I spent the last couple months crafting a badass vivarium in my garage. Fortunately, my garage has shelves built onto the walls to store stuff. Finding inspiration from a variety of pet stores and websites, I converted one shelf into an open-air chameleon vivarium with automatic lighting, watering, and heating!

Here’s a list of materials used in construction:

  1. Ledge 3D Background ($209) – a flexible plastic material that looks like the real deal. Has ledges up to 6 inches deep.
  2. Manzanita branch (free) – wonderful “mountain driftwood” that offers smooth branches and perches for the chameleon.
  3. TotalPond PVC12005 7-Foot by 10-Foot Pond Liner ($35) – plastic liner used to protect the base of the shelf from water damage, bugs, etc…
  4. Wood cut to length ($10) – used to square off the bottom of the shelf to create a basin for the pond liner.
  5. Sword ferns ($20) – 3 ferns that seem to fair well indoor. Lush, quick growing plant great for backside of vivarium.
  6. Irish moss ($50) – ground cover used in the front of vivarium. Grows well indoors.
  7. Bunchgrass, Festuca rubra ($20) – used clumps in-between ferns.
  8. Beard lichens (free) – harvested from a local bog area, used on the manzanita branch and outside of vivarium.
  9. Zoo Med ReptiSun T5 HO Terrarium Hood, 48″ ($80) – powerful full spectrum lighting system for plants and chameleon.
  10. Zoo Med ReptiCare Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter 150 Watts ($25) – heating lamp for all day use (garage gets very cold as there’s no heat).
  11. Exo-Terra Monsoon High-Pressure Rainfall Misting System ($99) – automated watering system hooked up with extra misting valves for full coverage of vivarium.
  12. Styrofoam ($50) – bought from Home Depot.
  13. Highland Nepenthes Collection Deluxe Potted ($59) – what’s a vivarium without carnivores plants?