As mentioned earlier in this book, you need to house your pet chameleon in an enclosure or a terrarium because aside from its size, its ability to change colors or shades, and the fact that they are quite sensitive creatures, they are mostly an observation kind of pet.
- Cage Size
The rule of thumb when it comes to building or purchasing an enclosure for your chameleon is that the size or space should at least be 5 gallons for each pygmy leaf. Of course you need to adjust accordingly if you plan on keeping lots of chameleons in an enclosure.
It is more preferred that the
cage is wide or has a horizontal space instead of a vertical one because some
chameleons can’t climb that high. Although some experts think otherwise;
nevertheless the ideal cage size that will balance this issue out should be 18”x18”x36”
(45cm x 45 cm x 91cm). Just don’t make the mistake of creating or buying a cage that is too small.
For pygmy leaf chameleons, experts recommend that you purchase a glass cage like an aquarium simply because it can easily be planted with branches, and you can also landscaped its bottom part to make it look like a forest floor.
Pygmy leaf chameleons or chameleons in general can co – exist with each other and they can be housed communally; although male chameleons should not be housed together unless the cage is huge enough (over 40 gallons).
Keep in mind though that your chameleon collections should not feel stressed out by the presence of its other occupants. You should also make sure that there are lots of hiding places, lots of branches (for exercise/climbing opportunities) and lots of plants inside.
- Plants and Branches
We all know that chameleons love to hide their true colors, or identity. In the wild it is a defense mechanism so that they can’t be eaten by predators, but in captivity especially if they’re around their own kind; it’s more of a unique ability, and a form of stimulation.
In line with this, you should be able to provide lots of branches and plants or leaves as well as hiding places or areas for your pygmy leaf chameleons because that will enable them to practice their natural ability, make them feel comfortable in their new home, and will also make them feel close to their natural habitat even in captivity.
Try adding green or brown leaves (fresh or fake) because it will make your chameleon feel safe, and if they feel secure you can most likely see them out of their hiding places, and be able to observe them.
You can use both fake and real live plants; live plants can help increase as well as maintain humidity inside the enclosure. Another advantage of using real plants is that it can also hold water droplets for drinking, and if ever your pygmy leaf chameleon decides to eat it, it will be edible and safe. It’s highly recommended that you use real plants.
Keep in mind to only use non – toxic plants so that the feeder bugs could also eat them. The most commonly used plants in chameleon enclosures are Hibiscus, Schefflera arboricola, Ficus, and Pothos. If you buy a plant from the pet store you may not be sure if it is safe for your chameleon due to insecticides and toxic fertilizers that could affect your pet just make sure to properly wash them with soap and water to remove harmful chemical residues.
Make sure to 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. Keep in mind to also wash all the leaves first before putting them inside to rinse off any chemical residues that could be poisonous for your pygmy leaf.
Aside from plants, chameleons also need to have an adequate exercise; in the wild these creatures always go from one branch to another, they love to climb branches of plants that is around them. This is why you need to purchase branches as well as vines because it will also provide them stimulation. Small wires can be used to hold and secure the vines and branches in place.
Make sure to clean the small branches if you’re going to grab one from outside plants. Also wash the bake branches before using it. You can buy bendy vines at various pet stores – they also make a great cage décor.
For the perches you can use dowels, fishing line, garbage bag ties, colorful push pins or thumb tacks to secure it. The more creative you are the better!
You may also want to arrange, and re – arrange the branch, vines and plant settings from time to time. The top zone of the cage should be used for basking, while the lower zone should be for relaxing, and hunting or cooling off for you to make the most out of the cage’s space, and for your pet to feel safe, comfortable and happy with its surroundings.
Remember that a great living condition can improve your chameleon’s health and overall lifespan.