One of the most common questions we get from our customers is why their chameleon keeps falling off of their plant or cage, and what can they do to prevent it. It can be a bit scary when your pet lands on its back because you don’t know if they have hurt themselves or broken a bone. Here are a few tips that I use in my own collection for making sure this doesn’t happen:
Is your Chameleon Healthy?
First thing’s first: is your chameleon healthy? If he/she has been lethargic, sleeping more than usual, not eating well, etc., then this could be an indicator that something is wrong. Check out your chameleon before worrying about his/her environment.
If your chameleon is healthy and there aren’t any problems, then it may be time to look at the cage set-up.
The Cage Setup
Your chameleon should have a wide, stable branch or piece of driftwood to sit on. If this is not possible (perhaps you live in an apartment), then just please please be sure that your chameleon has a secure perch – if he/she jumps off and that plant shifts or tips over, then they could get hurt.
It’s worth spending a little bit more on a quality plant than risking an injury! The soil and rocks should also be firm and stable; those brown cork rounds make great substrate as long as they stay put! With larger cages, using potting mix instead of sand can provide a more stable surface for your chameleon to walk on.
Potential Hazards within the cage
If these things are in place, then you can look at potential hazards inside of the cage. A good habit is to examine the enclosure from the outside every time you clean it and identify anything that might be a hazard if a chameleon tried crawling on it- a heating cable, a water dish with a deep edge, etc.; some people have even used toys or other decorations that would entice their pets to climb something potentially hazardous. Just remember safety first!
Chameleons are prey animals, which means they get stressed when they feel like they cannot get away from predators – stress can lead to sickness and disease where reptiles are concerned. If everything else is set up correctly, but your pet is still finding ways to hurt itself inside of the cage, then you might want to move your chameleon to a different enclosure.
Some people have luck with simply removing any perches or branches that hang over the edge of the cage; others prefer creating more of an obstacle course for their pets by attaching vines and other decorations on the outside of the glass that leads into hiding spots.
The last resort
If all else fails, then you can set up a separate small environment for your chameleon to be safe while you clean its main home! This works great in just about every situation. We have found that it also helps when we start training our animals from a young age to allow us in their enclosures- this way they don’t associate you reaching in with a scary situation!
In the end, it’s up to you to make sure that your animals are safe. Have fun designing a set-up that your pet will love.