Chameleons are one of the most popular lizards to keep as pets. They are generally quite friendly, require a moderate amount of care, and are very interesting to watch. As with all exotic animals, the environment in which they are housed is crucial to their well being, and choosing from one of the many available chameleon cages is the first step in creating a suitable habitat for these unique pets. Types of chameleon cages include mesh, metal screen and wooden, with various shapes and sizes.
Many chameleon owners choose mesh cages due to their ability to keep the air surrounding the lizard circulating. Stale air can occur quickly in typical aquarium-type environments and can be detrimental to the reptile's health by increasing the likelihood of respiratory illness. In addition, the humidity of the habitat needs to be carefully controlled. Since chameleons are cold blooded reptiles and cannot control their own body temperatures, their habitat must provide the warmth that they need. As a result, cages must be able to accommodate heating lamps. It should also be easy to spray water into the cage to increase the level of humidity, thus the popularity of mesh cages.
Chameleon cages are typically quite large, as these lizards need a decent amount of space to be content. Since they enjoy exploring and sleeping in trees, cages should be tall rather than wide to accommodate large branches. The simplest type of tall cage is a basic wooden structure than can be modified as the chameleon grows. The wooden bars can be filled in with a mesh material or metal screening. Chameleons are very solitary and do not get along well with one another, so they should not be housed in the same cage.
Many pet owners choose tube chameleon cages. These are thin, vertical tubes with base and top plates, and can be made out of plastic or hardware cloth. The bottom of the cage should be lined with a softer material to make it a comfortable place for the lizard to walk. Any cages using metal or mesh screening should be inspected to ensure that there are no areas of exposed metal that may injure the chameleon. Glass is not preferred due to the fact that it affects humidity control, and chameleons may see their own reflection and think they are being threatened by another lizard.
A more unique and interesting option for caging is no cage at all. Some people who keep chameleons as pets wish to make the environment as natural as possible and do not wish to confine the lizard to one space. They use natural barriers in the room to prevent the lizard from escaping and encourage it to stay in one general area by providing trees, vegetation and food as motivators. A good exotic pet store can provide further guidance on the best type of cage for each individual chameleon.