Panther chameleon care ( Furcifer pardalis )
Scientific name: Furcifer pardalis
Age: 5 to 7 years
Daytime temperature: 26 – 32°c
Humidity: 60 – 70%
Birth: Egg laying
Legislation: Cites B
Enclosure: Minimum 90x45x90, the bigger the better.
UVB Requirement: 5
Night temperature: 18 – 20°c
By Nature, the panther chameleon lives in Madagascar and some surrounding islands close to Madagascar, because the panther chameleon is found in different places on Madagascar and neighboring islands, different colors and types have emerged. These are therefore recognized as different color variations and not different species. The panther chameleon care should be adjusted to this climate.
In the color variations, the regional name of where the animal comes from is used to name the color variation. The panther chameleon lives in trees and large shrubs in humid forest areas, it is a real climber and will therefore rarely be found on the forrest floor. However, the panther chameleon can also be found in Mauritius and Reunion, although they were deliberately released here by previous pet owners. It seems that the panther chameleon can adapt quite simply to new environments. A male can grow to about 50 cm and a female to 40 cm.
The panther chameleon is perhaps the most popular and most commonly kept chameleon. If you have gained some knowledge and have the right supplies, this species is also fairly simple to keep for you as well as for panther chameleon care. The panther chameleon comes in many beautiful color varieties. Panther Chameleons are very territorial and will not tolerate conspecifics in their neighborhood.
Thus, these animals should be kept solitary and only put together when you want to breed them. Many people think that chameleons color for camouflage reasons only, but this is not true. Chameleons color to communicate their moods and to communicate among themselves. You can read their state of health, stress level and emotion from a chameleon’s color. Chameleons also change color to absorb heat, they will turn black if they want to absorb more sunlight.
The minimum dimensions for the terrarium are 90x45x90, the bigger the better. They like to hide a lot and they need a basking area. They prefer to hang around in the branches. For decoration, use as many real plants as possible and make a nice dense bush with many thin branches for the panther chameleon to hang on. Click here to find out more about what cage to offer for your chameleon.
For the Soil suitable for chameleons, a mixture of coco soil (80%) with sand (20%) is very suitable for the panther chameleon care. Proper lights are very important for the panther chameleon to stay healthy. A UVB lamp is very important and should be replaced in time to make sure the lamp still excreets UVB light. With the lamps you create a sun spot during the day where the maximum temperature is 32 degrees celcius and in the cooler corner at most 26 degrees celcius. Here are the 10 best UVB lights for chameleons.
At night this temperature may drop to 20 degrees in their natural environment. Humidity is also very important for the panther chameleon care. During the day, the humidity should be between 60 and 70% and at night 90 to 100%. This is achieved by spraying at least twice a day to make sure the humidity is high enough. You could also use a spray or fogger system to increase the humidity automatically.
Chameleons drink the droplets off the leaves and glass which are created by the spraying or misting. You could also place a dripper plant in your enclosure to provide drinking water for your panther chameleon. The chameleon will than lick the droplets from the dripper. Make sure there is adequate ventilation, therefore a ventilation strip is suitable.
The panther chameleon is insectivorous, this means they only eat insects and won’t eat meat or fruit. Make sure their diet is varied enough for them to get enough of all nutritional values and vitamins. Crickets, Grasshoppers, Mealworms, Dubias, Silkworms, Curly Flies, Wax Moths, Morio Worms, Field Crickets, Desert Locusts, Calcium Worms and Black Soldier Flies are great for panther chameleon care.
Before feeding, it is important that all food be powdered with calcium, vitamin and bee pollen ot optimise their nutritional value. In nature, chameleons get their vitamins mainly from the pollen they ingest by eating bees. Hence, bee pollen is mixed with calcium to provide the chameleon with all they need.
Behavior and handling
The panther chameleon’s behavior toward humans can vary from animal to animal. Never force the chameleon, let it walk onto your hand by itself and don’t grab them when they don’t want to. A panther chameleon can bite, although this rarely happens and isn’t painful. Reptiles are generally viewing animals, so be gentle to them.
The moment a female turns salmon pink she is often ready to mate with a male panther chameleon. She often only has this salmon pink color for a few days or so. At these times you can introduce the female to the male’s enclosure. At that time, keep a close eye on the behavior of the male and female. If the female opens her mouth and blows at the male, remove the female from the terrarium, because she won’t be in the mood for mating.
If mating occurs, copulation will take about 20 minutes only. Remove the female from the male immediately after mating ot avoid any stress or fights. One mating often results in two fertilized clutches for the female. After a few days the female will become more aggressive and voracious with eating. Her color will become dark with intense pink stripes.
Make sure the ground cover is about 30 cm deep for the female to deposit her eggs. After about 4 weeks, the female starts looking for a suitable place to lay her eggs in the soil. This can take several days and she digs in different places to find the best spot. Once the female panther chameleon has laid the eggs, she closes her burrow again.
Carefully dig out the eggs and place them in a container with vermiculite or coco soil to contain moist. One nest can contain 12 to 50 eggs, depends on how big and fed the female is. Place the tray of eggs in an incubator, and set the temperature to 25 degrees for optimal growth. Now it’s 9 to 12 months waiting with a lot of patience.
Just before the eggs begin to hatch they begin to sweat, wrinkle up and shrink. If you have not made any serious mistakes, almost all the eggs will hatch. Raising the young is not very difficult at all. Provide a temperature of about 28 degrees under the light and 25 in the rest of their environment. When the young are about 3 months old, they can be sexed.
Diseases and disorders
A healthy chameleon looks bright out of its bulging eyes, is active and alert. A healthy panther chameleon also sleeps with a nicely curled tail and does not sleep during the day. Is the behavior of your chameleon different from normal, it is advisable to go to a specialized reptile doctor.
The panther chameleon care is not difficult, but think carefully before purchasing a chameleon and do your research. A chameleon is certainly not a beginner reptile to keep. Be well informed, contact specialized breeders and have your terrarium ready before you buy the panther chameleon.
Do not buy your animal at a pet/reptile store but rather from a specialized breeder. He can provide you with all the necessary information. In some pet/ reptile stores they often lack experience, so you go home with wrong information and all the consequences of that. Buy an offspring older than 4 months and don’t buy a wild caught chameleon.