Misters and foggers are terms used interchangeably to describe equipment used to provide water for chameleons. This makes sense because the two are used for the same purpose. However, they are separate pieces of equipment that provide water in different ways and for different purposes.
Why you need a mister
Chameleons need lots of water for hydration. Also, some of the plants you choose for your chameleon’s cage may require misting themselves along with regular watering.
Due to the unusual way chameleons drink water, misting is the only way you can provide it to them effectively. Using water bowls, hamster bottles or even drippers won’t be able to guarantee your chameleon is getting enough to drink.
Water bowls are no good because chameleons don’t recognize standing water as something to drink. A hamster bottle or dripper can be used as a backup, but misters are really the only option as your primary piece of equipment.
Misting the cage is easy. You simply spray water all over the enclosure, taking care not to get the lights or measuring equipment wet, until all the plants are soaking wet with drops forming on the leaves.
Eventually, your chameleon will recognize the water, start opening and closing their mouth and then proceed to lick the droplets from the leaves.
There are two options to choose from as to what equipment you use to mist the cage.
A manual mister is simply a cheap plastic spray bottle that you hand pump before misting. If you choose this option, I recommend you get the type of spray bottle used to spray plants as they are easier to use and have different spray type settings, from long stream to fine mist.
The downsides of this method is your arm will start to ache. This all depends on how strong you are of course, but having to hold a large and full bottle of water for ten minutes, twice a day, begins to feel like holding a dumbbell.
This is made worse if you choose a spray bottle like the one cleaning products are stored in because you have to constantly pump the spray with your hand, using such a bottle will almost certainly take longer than ten minutes to ensure you’re soaking the cage enough.
Of course, you have to physically be present while misting in this way. That’s ten minutes out of your day, twice a day, misting your chameleon’s cage.
What if you get up late for work or school? You may skip the misting and just do it once that day, or not at all. Do this too much, and you’re on the way to a dehydrated chameleon, which is bad news.
Then there’s the concept of the shy drinker. This is a chameleon who is too shy and nervous to drink while you’re present.
If you have such a chameleon as your pet, it can be very difficult to actually see them drinking and to know if they’re drinking enough, or even at all. Also, the water could all dry up before they have a chance to drink.
Manual misting can also cause problems when you have to go away for a few days, or longer, and you have to get a sitter.
If you have to leave your chameleon alone for a few days, there’s no way they can get any water without a sitter. Giving them instructions on how to mist and how long to mist for on top of all the other instructions can be overwhelming.
There is a much better way to mist.
Automatic misters are pieces of equipment that automatically spray your chameleon’s enclosure at intervals you program it to do.
The upside of having this in your setup is the convenience. Instead of having to stand there and mist, worrying about if your chameleon is getting enough or feeling your arm go numb, an automatic mister allows you to just set the timer once to how you want it to mist and that’s it. All you have to do afterward is fill the tank up each time you notice it getting low.
Automatic misters, like this one I use myself, allow for very precise duration, amount of water and fineness of spray settings.
They give you great peace of mind when you’re out of the house for a few hours or a few days, and you don’t have to worry if your chameleon is a shy drinker because you won’t be present to disturb them drinking.
The downsides are they can be expensive and do require some minor DIY to set up, this is true in the case of the one I use.
There is some technical information to learn how to program it correctly too, but there are cheaper and easier misters available that have good reliability also.