The Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis) is native to Northern and Eastern Madagascar. They can live 5 - 8 Years and grow to 12 - 18 Inches. Their conservation statis is Least Concern (LC).
The Basics for Panther Chameleons
- 18"W x 18"D x 36"H screen cage
- Not Required*
- UVB & Basking Light
- 75 - 100 ° F
- 60 - 80%
- Crickets, super worms, wax worms, silkworms
Panther chameleons are found deep within Madagascar’s rainforests. They are a tropical species that thrives atop trees with dense foliage in humid conditions. Their enclosure, in captivity, should mimic this as much as possible.
Panther Chameleon Care Sheet
Their vibrant colors are no doubt the reason many pet enthusiasts seek to own them. But caring for a panther chameleon is no small task. Careful attention must be applied when building and maintaining their cage as well as the chameleon itself. Males can grow up to 18 inches while females tend to reach lengths of 12 inches (tail included).
Most panther chameleon owner frowned upon handling them for any extended length of time. They’re prone to sickness caused by stress so little to no handling is recommended outside of the daily caring tasks. The average lifespan of a panther chameleon is between 5 – 8 years. While this may be less than other lizard species, it still remains a large commitment that should not be taken lightly.
Panther Chameleon Cage Setup
As per all lizard species, the correct cage size and setup is important. Perhaps even more so with a panther chameleon. Its recommended that you keep them separate, should you decide to raise more than one. Only while breeding should two panther chameleons be kept in the same enclosure. Even placing their cages next to each other is frowned upon as it may lead to unwanted stress and unrest.
The cage setup for a this species is fairly simple. A 18″ (width) x 18″ (depth) x 36″ (height) screen cage is highly recommended for adults. Some people suggest a smaller cage for younger panther chameleons but most disagree to the fact that they grow so quickly this is not necessary. You can provide a bit larger cage but the size mentioned above is the suggested minimum size.
You should provide them with plenty of vertical climbing space. Place leafy decorations and non-toxic vines, plants and branches. Chameleons love to climb and feel safe at the same time. Live plant decorations will surely help with both.
An exo terra screen terrarium or any similar cage will work great for their enclosure.
Lighting & Heating
Panther chameleons require maximum sunlight and a range of temperatures between 75 – 100 ° F. The bottom of their cage being around 75 while the top of their cage should have a basking area around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They can easily regulate their body temperature by moving to different heights within their enclosure.
Two lights are required to maintain the health of your pet chameleon. A UVB 5.0 fluorescent bulb and the other a basking lamp to maintain the highest temperature (100 degrees) at the top of their cage.
Substrate isn’t required and typically not recommended. Some people place newspaper at the bottom of their chameleon’s enclosure but its not needed.
The recommended humidity for a panther chameleon is between 60 – 80%. This can be achieved by misting their cage 2 – 3 times each day. It also serves as an opportunity for your lizard to drink water. Little droplets of water will form around the plants and vines and he or she can drink as needed.
Food & Water
Panther Chameleons eat a wide variety of food such as crickets, super worms, wax worms, silkworms and even flies – make sure your chameleon is provided with a daily dose of crickets and silkworms for a long and healthy lifestyle. Any live food given to the chameleon should be from a clean source and free of any toxins as this could harm your chameleon and possibly kill it.
Gut-loading crickets is recommended. Supplements are also recommended but be careful not to over do a Vitamin D3 as your UVB light helps your panther chameleon to produce this. Only dust your food with D3 1 time a week. I recommend dusting your crickets (or other food) with calcium 2 – 3 times per week. Herptavite is also suggested but only 1 time every other week.
A panther chameleon doesn’t drink from a fresh bowl of water like many other reptiles so their enclosure needs to be misted or you can use a dripper to drip water onto leaves so the chameleon can collect the water droplets when needed.
When keeping a panther chameleon in captivity it’s important to get all of the above correct otherwise you could seriously stress the reptile and it will remain unhappy. Keeping a daily supply of water droplets and feeding your chameleon correctly are most important in keeping your panther chameleon happy.