Chameleons need lots of water. Not only do they need it to drink and stay hydrated they also need it for humidity. It’s easy enough to provide this water by just grabbing a spray bottle and misting your chameleon’s cage by hand.
This can take quite a lot of time though as it can take a while for your chameleon to even recognize water let alone drink it. There’s also the issue of when you want to go out of a town for a night or even a few days. This is where an automated misting set up really comes in useful.
An automated misting will work for any type of chameleon species and set up you have that requires regular misting.
Why would you want a chameleon mister?
As I said in the introduction, chameleons need lots of water for hydration and humidity. Further to that some of the plants you choose may require misting themselves along with regular watering. This is very easily achieved through regular daily misting with a simple hand pump spray bottle.
Most people start off this way, I did so myself, but most people, myself included, soon realize that misting your chameleon this way is problematic and, inefficient.
It’s problematic because, quite simply, life happens. You may get up late for work or school one day and don’t have time to mist your chameleon so your chameleon goes without water. You may have to stay late in the office and are unable to get back to give your chameleon a second misting.
Further to this, you’re going to spend a night or two away one day or want to take a vacation. It’s hard enough explaining your chameleon’s care needs to a pet sitter, even more difficult when they have no experience of reptiles, least of all a chameleon, and most people don’t!
Misting by hand also gets boring very quickly. You have to stand there and spray your chameleon’s plants with a spray bottle until two things have happened.
- All the plants in the cage are wet enough to give your chameleon a chance to get a good drink before the heat from the bulbs has dried it all out.
- Your chameleon has actually noticed there’s water in the cage and starts the drinking response by opening its mouth.
You see when it comes to water chameleons are not like other animals. They don’t drink water that’s standing still, they only recognize water that’s dripping or forming drops on leaves.
They can also take a long time to notice that water is even around them. Depending on your chameleon it can take ten minutes or so for your chameleon to notice water and then more time still before it starts drinking.
Then there’s the concept of the shy drinking chameleon. Yes, many chameleons are too shy to drink in front of you and won’t drink at all until you’re gone and this means water can dry up before your chameleon gets the chance to drink.
So you not only have to be there at the right time each day you also have to stand there misting, which hurts your arm after a while regardless of what type of spray bottle you use.
You also have to judge that enough water has been provided, that your chameleon has recognized water is in its cage, that it won’t dry out before it drinks it and in many cases, you then have to move away for your chameleon to actually start drinking.
All this is a royal pain in the butt. There is a much easier and more effective way of getting enough water to your chameleon and that is by using an automatic misting system.
Mister vs Fogger for chameleons
Before listing the best chameleon misters I need to clear up some confusion between misters and foggers. I see people talking about foggers when they mean misters and misters when they mean foggers!
This is because the two terms are often used interchangeably but really they are separate machines that perform separate functions.
- Mister – This is a machine that sprays a fine mist of water into a chameleon’s cage to soak the plants and produce droplets of water on the leaves for your chameleon to drink from. Think of the fine spray you see coming off a waterfall and you’ll get the idea. Misters are usually run two or three times a day and are for the purpose of providing drinking water for your chameleon. They can help with humidity levels too.
- Fogger – Also called a humidifier. This is a machine that creates a fog instead of a mist. Foggers usually run once or twice a day and are for the purpose of providing appropriate humidity levels rather than drinking water for your chameleon. They can form droplets on leaves of course that your chameleon may drink but this is not their main purpose.
The confusion stems from the fact that mist is another word for fog and fog is another word for mist! Hopefully, you now know the difference and things are a little less foggy for you… I know, bad joke…
Now you know the difference and you actually came here looking for the best fogger then don’t worry. I have written an article on this which you can read here.
What to look for when buying a Chameleon Misting System
Not all products are created equal and chameleon misters are no exception. There are a few things you need to be aware of that separate a great mister from a good mister, or a good one from a garbage one.
Ultimately what you decide to buy is down to personal choice and budget but bear these features in mind when deciding which mister is right for you and your chameleon.
- Fineness of mist – Chameleons do a lot better with a fine mist, the finer the better. This is because a mist that’s too thick will startle your chameleon when it starts. It will also just drench the leaves in the enclosure rather than being fine enough to form droplets on them and on your chameleon’s casque itself.
- Size of reservoir – Some misters come with no reservoir attached meaning you can have one as large as you like. Others come with one attached and these can sometimes be quite small. The larger the better because you spend less time filling it up. Larger also means that, should you need to, you can leave your chameleon alone for longer without worrying as much.
- Programmable Features – Most misters come with built-in timers that allow for a maximum of 2 minutes. This is usually enough for a single chameleon but you may want a system with more flexibility in the length of time misted, how often, how fine the mist is and so on. This flexibility is especially useful in hotter climates when water can dry out quicker between mistings.
- Number of nozzles – Nearly all misters will come with at least one nozzle and this is usually enough for a single chameleon. If you have more than one chameleon or maybe a different reptile that also needs misting it can be economical to buy one mister with more nozzles to mist a larger area instead of buying a separate mister for each pet.
- Ease of use – Misters have come a long way since their early days and are generally much easier to use. Some do require some initial minor DIY to install while others are just plug in, fill up and go. Also, some are harder to program than others. So if you’re not as technically minded this will need to be factored into your decision.
Best Chameleon Misting System
So here’s my list of the best chameleon misting systems available. I base this list on a mixture of misters I’ve personally used myself and on reviews by people who have used them and given good feedback.
My #1 Overall Pick: Mistking Starter Chameleon Misting System
Without a shadow of a doubt, the Mistking is the number one choice of mister I would recommend to any chameleon owner. It’s called Mistking for a reason because there’s no better system available on the market.
It has an incredibly clear instruction manual that makes it very simple to set up. If there are any questions there is a fantastic support system on Mistking’s website that answers any question you can think of.
The misting system is extremely quiet so it won’t bother you or your chameleon when it’s running. It has a built-in advanced timer that allows for ten different start and stop times either daily or mixed between different days allowing you to mist for seconds, minutes or even hours at a time.
It can also hold up to 10 nozzles should you have a larger tank or more than one chameleon.
All your chameleon will require is two or three mistings a day to enable it to get enough water.
Some DIY will be required to set it up but this is just drilling a hole in a bucket to create a place to mount the pump, with the bucket being used as the reservoir.
The Mistking available on Amazon comes with tubing, an O Ring for easy mounting of the pump and a built in battery to prevent any timer settings being lost. The battery also prevents it from turning off in the event of a power outage.
If you have an all screen cage you will need to purchase the screen wedge separately to allow the nozzle to be attached and mounted to the screen.
- Back up battery
- Extremely quiet to run
- Highly customizable timer
- Very fine mist
- Can have up to 10 nozzles
- No reservoir included
- Some minor DIY needed to setup
My #1 Pick For Beginners: Reptizoo Rainforest Chameleon Misting System
I still rate Mistking as the best choice if for nothing else than the level of customer support you receive but in terms of functionality and ease of use, the Reptizoo is a strong challenger to the king.
This is a newer misting system that’s kind of flown under the radar a bit but in the past year or so it’s really grown in popularity with strong reviews on Amazon.
Sure it has a smaller reservoir than the Monsoon listed below but if you only have one chameleon it’ll be enough to keep it going all week before refilling.
I was also amazed to learn that the reptizoo can hold up to 20 nozzles on one system. That’s more than any other system on this list!
Its nozzles are 360 degrees so they can give a good soaking all over your chameleon’s cage and can pump out over 1 liter a minute!
It also has backwatering technology meaning it cuts off the water flow as soon as the timer stops, meaning less water waste and the prevention of water accumulating at the bottom of the enclosure from excess water dripping out of the nozzles.
Its programming dials are easy to use and the reservoir is easy to clean and refill. This all in one setup makes it the perfect choice for a beginner.
Reptizoo Rainforest Pros
- Large 2.6 gallon reservoir
- Comes with 4 nozzles and can hold up to 20!
- Easy to set up and use
Reptizoo Rainforest Cons
- A bit expensive
- Suction cups are a bit weak for glass enclosures
My #1 alternative pick: Exo Terra Monsoon Chameleon Mister
If, for whatever reason, you’re not feeling the other two recommendations then try Exo Terra Monsoon.
The Monsoon listed on Amazon has a large built in 2 gallon reservoir. More than enough for day to day use to keep your chameleon well hydrated while you’re out of the house..
It can also hold up to 6 nozzles. Less than the Mistking but still plenty for a single chameleon.
Another advantage of the Monsoon is that it requires no DIY to install the system. Just simply fill the reservoir, set the timer and away you go.
It also has a long flexible tube meaning the unit itself can be placed out of the way neatly.
The Monsoon does only allow for a maximum of 2 minutes misting each programmed setting. This should be fine for most chameleons to get a drink but, as I mentioned earlier, chameleons can take a while to notice water before drinking and some take longer than others so this is something you need to be aware of.
Check how long your chameleon takes to notice water by hand misting first. That way you’ll know how frequently and for how long to set the timer should you choose the monsoon.
Exoterra Monsoon Pros
- Comes with a large reservoir built in
- Very easy to set up and operate
- Easy Refill
Exoterra Monsoon Cons
- Programmer not customizable
- Only mists for 2 minutes at a time
To wrap up
I hope these recommendations are useful to you. It’s difficult to put across just how useful having an automatic misting system is when you have a pet chameleon.
Not only do they save time they really help with peace of mind because if you’re a bit of a worrier in general, making sure a chameleon is well watered with correct humidity can really add to that anxiety. An automatic mister relieves you of these concerns.