Caring for Your New Panther Chameleon

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Panther Chameleon Factoids

Origin

Madagascar and nearby islands

Maximum Size

Males 20 inch max, Females 13 to 14

Temperature

85o days, 75o nights

Water

Needs moving water

Attitude

Loners except when breeding

Eyes

Turrets that look in different directions

Foods

Live insects

Supplements

Occasional calcium and vitamins

Lighting

Full-spectrum fluorescent

Breeding Age

10 to 14 months

Clutch Size

10 to 35 eggs

Incubation Time

8 to 10 months

External Threat

Too much activity

In Cage Threat

Other chameleons


LA Pic Panther chameleons hate being handled.  He tried to escape 97% of the time at first.

LA
 Same panther chameleon more hacked off now.

LA
Panther chameleon feeling mellow.

LA
Panther chameleon just starting to show some of his color potential.

LA
Not happy being handled.

Origins:  Different color varieties of the panther chameleon come from different regions of Madagascar and from different islands.  Females tend toward the black and orange.  All the varieties will breed together.

LA Pic
Panther chameleons need some room to grow.  Sugar glider cages work okay.

 

Size:  Males grow 50% larger than the females.  Females grow a little larger than a foot long.  You need a good-sized tall cage.  Cages like the above provide the ventilation and space that panther chameleons need.  The walls produce additional climbing areas.

LA
After a week or so, panther chameleons learn to eat out of your hand.  Still suspicious.

LA
Little panther chameleons love their crickets.

LA
It may take a small panther chameleon time to swallow adult crickets.

Foods:  Crickets will probably comprise the bulk of your panther chameleon’s diet.  They will eat other bugs as well as an occasional pinkie – great source of bone-growing calcium. 

LA
He's perched on his bowl of crickets and looking the wrong way.

Feeding Tip:  Feed them their crickets in a drum-shaped goldfish bowl.  Panther chameleons can easily snag the crickets with their incredibly long, sticky tongues.  And the crickets can’t get out to gnaw on your chameleons.  Any crickets that die can quite easily be removed.

LA
He's eyeing the crickets now.  Note how he holds on with his tail.

Supplements:  Dust and/or gut load your panther chameleon crickets.  Use the calcium with vitamin D3 powder.  We feed our crickets NutroMax dog food.

Lighting:  Panther chameleons grow fast.  They need full-spectrum lighting to get the vitamin D3 they need to assimilate calcium into their bones.

LA
Panther chameleon's clear to the top, right under the incandescent light.

Heat:  You also need an incandescent bulb to warm your panther chameleon to 85o+ during the day.  Cool ‘em off 10 degrees at night.  Just turn off their light.  We put a timer on ours.

LA
Mist filtering down thru their foliage adds a nice touch.

Water:  Panther chameleons ignore water bowls.  You need to mist them daily or provide a drip system.  They will drink from a water fall.  Even easier, a water bowl with an airstone bubbling in it.  We added a fogger to their cage.  Great display.

LA
Your panther chameleon's not going to get along with you or any other critter at first.

Non-Mixers:  Young panthers get along.  Adult panther chameleons want to fight each other except at breeding time.

LA
Slightly different colors when not threatened.

 

Breeding:  Male panther chameleons display colorful patterns to nearby females.  Interested females flash a pink or tan come and get it big boy to the male.  He then mounts her and copulation takes place.  Separate them if she starts hissing at him or turns black.

Gestation:  Females take about six weeks to develop their eggs.  She will then dig a pit and bury her dozen or so eggs.

Incubation:  Panther chameleons breed fairly easily.  However, their eight to ten-month incubation period will always keep them expensive.

LA Pic
Hanging philodendrons make a tasty tree substitute.

Climbers:  Panther chameleons pretty much live in trees.  You need no hiding boxes for these lizards.  They blend in to their leafy environment.  Live plants work best.  Provide a plant free of toxins and sprays.

LA 
Plenty of climbing room.  Panther chameleons are fast when trying to escape.

Not Great Pets:  Young captive-born panther chameleons adjust to captivity and people better than the wild caught adults.  Still, they prefer not being handled.  Too much handling severely stresses them.  Too much?  Almost any handling stresses them.  Besides, their sharp toenails will poke holes in your arm.  Leave yours alone and he’ll live much longer.

LA Pic
Not a reptarium but an ideal size for 10 inchers.  One on the door.  One at top.

Cage:  Reptariums were invented for panther chameleons, but other cages work almost as well.  Smaller chameleons climb right thru the bars on sugar glider cages.

LA
He will eventually trust you.  Another panther chameleon hiding in right corner.

LA
Later on, he's showing a great deal more of his color potential.

LA
Girls love chameleons of all species.

In Summary:   Their high cost and dislike of handling make panther chameleons a poor pet for children.  Kids (of all ages) cannot resist wanting to hold chameleons.  Don’t hold yours.  Let yours walk on you.  Most will eventually adjust to you.  Nearly all quickly learn to snag crickets out of your fingers.  LA.

Additional information from Michele, July 14, 2005:
Ok, Im going to do this as nicely as I possibly can!
First off, you need to learn how to take proper care of ALL chameleons in
general! Youre going to kill your chameleons by holding them by the back of their heads. Not only does it cut of their tracheal circulation which
delivers oxygen to the blood, but it stresses them to the point of death.
You CANNOT keep two panthers together in the same enclosure, and they should not be feeding on a staple diet of mealworms and crickets. Mealworms are high in fat, and low in ALL other nutrients. Dont feed them spiders, because they carry neuro-toxins that can deliver a deadly bite to your chameleon. Also, panthers should not be feeding on pinkies! You have a Mali Uromastyx pictured under “veiled chameleon care” and as a subtitle  “a skinny veiled chameleon.” and Jackson chameleons do not “originate” from Africa, they only dwell in Hawaii! I would suggest you educate the public properly, and more importantly educate yourself! I have been breeding and keeping chameleons for 15 years, and have never seen a care sheet with such negligence! If I ever see you holding a chameleon behind the head when it obviously doesnt want to be held, I will immediately contact the ASPCA and have you fined! So I suggest you change your information around and screw your head on straight! Not to be rude, just telling you the cold, hard facts. Good day,

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