Panther occur in a variety of dazzling color morphs or phases, each named after a geographical area in their native Madagascar.
Females show less variation in color (often orange or brownish) and have a less dramatic "helmet" than males (comprised of ridges along the sides of the head), as well as being smaller.
Common Name: Panther chameleon
Scientific Name: Furcifer pardalis
Panther chameleons may grow up to 21 inches in length as adults, while those kept in captivity are often smaller (this includes the tail). Males are often bigger than females.
Life Expectancy: Approximately 5 years in captivity.
Difficulty of Care: Easy
Behavior and Temperament
Panther chameleons are territorial and should be kept in separate enclosures. Because handling chameleons is unpleasant, they are pets that are best suited to being observed than than touched frequently.
Panther chameleons, like most other chameleon species, are territorial; if two males are kept together in captivity, they will and fight one another. This is part of the ritual of males picking female mates in the wild.
These lizards have exceptionally long tongues, with which they can snatch their prey out of mid-air.
Panther chameleons are a popular among lizard owners because of their typically calm nature and the fact that they're very easy to care for compared to other lizards.
Chameleons should never be housed in terrariums made of glass. They require the airflow that a mesh enclosure provides. For chameleon cages, fine metal or fiberglass mesh is not advised; instead, PVC coated hardware cloth works well.
To allow the chameleon to climb, a cage measuring 36 inches by 24 inches by 36 to 48 inches tall is advised (the larger and higher the better, as chameleons prefer to climb high off the ground). When the weather is warm enough, an outside cage can be utilized as long as overheating is avoided.
Plants and branches that are robust and non-toxic should be plentiful. Ficus trees are commonly used in chameleon housing, however they must be handled with care since the sap can be unpleasant. Pothos, hibiscus, and dracaena are some more plants to consider. Fake plants, such as artificial vines, can also be used. A variety of branches of various diameters should be given, ensuring that secure perches are available at various levels and temperatures within the cage.
To avoid bacterial or mold growth, the cage must be kept clean. Cleaning is made easier by lining the cage with paper towels or newspaper. For easy cleaning, potted plants can be put on a basic paper substrate while still permitting live planting in the cage. Wood chips or any other substrate that might be mistakenly swallowed and create blockages should not be used.
A temperature gradient of 75 to 90 degrees should be supplied throughout the day, with a basking region at 95 degrees. The lowest temperature should not dip below 15 degrees at night. To avoid burns, a basking or incandescent light in a reflector or a ceramic heat element are the best options for heating.
Chameleons require ultraviolet (UVA/UVB) light, so get a quality bulb like the Zoomed Reptisun 5.0. Allow 10 to 12 hours every day for the UV lamp to be on. Remember to change these bulbs every six months. When the weather permits, chameleons benefit from spending time outside in natural sunshine (but be careful not to overheat; shade should always be provided).
Panther chameleons require a high degree of humidity, ideally between 60 and 85 percent. This can be performed by sprinkling the plants on a regular basis, or by using a drip or misting system.
Chameleons seldom drink from a water dish, but they will sip water droplets off plants, therefore the misting/drip system may also be used as a water supply. Place a drip system in the enclosure so that water droplets fall over the plants. To measure humidity, get a hygrometer.
Food and Water
Panther chameleons are insectivores, hence a variety of insects should be fed to them. Crickets are the most common food, although locusts, roaches, butter worms (which are high in calcium), silkworms, flies, and grasshoppers, as well as mealworms, super worms, and waxworms, can also be given.
Be wary of wild-caught insects due to possible exposure to pesticides and avoid fireflies.
Before feeding, all insects should be (given fresh vegetables and vitamins/minerals). Plant debris such as collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and sugar snap pea pods are also eaten by some chameleons.
If you notice uneaten insects or your chameleon is acquiring a lot of weight, reduce the amount you feed it or the frequency with which you feed it. Also, never leave live prey in the cage for long periods of time since insects may attack the chameleon.
Make sure your insects have a good gut load, and dust them with a calcium/vitamin D3 supplement (e.g. Rep-Cal) two to three times a week and once a week with a wide vitamin-mineral supplement. Some specialists advise against using a supplement that contains vitamin A. (use beta-carotene instead).
Choosing Your Panther Chameleon
Look for a chameleon with clear eyes and no indications of a respiratory infection, such as trouble breathing or wheezing, tiredness, or a lack of appetite. It might be a symptom of a parasite infection if it has dry skin patches.
As with all exotic pets, the best option is a reputable breeder who specializes in reptiles.
Common Health Problems
Calcium and vitamin A deficiencies are common among chameleons including the panther. This condition is usually the result of a poor diet.
And like other chameleon breeds, panthers are prone to mouth rot, or stomatitis, an infection around the mouth that shows redness and excess saliva or drooling.
The metabolic bone disease is perhaps the most dangerous sickness for captive chameleons. The bones of a chameleon grow weak and brittle due to this ailment, which can be deadly if not treated promptly. This sickness causes a chameleon to become drowsy and lose its appetite.
As with any condition where your pet seems ill or stressed, consult a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.
There are many breeds of chameleon that are good pets for both novice lizard owners and beginners:
You can check out our other here if you want to explore all the varieties of this special lizard.