Which Chameleon Cage Should I Get?

Which Cage Should I Get?

You have probably heard that chameleons need screen cages. While screen cages have been used with success for many years they actually aren’t the ideal chameleon cages in many cases. This is why you see more than screen cages offered here at Dragon Strand! So how do you make a decision? I will summarize it here and help you pick the right cage for your situation!

You will need to decide what material and what size of cage to buy. This will depend on the species of chameleon and your home environment. First, we decide on the material and then we will look at size of cage.

The Quick Answer!

Are all of these choices boggling your mind? Here is the quick answer that most people are happy with. Most people are keeping a Panther or Veiled Chameleon in a house with temperatures comfortable for human beings. If this matches you then these quick recommendations should work. If you have unique circumstances or just want to know all the options then you can skip this and go to Step 1. But for a quick answer read on!

Just starting out? Get the Large Keeper Kit. You get a 48″ high screen cage with Dragon Ledges to make it easy! This is the most popular cage, by far.

Want a nice cage? Get the Large Clearside Enclosure. A great looking cage for your home. Clear sides protect your walls and furniture from misting floating out of the cage.

Are you putting together a breeding project? Check out the Breeder Series for the sizes you need. This series was designed specifically for breeders and their needs. In fact, this is what started Dragon Strand. I wanted a professional looking breeding room so I had to design cages for myself!

Want the best cage for your chameleon? No question about it – the Large Clearside Atrium is the best chameleon cage commercially available. The size, humidity control, and ample Dragon Ledges are producing some of the most beautiful cages in our community.

Step 1: Pick your cage type

Keeper Series Screen Cages

The Keeper series is a line of full screen cages. These are the most common to start off with. Screen cages offer the highest ventilation and your cage environment will follow your room environment almost exactly. Heat can be applied via basking bulb and humidity through a fogger.

The Keeper Series is made of rust-proof parts and so can be used outdoors. They are highly effective placed on top of wood planters to give reptiles access to natural sunlight and breezes.

All Keeper Series screen cages come standard with Dragon Ledges that allow you to anchor horizontal branches and live potted plant to the sides of the cage.

All Keeper Series screen cages have optional drainage and substrate trays available.

Who Should Get a Keeper Series Screen Cage? Full screen cages are a good place to start for homes that have temperature ranges that are comfortable to human beings.

Dragon Strand Chameleon cages

Breeder Series Hybrid Cages

The Breeder Series has white PVC walls and back. The front and top are screen. This configuration has the following use benefits:

  1. Solids sides and back protect house walls, furniture, and floor from misting overspray that will go through a screen cage.
  2. Opaque sides provide visual isolation for cages placed next to each other such as in a breeding situation.
  3. PVC sides and back provide a stable and strong backing for attaching cork bark or other vivarium decorations

Each member of the Breeder Series comes standard with Dragon Ledges. The following members of the Breeder series are designed to fit perfectly on standard wire baker’s racks:

  1. Nursery Cage System: A set of four small cages for raising babies individually to the sales size (Approximately three months)
  2. Compact Cage System. A set of two cages for growing up chameleons to a subadult age
  3. Medium Wide Breeder. 30″ high cage that fits two across the standard 4′ Baker’s rack.
  4. Large Breeder Cage: 45″ high cage designed to fit two across the standard 4′ Baker’s rack.

Both the X-Large Breeder (23.75″ W x 23″ D x 48″H) and the Medium Tall Breeder (17.75″ W x 17″ D x 36″ H) and other cages done in the Breeder format can be placed on the Baker’s rack, but will not fit perfectly.

Who Should Get a Breeder Cage? Look into the Breeder series if you have multiple chameleons in the same room and need visual isolation. 

Dragon Strand Medium Wide Breeder Clearfront

Clearside Series Hybrid Cages

The Clearside series has three sides in a clear PVC and one side and top in screen. The clear panels keep the mist in the cage and allow you to create humidity pockets. The clear panels make photography much easier as you do not have screen to shoot through.

The clear material is a flexible, very durable clear PVC material which allows us to create clear sided cages in large sizes so that we arboreal reptile keepers can enjoy the benefits of clear solid sizes, but lightweight enough that they are easy to move.

All Clearside Cages come standard with Dragon Ledges.

Who Should Get a Clearside Enclosure? Keepers that have their cage in a public area of the house or want a showpiece cage for their chameleon. This cage will look good in your home and will keep the misting in your cage from getting in your home. Also provides more humidity retention.

Large Atrium Chameleon Cage

Vivarium Series Hybrid Cages

The Vivarium series is simply a special combination of clear, white, and screen panels to produce cages that have superior humidity control. They are totally enclosed in solid panels except for the service door on the front bottom and the top panel. This configuration is used when superior humidity control is required. I use these cages when I am raising up babies chameleons or when keeping higher humidity species. This is a specialty series for experienced keepers and breeders only because I am still building up the educational resources and most of the advice in the community is for screen cages. I offer this series to breeders that are fully aware of how to properly use this type of caging. If you are interested in the caging or in learning the benefits of solid side caging please email me at bill@dragonstrand.com. I would be very happy to include you in the next build. Europe has been doing this for decades. We are just now discovering how it can be a powerful husbandry tool here in the US!

These cages are specifically designed to use the same chimney effect that the glass terrariums use. The difference is that the Dragon Strand Vivarium Series cages are in the large sizes that chameleons can be housed in!

All Vivarium Series cages come standard with Dragon Ledges.

I can create a “Vivarium” series from any of my Clearside or Breeder Series cages. The three main configurations are:

  1. Medium Wide Breeder with a clear door and screen service door. I have been using these for baby Meller’s Chameleons who benefit from high humidity.
  2. X-L Breeder with clear main door and upper face panel. This size allows humidity control for adults.
  3. Large “Vivarium” Atrium. With this cage it is the middle panel under the doors that is screen. The back and sides can either be clear or white depending on the application.


Who Should Get a Vivarium Enclosure? Anyone who recognizes the benefits of producing a 24 hour humidity cycle. If you have rare species babies (Trioceros melleri) or high humidity species (anything from the Cameroon volcanic line) these are the cages for you. Even the more common species such as Furcifer pardalis and T. jacksonii will benefit greatly by increased humidity control. But until I can create the educational material behind it I am making this for people who already know how to use them! If you are interested then talk with me. I have small builds on a regular basis.

chimney effect

A Medium Wide Vivarium Series houses a baby Meller’s Chameleon and demonstrates the chimney effect. The top of the cage is warmed and that warm air rises. This action pulls the cool air from the bottom of the cage up creating a flow of air.

X-Large Clearfront Breeder Cage

An X-Large Breeder cage with panels in place to create the chimney effect.

Next: Pick Your Size!

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Breeder Series Rack cages

Originally the Breeder Series was designed to fit on the standard 4 foot wire baker’s racks that are readily available at Home Improvement Stores, Costco, Walmart, and, of course, Amazon. The lead brand is Alera, but there are many copies. There soon came a demand for the Breeder style, but bigger than the baker’s racks so we do have a couple of offerings that do not fit on the racks.

The rack compatible cages were meant to be modular of sorts so you can mix and match and your breeding room can be well organized.

The non-rack compatible cages can, of course, be set anywhere as individual cages.

Rack compatible cages:

Nursery Cage System. Dragon Strand was started with the Nursery Cage System. I was breeding chameleons and was frustrated at the problems and compromises of group raising of chameleon babies. Group raising produces slower growing, more stressed, and, potentially,  physically damaged babies. There are many arguments about this but it is simple for anyone to try on their own. Raise a clutch as a group and raise a clutch separate. You’ll see for yourself. Healthier, bigger babies was exactly what I was looking for and having each one be “A” Grade was the goal. The cages were expensive, but they paid for themselves in the ability to sell all A Grade chameleons.

The Nursery Cage System comes in a group of four and a drainage tray that holds them all. They fit two across a baker’s rack and a total of 6 systems, or 24 cages, can be held by one baker’s rack. And because of the small service door at the bottom of the cage, all 24 floors may be switched out in 10 minutes. Because time is just as important when you are maintaining a large group as quality is!

Panther chameleons can stay in the nursery cage up until they are about three months old – which is when they are usually ready to be sold.

Large Breeder Cage. This is a good cage size for adult breeder male and female panther chameleons. It is at the minimum size for male panthers, though. One raised up that grows into this cage should be fine. An adult newly introduced will have to be watched especially if wild caught and not acclimated to a cage. Though the solid sides tend to calm chameleons down as they do not feel vulnerable from all sides as they do in a screen cage of any size. This cage fits two across the 4′ wide, 18″ deep baker’s rack. One rack can hold two Large Breeders with space below for storage or, if you forgo the top shelf, a row of Nursery Cage Systems.

Medium Wide Breeder Cage. This size is suitable for chameleons about the size of female panther chameleons. These cages make effective grow-out cages. They fit two across and one baker’s rack can hold four Medium Wide Breeder Cages.

Compact Cage System. Designed

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