Clear Side Enclosures

Note: Working with the clear side material is a more involved process and so we are building to a schedule.  If you desire the benefits of a Clearside cage please email us at and we will give you time of our next build. You are welcome to place an order and reserve your space in the build or else you are able to check back on the progress closer to the build date. We anticipate having a group available every two months.

The Dragon Strand Clear Side Enclosure line introduces a premium enclosure option for chameleon and arboreal reptile keepers.

The Clear Side Enclosure line is the flagship line of enclosures at Dragon Strand suitable for displays meant to show off your reptile and the interior design.  The clear material is a transparent, flexible PVC which gives the same view ability of glass and acrylic without the associated weight. This allows us to create enclosure sizes appropriate for chameleons and other arboreal reptiles


1) A Clear View of Your Reptile.  The most obvious benefit is that your beautiful reptile and the hours you put into your interior design are clearly viewable.  You can see inside without having to look through a screen panel.  The image below shows the difference.

Clear Side vs Screen

The front of this cage is clear while the side is screen. This picture shows the difference in visibility


Chameleon portrait through Dragon Strand Clear Side enclosure panel

A portrait photographed through the door panel of the Clear Side Enclosure


2) Mist Stays in the Enclosure! You are finally able to have a center show piece in the living room without having to make elaborate accommodations to deal with the mist from your misting system spraying through the screen and onto your walls and furniture.  Please use RO water as this material, like any other, will spot up with mineral deposits from hard water.

3) Humidity Gradient.  The perennial problem with screen cages is the inability to create a humidity gradient within the living area of your reptile. With the Clear Side Enclosures the left side and top panels are screen panels.  By pointing the misting nozzles towards the solid clear sided rear right corner and heavily planting that side of the enclosure you can create a humidity pocket which will dissipate the closer your pet moves to the left screen side.  There is more than enough ventilation to avoid the stagnant air and trapped heat conditions that can lead to health issues.

4) Controlled Release Feeder Run. Our design requirements necessitated a full side panel to be screen for ventilation purposes.  We elected to put that screen side where the door opens to allow a convenient place to slip your hand inside and release feeder insects on the screen so your chameleon can hunt their prey.

5) Included Dragon Ledges with Larger Enclosures.  The Clear Side enclosures come standard with a set of Dragon Ledge branch anchors which allow you to mount branches and potted hanging plants to the walls of the enclosure without putting stress on the wall material.  (Check contents list for the number of Dragon Ledges included in each cage type.) It is these Dragon Ledges that allow (and make easy) the elaborate hanging garden feel of the Dragon Strand display cages.

Naturalistic Chameleon Cages

The Hanging Garden feel to the Dragon Strand display cages is made possible by the Dragon Ledges which are included standard with each Clear Side Enclosure.


Dragon Ledge

An example of a single Dragon Ledge. These ledges are installed on the enclosure wall panels and take the branch and hanging pot weight from inside the enclosure and transfers it to the metal frame. Your enclosure will come with four or five of them depending on enclosure size.


The Technology. The clear side line uses a thick, clear PVC sheet. This PVC technology produces a flexible, but durable sheet that is as clear as glass or acrylic, almost as light as screen and more scratch resistant than acrylic. It is pulled taut, but still retains some flexibility which is advantageous when keeping animals such as Uroplatus and Rhacodactylus which aggressively launch themselves at feeders. The clear PVC absorbs the shock  and decreases the chance of snout damage.

Care of the Clear PVC. The clear PVC material may be cared for much like acrylic. Use RO or distilled water as mineral spots will block your clear view inside the cage. When cleaning the clear panel use RO or distilled water and a soft cloth towel. Do not use wood based products such as paper towels which could suffer the surface.

Reflection. As with glass or acrylic, this clear PVC will reflect at certain angles. There has long been conjecture and concern with reptiles seeing their reflection in the glass and posturing or being stressed. While this makes logical sense, this doesn’t happen that often. Even though mirrors can get a chameleon to display, chameleons tend to figure out clear sides. Many breeders and keepers raise and breed chameleons behind glass and there is no ill effect from reflections. But there are chameleons that don’t get it and they can be disturbed by the reflection. If you find this happening in your case, see if there is a particular side that is a problem and one option is to hang a plant, fake vine, or bamboo screen across that area. Breaking up the line of sight usually solves the problem.

Upper Respiratory Infections. One common misconception is that solid side enclosures produce URIs. Stagnant air and trapped heat from improper husbandry conditions produce the stress that weakens the immunity system which allows bacteria to take hold. These improper conditions can be created in glass and other solid side cages easier than in screen cages, but a proper set-up allows chameleons to thrive in solid side enclosures. Dragon Strand enclosures have varying degrees of ventilation from full screen to only screen top allowing you to select the proper configuration for your environment. If you are in areas that are dry or have extreme hot/cold temperatures then you will need some combination of solid sides to create the proper humidity and temperature gradients. Dryness or improper temperatures in screen cages will produce infections from compromised immune systems just as well as stagnant air and trapped heat in solid side enclosures.

I address some of the concerns in more detail in this Q&A on using solid clear sides:

Q&A: Concerns about solid, clear sides

Custom Configurations. Custom configurations and combinations of screen, solid PVC and clear PVC are available depending on your needs. Clear PVC allows you to view your animal while keeping mist in the cage and better holding in humidity pockets. Solid PVC gives holds mist in the cage, creates humidity pockets, but offers visual isolation from neighbors. Screen gives ventilation. Contact Dragon Strand at to discuss your needs.

Currently, the following enclosures currently employ the clear PVC technology

Atrium Series line up

Large Clearside Atrium Enclosure

The Large Clearside Atrium Enclosure takes the best production cage available for chameleons and gives you the visibility and mist retention of glass without the weight.  At 45.25″ wide x 44.25″ high x 22.25″ deep, it combines both width and height to give your chameleon three dimensions to move about and choose from multiple perching and hiding spots. This is the ultimate display cage for your large male Veiled and Panther Chameleons. This cage can effectively hold chameleons up to about 500 grams.

Medium Tall Clearside Atrium System

Medium Tall Clear Side Atrium System. 30” wide, 23” Deep and 48” High. The Medium Tall Clear Side Atrium has clear panels on the front, right side and back. The left side and top are screen to give you a bend of humidity retention and ventilation. The left screen side also gives you a convenient side to release feeder insects so they may run up it and stimulate the hunting response in your pet. The Medium Tall Clear Side Atrium System includes five Dragon Ledges, a Drip-easy Drainage Tray, and two Hydration Mounts.

Medium Clearside Atrium

Medium Clear Side Atrium  Enclosure. 28.5” Wide, 18” Deep and 29.5” High. The Medium Clear Side Atrium has clear panels on the front, right side and back. The Medium Atrium is notable as there is an available connector frame which allows you to stack an Medium Atrium on top of each other creating a 5 foot tall cage perfect for creating a naturalistic environment with multiple micro-climates. The left side and top are screen to give you a blend of humidity retention and ventilation. The left screen side also gives you a convenient side to release feeder insects so they may run up it and stimulate the hunting response in your pet. This double enclosure is suitable for full grown adult Veiled and Panther Chameleons as well as other larger reptiles such as Uroplatus fimbriatus.

A common strategy is to start off with one Atrium for your young juvenile and you can double your cage space a year later when it grows up using an Atrium Connector Frame.

The Medium Clear Side Atrium Enclosure is built to order. It comes complete with five Dragon Ledges and a Drip Easy Drainage System with screen floor and drainage tray.  An Atrium Connector Frame is $30.00.  If interested in a double system please send an inquiry through the Contact Us page.

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