Monthly Archives - February 2020

accent plants for a chameleon cage

Plants Alive!

Welcome to the Plants Alive! Challenge!

Our co-theme for 2020 is Plants Alive! which encourages the chameleon community to set up living plants in their chameleon cages. This is the first step towards creating environments for our chameleons instead of just cages. But plant keeping is as much of a skill as chameleon keeping! So it is understandable that many people have a difficult time keeping plants alive. So, this Plants Alive! Challenge is to pick a live plant based challenge commensurate to your skill to achieve by the end of the year!

How Do I Join the Plants Alive! Challenge?

Simple! Pick a goal and drop by the Chameleon Academy Facebook group where the group will offer their help so we all achieve our goals. The goal you pick should be challenging, but reasonable for your skill level. You can custom pick your own goal or else pick one of the following. Once you have decided which goal fits you then share it on the Facebook page and let's get started!

Step 1: Pick Your Challenge!

Beginner Challenges

If you are at the beginner level and just plain have trouble keeping a plant alive then your suggested challenge is to keep a Pothos alive. This is the hardiest plant we have available to chameleon cages and we will have plant counselors trained and ready to help you tweak your conditions to keep a Pothos alive in your chameleon cage! If you have struggled with plants then this is the challenge for you!

Chameleon in a plant

Intermediate Challenges

Specialize in a Special Plant!

Select an "exotic" plant that excites you and adopt that as your goal for the year. You will have that species of plant thriving in your chameleon cage by 2021! For this it is useful to have seen a certain plant that you are interested in. If you are not sure which plant to choose there is no problem with getting suggestions from the group! Here are some ideas:

NepenthesTropical Pitcher Plants: Carnivorous plants which hang down insect digesting pitchers

Maiden Hair Fern: A long time favorite. These delicate leaves bring a romantic touch to the cage. This is actually my choice for my 2020 Plants Alive@ goal! But you are welcome to choose this one as your's as well!

Satin Pothos: Not really a pothos, but has the same shape leaves. The leaves are a striking silver color!

Creeping Fig: This vivarium plant has a wonderful habit of covering a wall and provides a carpet of drinking surface.

There are so many to choose from. Pick a favorite or come by and ask for ideas!

Specialty Plants for Chameleon Cage

Get a Plant to Flower!

While getting leaves to grow is a huge milestone, getting your plant to flower is a sign you are doing something right. You can select a plant from the easiest ones below or else select one that is personally special. If you decide to take this challenge, make sure your choice is a reasonable one. Pothos will flower at about 40' long. I have never seen a Pothos flower and may never see one. I suggest you do not select Pothos for your challenge! So do a little research and make sure your plant will flower in indoor light and at a size that will fit in your cage.

Some fun ones to consider are Fittonia "nerve plants", Spider Plants, Maranta "Prayer Plants", or even a goldfish plant!

flowering plants in the chameleon cage

Advanced Challenge

If you are so skilled with plants that you yawn at making them flower and you are collecting obscure varieties of pothos then it is time for an over-the-top goal. I suggest researching the habitat of your chameleon and work on recreating the environment with the plants that come from their home town. This is beyond what I can guide so you are on your own independent study program. But please share progress on our Facebook page!

Step 2: Join the Chameleon Academy Facebook group and share your goal.

The Chameleon Academy Facebook Group

Head on over to the Chameleon Academy Facebook page, introduce yourself, and share what your goal is or ask for ideas!

I will also be posting on The Chameleon Forums. If there is enough interest there, I'll have two Plants Alive! groups going.

Chameleon Academy Facebook Page
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Chameleon Academy Podcast host slide

Chameleon Academy Podcast Name Change

The Chameleon Breeder Podcast has been renamed the Chameleon Academy Podcast. This move has been made to make it clear that the podcast and website are common outreaches.

A name change has been on my mind for a little while as I noticed comments from people recommending the podcast, but adding "and don't worry, it isn't just for breeders"! After I saw this a couple of times I realized that the title was providing a metal speed bump for people who weren't interested in breeding. I advocate for enjoying chameleons as pets and not think you have to breed. And so, when my friend pointed out that I was the Chameleon BREEDER podcast I realized it was time to change to a more accurate title! I realize there will be a level of confusion that goes along with this change, but I feel it is for the best going forward.

The nae change ties it in intimately with this Chameleon Academy website which was, ironically, developed to provide a better platform for the podcast to operate from!

The Chameleon Academy Podcast is currently in pre-production and season five will start March 6, 2020!

Our focus this season will be on learning how to keep plants alive and understanding how to implement UVB in our chameleon cages. I am also excited to bring back the Outer Fringes feature. This feature highlights other reptiles and amphibians that take specialized arboreal keeping sills. These are considered advanced skills, but if you are a chameleon keeper you have them! Look for episodes on the Draco flying dragon and the Uroplatus phantasticus Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko!

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branching in a chameleon cage

New 2′ x 2′ x 4′ Cage Build Guide Released

Dragon Strand Tall Screen Cage Build Guide

Tall Screen Cage

A new comprehensive cage build was just released which used the new Dragon Strand Tall Screen Cage System. This is the model I will use to teach the principles of how to set up a standard 2' x 2' x 4' cage.

The Dragon Strand Tall Screen Cage System is a full featured system which consists of a 2′ x 2′ x 4′ screen cage, six Dragon Ledges, a Hydration Mount for a mist head, a fitted Drainage Tray, and an additional screen floor.

There is a unique feature of this screen cage in that the back panel is actually solid to protect the walls and furniture from mist overspray. So, in this cage build, I use each of these features to their full benefit, but it is written in a way such that the principles can easily be applied to any of the commonly available 2′ x 2′ x 4′ cages.

You can check out the 2' x 2' x 4' cage build here.

https://chameleonacademy.com/case-study-2-x-2-x-4-cage/

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