This will help you to choose items for your veiled chameleons cage wisely.
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE ACCESSORIZING YOUR CAGES:
- Each item should be toxic free, thoroughly cleaned and sterilized prior to using in your chameleons cage.
- You will need to thoroughly clean the branches, vines and so forth at least once a week.
- If using live plants, make sure they will not be toxic to your chameleon. Some species will actually eat the flowers or leaves of the plants. See the SAFE PLANTS LIST.
- Buy quality products. The cage items will go through much wear and tear with constant cleaning, and subjected to moisture and humidity.
- Don’t buy items such as the vibrating bowl and bubbling water bowls. These items are not needed and unless the chameleon is in poor conditions, will not use these things.
Types of Accessories
Branches & Wood Items
These are a necessity to any veiled chameleon cage. Branches provide the chameleon a place to bask, eat, sleep, and allows it to easily get around the cage. You can purchase driftwood, sandblasted grape wood, or collect your own branches to use.
If you are going to use wood you have taken from outside, you will need to clean and sterilize it before using. The wood may have parasites, termites and other unwanted or health hazard things that can be passed to your chameleon. There are two methods for doing this:
Thoroughly clean the wood with warm soapy water. Rinse well and allow to dry. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Mix 5 percent bleach to 95 percent water. Wash the wood thoroughly in this solution. Rinse wood well with water to remove any bleach. Allow to dry in the sun thoroughly. Repeat this three times to make sure all bacteria, insects, and eggs are killed off.
Selecting a type of branch
You will want to use wood with several branches. Make sure they are not too thin and will support your chameleon. If you have wood with sharp edges, thorns, or lose pieces, you will want to sand these down to make sure your veiled chameleon will not injure itself. Be careful in picking out wood with tight V shapes where the chameleon may get a leg caught and cause injury. Some chameleon owners have had to have legs amputated for injuries caused by the chameleon getting caught in tight places such as this.
Sand Blasted Grapevine
I really like using this type of wood. It is usually very smooth, offered in a variety of sizes and shapes. Easy to clean since the bark has been removed. Thick enough to allow the chameleons to walk and climb with a safe grip. it is also sturdy and will last a long time even with all the cleaning it will go through.
Driftwood is normally pretty smooth and often is screwed onto a slate base. Another good basic wood option to use in building your veiled chameleon habitat. It is not as expensive as the sandblasted grape wood, but then it also does not always have the many branches and size that grape wood does. Because of it’s smoothed surface, it is very easy to clean and is very durable. Also available in pet shops, especially ones that carry marine and aquatic items.
Another great natural wood that has plenty of branches and isn’t too hard to clean. Manzanita is used in many animal habitats such as birds as well as reptiles. It is sturdy and holds up well with constant washing and exposure to high humidity.
Yes, there will always be manmade products available! Beware, some of the products have been known to hold the moisture and cause bacteria build up. Also, some of the manufactured products do not hold up to the wear and tear of cleaning and use and will flake or fall apart in time.
You will need plenty of vines twisting and this way and that through out the cage to allow your chameleon to roam freely. It also helps the chameleon to chose where it wants to bask and control it’s body temperatures. They usually will use the vines to drink drip from, hunt from and gives them places to explore and exercise.
Bio Vine is a good product to use as a source for your chameleon to exercise, explore, hunt and bask. It is easy to clean, bendable, non-toxic, and durable. One of the favorite artificial vines for many herpers.
Flexi-Vines & Flexi-Branches
This is a good product to use. Sturdy, easy to clean and durable. It bends to shape around branches and the cage creating a nice herp highway. It holds up well with constant cleaning and won’t flake or fall apart.
Foliage, Live & Silk Plants
You have the option of using live plants, silk plants & vines, or both. I use a combination of both in most of my cages. It is important to give your veiled chameleon a habitat it will feel safe and secure in. Some species prefer more foliage than others such as the lateralis, who is on the shy side and tend to stress if there are not enough places for them to blend into. When shopping for silk plants and vines, look for good quality made plants. Remember they will be exposed to humidity and constant cleaning. Silk plants are not inexpensive and you do not want to waste your money, or risk your chameleons health buying silk plants that will fray at the edges, or have leaves that easily fall off their vines.
Silk plants come in a wide variety and many can be found with stone, poly resin and other bases for stability.
There are many silk plants that can be found in a variety of shops. Pet shops carry a variety made for terrariums and reptile habitats. Other sources for plants can be your local craft and hobby shops. Shop around to find the right plants for your habitat.
Good quality silk vines can be used to drape and wrap around branches and vines throughout the habitat giving your chameleon a feeling of security.
This is one way to help your chameleon to feel safe and allow it to blend in it’s environment. This helps to eliminate some stress if it is a shy species. You can use the silk vines to wrap around branches, bio vine, drape from areas of your cage and branches. Get creative with it! Just remember you will need to clean these thoroughly at least once or twice a week, so plan carefully to make cleaning easy.
Silk Trees & Bushes
This is a little more costly than live plants. But the silk trees and bushes have an advantage over live ones. They will not die under the high humid conditions of the chameleon habitat, easy to clean, will not need to be trimmed and pruned, as well as having no sap to possibly harm the veiled chameleons eyes or irritate them.
Schefflera is a favorite of many chameleon keepers. Plenty of branches, and leaves that allow good dripping water surfaces for the chameleon to lap from.
These are also available in your local hobby, home decor shops as well as discount stores. Made in a variety of sizes, you should be able to find something to suit the needs of your veiled chameleon.