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Arboreal Reptile Habitat Setup


Arboreal reptiles such as chameleons originally come from a forest environment. They live primarily off the ground and use trees, branches and vines for basking, shelter and hiding.

Body Heat
Reptiles can't create their own body heat, so their homes must provide a source of heat for basking, with cooler areas available to help them regulate their body temperature (this is called thermoregulation).

Feels Like Home
For your pet's comfort and security, you'll want to make his home as much like his natural habitat as possible.


Lighting & Heating 

Daytime lighting
Use a daytime UVA/UVB light for up to 12 hours a day to help your pet process calcium.

Daytime heating*
Use a basking spot lamp to create a basking area at one side of the home, for up to 12 hours each day.

Nighttime heating
If the temperature outside the habitat is less than 65° F (18° C), use a specially-designed nighttime heat lamp to provide heat without visible light.

* Requirements vary by species. Please see your pet's custom Care Guide for specific details.

Humidity & Temperatures

Maintain the humidity level inside your pet's home at 50% or more. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) will help you keep track. For accurate readings, place the hygrometer about halfway up the habitat.


Provide a shallow dish with fresh water (change it daily) for those species that will drink from a dish. Also, thoroughly mist the surfaces inside the habitat once or twice a day to provide drinking water and maintain humidity levels.


While requirements vary by species, general temperature guidelines for arboreal reptiles are:

  • Day - 70-80° F (21-27° C)
  • Night - 65-70° F (18-21° C)
  • Basking - 85-95° F (29-35° C)
  • Place a thermometer near the top of the home to monitor basking temperature
  • Place an additional thermometer about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom to monitor cooler areas


Be sure the home is well-ventilated to help your pet with thermoregulation. Use a screen top lid on the home to encourage proper air exchange.

* Requirements vary by species. Please see your pet's custom Care Guide for specific details.


Furnishing The Home 

Use an appropriate size screen or combination screen/glass terrarium &ndash the taller the better. When setting up the home, think top to bottom rather than side to side.


Line the home with coconut fiber or bark bedding to help maintain humidity levels.


Artificial or appropriate live plants provide shade, shelter and add a natural look to the home. Consult a reptile book for a list of non-toxic plants to use.


Artificial or natural branches provide climbing and basking areas. These should bring your reptile closer to the basking lamp for warmth. Choose branches appropriate for your reptile's safety and comfort.

* Requirements vary by species. Please see your pets custom Care Guide for specific details.