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Author Topic: What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?  (Read 7879 times)

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« on: 21/09/2010 02:30:59 »
I'm building a cage for a chameleon that  my friend's son wants to get. I'm planing on making a pinewood frame but I'm not sure what I can stain and varnish the wood with that will look good and be safe for the lizard. Any advice out there? Thanks


 

Offline Don_1

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #1 on: 21/09/2010 14:29:42 »
Hi Eric, I would be reluctant to use any timber treatment on your vivarium.

A low odour water based treatment could be used on the outside surface, but even this would need a good airing so as to allow any fumes to totally dissipate before the vivarium is put to use.

The inner surface, however, could be scratched by the animal and pieces of treated wood ingested, hence my recommendation that you do not treat these surfaces.

What you could use is melamine faced board. Here in the UK it goes under the trade name 'Contiboard' and comes in white and a few wood effect finishes. You might need to seal along the joints with a non toxic aquarium sealant.

An alternative to contiboard would be to line the vivarium with laminated floor boards.

You must bare in mind that the animal will be in a confined space with both heat and UV lamps which could have an effect on brushed on coatings.

BTW, you should keep the glass to a minimum. Being able to see beyond the glass, but unable to get there, is a frequent cause of stress in pet reptiles. Also, your design needs to take into account the need for the animal to seek both hot and cool areas within the vivarium.
 

Offline imatfaal

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #2 on: 21/09/2010 15:41:17 »
I seem to remember my father using caramel to stain and beeswax to polish - this can create a nice colouring/finishing answer without using anything too artificial. 

In a different direction - I have always fancied making one of those elaborate "cricket" cages that you see in asia (the singaporeans on the forum will correct me about the animal caged).  As long as you are using untreated bamboo I would have thought you would be fine; and the strength married with flexibility of bamboo would allow a nice ratio of bar to gap (if you see what I mean) and the finish of untreated bamboo is pleasant.  For an animal such as a reptile I suppose you could envisage a circular base (either untreated and fairly chunky or per Don melamine wipeable) with bamboo running perpendicular from the edge and curving to a point

Let us know how you get on - I can provide details of some of the bird feeders (ie birds can get in and out and the squirrels are kept on the outside) that I have made of similar design

Matthew
 

Offline Bored chemist

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #3 on: 21/09/2010 19:17:54 »
Melamine isn't the same as Melamine* but you might want to look here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melamine#Toxicity
Anyone for boiled linseed oil?

* the stuff the board is faced with is a melamine formaldehyde polymer;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melamine_resin
I doubt it's  very toxic but why take the risk?

« Last Edit: 21/09/2010 19:19:28 by Bored chemist »
 

Offline Geezer

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #4 on: 21/09/2010 20:38:11 »
If you do use boiled linseed oil, please be careful not to leave any rags that are impregnated with the stuff laying around. They can combust spontaneously.
 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #5 on: 22/09/2010 00:33:14 »
Only the frame will be made from wood. The "bars" will be 1/8 or 1/4 inch PVC coated mesh. The lizard is a rain forest animal and here in Oregon it's a much dryer and temperate. It can get quite cold here in winter, but he'll be living in the kids bedroom. He has already told me they need lots of air.

I don't think I can get away with not treating the wood. I like the idea of bee's wax. It will leave a nice finish and it's non-toxic as far as I know. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it won't hurt you. Many many types of wood are VERY toxic. Some are so toxic they are hard to work with. It's amazing how many ways nature tries to kill living things. Usually it succeeds eventually. I'm not a subscriber with "man-made/natural good" mentality. Personally I lover DEET. I know some people who won't touch it simply because it's not natural.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #6 on: 22/09/2010 07:05:08 »
Tell those people you intend to use the food additive called E901.
 

Offline Don_1

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #7 on: 22/09/2010 08:28:37 »
You could use 'Minwax' water based polyurethane. It is used by reptile owners in the US for this purpose.
 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #8 on: 22/09/2010 12:05:06 »
Tell those people you intend to use the food additive called E901.

Love the stuff. When I was a kid I knew a lady who was a bee keeper. She'd give the kids hunks of bee's wax filled with honey. Used to freak out my friends explaining honey was literally bee barf. ("Barf" is slang for vomit. Don't know if you have that term in England. I used to think "snogging" was sexual intercourse until I heard the term used in Harry Potter.)
 

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What wood treatments are safe for chameleons?
« Reply #8 on: 22/09/2010 12:05:06 »

 

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