What Type of Ficus Can I Have for a Veiled Chameleon?

Ficus plants are great houseplants and very popular when it comes to decorating homes, offices, lobbies, or places of business.

The great thing about Ficus cultivars is that not only can you decorate your home, but they can be used in terrariums, and enclosures for certain beloved pets.

If you want to do something special for your pet veiled chameleon, you’ll want to create a nice garden of plants inside its enclosure.

But some plants are toxic, so which ones are right for your veiled chameleon, and is there a Ficus in the group?

What Type of Ficus Can I Have for a Veiled Chameleon

What Should You Do Before Introducing a Plant to a Veiled Chameleon’s Environment

Veiled chameleons will tend to chew on plant foliage, so any plant that you are considering for your pet’s cage cannot be toxic if ingested.

Also, a veiled chameleon’s skin may have sensitivities to certain plants, so it’s important to know if plants or plant sap will be an irritant.

Anything added to your pet’s enclosure needs to be well cleaned before it is introduced into the cage. In the case of plants and vegetation, plants should not have pesticides or toxins that can harm your veiled chameleon.

What About the Ficus?

There are various Ficuses available in the marketplace, each with individual characteristics. They are members of the Moraceae family and have more than 800 species and subspecies to choose among.

A plant native to tropical areas, they don’t tolerate cooler climates or drafts, making them ideal for enclosures for Veiled Chameleons.  

Which Ficus Is a Safe Choice for the Cage of My Veiled Chameleon?

The Ficus Benjamin also called the “weeping fig” is the optimal choice for a veiled chameleon’s cage. It’s also an easy plant to find. It’s an exceptionally popular houseplant. 

Ficus Benjamin

Are There Benefits to Using a Ficus Benjamin in My Veiled Chameleon’s Cage?

One great thing about the Ficus Benjamin is that it is able to keep its shape. These are strong trees, so they are ideal for veiled chameleons that like to climb and spend a lot of time sitting in trees.

Weeping Fig foliage is not toxic to veiled chameleons and they resemble plants found in a Veiled Chameleon’s natural habitat.

How Do I Take Care of a Ficus Benjamin Inside the Chameleon’s Enclosure?

A weeping fig doesn’t require much in the way of care. They need bright, filtered light, but no direct exposure to sunlight.

If your Ficus starts dropping leaves, it may be receiving too much sun and you should move it to a more shaded spot within the chameleon’s enclosure.

A Ficus will not enjoy being moved around much, so choose a good position and leave it there. Your Ficus will also not enjoy lower temperatures, but this plant has this in common with your veiled chameleon.

The temperature should not dip below 60° Fahrenheit and ideally should be over 70° F. This tree requires humidity, which is another thing that it shares with your veiled chameleon.

Is an Artificial Ficus Ok for My Veiled Chameleon?

An artificial Ficus is not harmful when placed in your pet’s enclosure, but there are more benefits when using live plants.

Artificial plants at first glance may seem beneficial because they don’t require any care and they will not have toxic chemicals applied in the form of pesticides.

They will also be sufficiently sturdy for a chameleon to climb on. Live plants, on the other hand, will assist in maintaining the humidity level inside the enclosure, and in cleansing air.

Theoretically, your veiled chameleon cannot eat plastic plants, and they wouldn’t be nutritious in any case. A Live plant will contain some nutrients that can be added and be beneficial to their diet which is insect-based.

However, should the texture or color of a fake ficus entice your chameleon into doing a little nibbling, this could be dangerous and result in problems of the digestive tract.

Artificial plants are nice when used as ornamental plants, but they can never replace or substitute for the beneficial properties of a live plant.

Why Does My Veiled Chameleon Need a Ficus?

Veiled chameleons do not drink water as other kinds of lizards do. They get the water they need by licking water droplets off the leaves of trees and vegetation in their natural habitat. So, a veiled chameleon requires vegetation to be able to get a drink.

They also need plants and trees because they are climbers and spend a good amount of time in trees. And veiled chameleons are also shy reptiles. They need the hiding places that vegetation can provide within their enclosure.

What Are Some Other Safe Plants for Veiled Chameleons?

There are numerous choices for the enclosure of your Veiled Chameleon. Look for leafy and woody plants so that your chameleon can climb and hide.

Large foliage and trailing vines help with humidity levels and mimic the natural habitat of your pet. Other plants to consider include:

      • Bromeliads
      • Dracaena Compacta
      • Dwarf umbrella tree botanically the Schefflera arboricola
      • Golden Pothos
      • Hibiscus
      • Rubber Trees or Ficus elastica
      • Split Leaf Philodendron
      • Yucca

It is safe for your veiled chameleon to eat and drink from this selection of plants. They also will provide many hiding places as well as climbing opportunities for your pet.

What Plants Are Unsafe for My Veiled Chameleon’s Enclosure?

There are a good number of plants that can threaten your veiled chameleon’s well-being, primarily if ingested. Some of the most common plants that you should avoid when designing your chameleon’s enclosure include:

1.) Crotons

Crotons Plant

Although crotons are beautiful with big colorful foliage, there are very toxic if ingested by your pet. It should never be included in a veiled chameleon’s enclosure.

2.) Fig plants

Fig plants

Figs to avoid include creeping figs, fiddle-leaf figs, and the Zulu fig. They are toxic and can lead to poisoning.

3.) Philodendrons


Most philodendrons are highly toxic. Philodendron sap contains calcium oxalate crystals that will irritate the skin and the mouth of your pet. It can even be lethal if ingested in sufficient amounts.

What Plants Can Veiled Chameleons Eat Safely?

Your veiled chameleon can eat safely the leaves of Pothos plants, kale, Ficus leaves, romaine lettuce, and nice leafy greens.

While chameleons can munch on these plants, they are insectivorous reptiles, but green vegetation provides a nice supplement.

A Final Thought

If you want to provide some lush greenery for your chameleon to climb on and drink from, a Ficus Benjamin or weeping fig should certainly have a place in your pet’s enclosure. And your veiled chameleon will delight in hiding in one as well.

Susan R Elliston

I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

Related Posts: