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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 larger 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. (Verify the enclosure contents.) It is these Dragon Ledges that allow (and make easy) the elaborate hanging garden feel of the Dragon Strand display cages.
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. Although the clear PVC is not as prone to scratch as acrylic, it is still not as resistant as glass.
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:
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 email@example.com to discuss your needs.
Currently, the following enclosures currently employ the clear PVC technology
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.
Large Clear Side Enclosure. 23.75” wide, 23” Deep and 48” High. The Large Clear Side 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 Large Clear Side Enclosure comes with five Dragon Ledges. It is compatible with the Large Drainage Tray, Large Substrate Tray and the 25” Heavy Duty Drainage Tray.
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.
Medium Wide Breeder, Clear Front. 21.5” wide, 16” Deep and 30” Tall. The clear front Medium Wide Breeder has the solid white sides and back with the front being clear. You receive a total of five Dragon Ledges (two per side and one for the back) for creating an interior with firmly anchored elements. This enclosure is perfect for creating naturalistic environments for animals that desire higher humidity. This size is compatible with both a 3” and 4.5” substrate tray which, when combined with a Large Breeder Drainage Tray gives you the ability to have a bio-active substrate that has drainage. By drilling holes in the bottom of the substrate tray and placing the cage onto of the drainage tray you get a system which naturally drains before it saturates. The major advantage of this is that you adjust your misting cycles to the needs of your animal instead of the limitations of your drainage layer as you must with glass terrariums. Especially with the substrate trays, the Clear Front Medium Wide Breeder is suitable to keep Uroplatus Leaf-tailed geckos, humidity-loving chameleons such as T. quadricornis and T. montium, Rhacodactylus and even dart frogs. The Clear Front Medium Wide enclosure is compatible with the Medium Wide Breeder Drainage Tray, Medium Wide Breeder 3” Substrate Tray, and Medium wide Breeder 4.5″ Substrate Tray.
Compact Cage System, Clear Front. The Clear Front Compact Cage System, like the standard screen front system, contains a pair of cages and a drainage tray. The sides are white PVC with the front panels clear. Optional Substrate trays are available to create a humidity source. With the clear face panels your humidity will be held in and will create a humidity gradient from bottom to the screened top. Extra Floor Panels are available for those desiring time-efficient cleaning protocols. You may replace all the dirty floor panels with clean ones on the spot and then the later disinfecting and deep cleaning will make another round of panels waiting to be switched in.
The Clear Front Compact Cage System is built to order.
Individual Cage: 11” Wide x 16” Deep x 24” High
System (Pair of cages + Drainage Tray): 22.5” Wide x 17” Deep x 25” High