Are chameleons suitable for keeping at home? They’re fascinating to look at due to their vivid colors.
It’s best suited for expert handlers as they require more care and attention. However, these panther chameleons are not challenging to maintain. Thoroughly research and converse with expert owners before you make the final decision.
Panther chameleons are typically seen on the eastern and northern coast of Madagascar. These species thrive in abundance in the wild in these hot and humid regions.
Commonly seen in the denser parts of the jungle as they can find lots of prey. Panther species can change their color quickly based on where their ancestors lived. In captivity, they are usually bred in specific groups to maintain a unique color pattern.
Due to successful captive breeding, a large number of panthers have found their way to the markets. Based on their shades and size, the price varies. Choose a healthy one from a respectable breeder. Do not go for the wild species or from big chain outlets as they might be infected with parasites.
Panther Chameleon Size
Adult males usually grow up to 12 – 18 inches in length. Females are quite smaller than males. They have a body length that ranges from 10 – 14 inches. How much do these reptiles weigh? A healthy male species weighs about 140 – 180 g, and the females weigh between 60 – 100 gms.
Chameleons usually change their color based on external and internal factors. These include breeding habits, temperature adjustments, basking in the sunlight, and recognizing things nearby. Color changes occur to protect themselves from predators.
Color displays take place to rival the other males. For courting, they brighten the shades and bob their heads up and down. Male species get complete adult shades only after attaining adulthood that is over one year. Available in various colors such as orange, green, turkey, red, and brown.
Panther Chameleon’s Life Span
Based on the care and attention you provide, these reptiles display a varied lifespan. With proper living conditions, these guys will accompany you for 5 – 7 years.
Panther Chameleon Care Guide
Small cages are perfect for the young ones as it’s easy for them to locate the prey. During the initial 6 months, a screen cage of 16” width, 16” length, and 20” height is great. As they grow into adults, they require space to roam around. Enclosures with minimum 18” length, 36” height and 18” width will work best for males. For females, a cage having 16” width, 30” height and 16” length will do good.
These are just the minimum size requirements. “The bigger the size, the better it is!” Ensure proper safety for the cage using a suitable locking mechanism. You can also decorate using non-toxic, live plants. Schefflera, Pothos, and Ficus Benjamina plants are a few options available.
Chameleons love climbing, and plants serve as hiding places where they can feel safe and secure. A screen enclosure is better than glass as mirror images can make them more aggressive. Also, the stagnant air in the cage may result in upper respiratory infections.
2. Temperature and Lighting
Place two types of light in the enclosure. One incandescent bulb having enough watt and one UVB bulb. Adults require a basking spot with a temperature ranging from 75 to 85°. Young ones need a basking area with a temperature between 85 – 90° with the lower temperature at 75°. The basking area keeps varying to suit each season. As these chameleons thermoregulate, you have to keep lights on the screen top.
It’s best to have a bare bottom for these enclosures. Substrates can complicate the cleaning and maintenance of the cabinets. Though it offers a place to hide and rest, remember to keep it simple. Newspapers and tables are great options. Humidity is entirely maintained by watering these plants.
4. Panther Chameleon Food
A balanced diet is required to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The staple food of the panther chameleons is crickets. You can also provide them with various other insects. These include stick bugs, silkworms, hornworms, roaches, wax worms, and super worms.
Remember to give them insects that are gut loaded. Vitamins and minerals are usually given by dusting them on these insects. Provide calcium supplements devoid of phosphorus 3 to 4 times a week. Offer calcium with vitamin D3 and multivitamins once each week.
These species eat daily, and close monitoring is essential during consumption. This is because they usually tend to overeat, if possible. If you think it’s daunting to offer live insects, you can give them in a plastic container. As the chameleon’s tongue is long, it will reach out and grasp the prey easily.
Water is an essential factor in maintaining this reptile. They have a strong affinity towards the water and keeps drinking daily. Humidity has to be well conserved between the range of 60 to 70%. To attain this, you will have to mist these animals 2 to 3 times a day.
I would suggest using a drip system where the water keeps running most of the day. You can do this at least two times a week. This will enable the reptiles to drink to their heart’s content as and when they wish. The drip system will also benefit your plants.
6. Panther Chameleon Breeding
Sexual maturity is usually attained within six months of age. However, you need to wait for one year till the females reach full size. This is because they require lots of calcium for egg calcification. Females lay 1-5 clutches of eggs each year, mostly 3 numbers. The normal egg count ranges from 15 to 45 eggs, the average being in the 20’s.
7. Handling the Panther Chameleon
Though these creatures are mostly docile, they can get grumpy at times. Hence you need to remember that it’s better to leave them alone. These are observation creatures and are not interested in excessive handling. While handling, it’s best to approach them from the bottom. If you approach it from above, they may consider that as an attack and get into defensive mode.
Do you have a grumpy buddy? If so, first coax him onto a branch, then proceed onto your hands. Gradually they mingle with the keeper for food and come to the door seeking feeds. Take time to interact!
Now that you are aware of the care requirements do not hesitate to get one for yourself. Share your experience with us. For any queries, visit our site for more details.