WHEN DO I SEE A VET?
- Annual wellness exam for physical exam, fecal, and bloodwork baseline testing
- Not eating or pooping for over a week
- Open mouth breathing or noise while breathing
- Diarrhea, blood in feces, vomiting, or regurgitation
- Retained shed, redness, swelling, or open wounds of the skin
- Swollen eyes, swelling or bleeding of the mouth
- Closed or sunken eyes
- Any health concerns or questions
Babies: Small cage (12” L x 12” W x 24” H) or larger enclosure
Adults: Large cage (24” L x 24” W x 48” H) or larger enclosure
Enclosures should have a basking light, UVB light, fog and/or misting system, and décor to provide enrichment for your panther chameleon. Panther chameleons are arboreal reptiles that require more vertical space then floorspace space.
Panther chameleons are territorial reptiles and should be housed alone unless housed for breeding purposes. Housing together is a risk for injury and fighting that can be harmful to your panther chameleon’s health.
Sterilized branches, bend-a-branch inserts, reptile vines, or sterilized bamboo branches are all acceptable perches and climbing materials in your panther chameleon’s enclosure. Plastic plants or live nontoxic plants allow for a canopy to provide shelter and security as well and enrichment for climbing around and surfaces to collect mist for hydration. Any plastic plant that is not able to easily fit into your chameleons’ mouth is appropriate. Avoid plastic plants that have removable leaves as these can be a risk for accidental consumption. A list of appropriate live plants is listed below.
Recommended Live Plants:
Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina)
Climbing Fig (Ficus pumila)
Dwarf umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola)
Money tree (Pachira aquatica)
China doll (Radermachera sinica)
Hibiscus (Hibiscus spp)
Lighting and Heating
Proper temperatures and lighting are essential for the development, growth, and maintenance of your panther chameleon.
Lighting: Panther chameleons are a diurnal tropical species most active during the day. They require a medium output UVB lighting for proper vitamin D3 synthesis starting with their skin. Ideal hours of daylight to nightlight are 12 hours of daylight to 12 hours of nighttime without lighting. This can be achieved by a timer connected to their lights. UVB lights lose strength over time even though they may still emit light and should be changed every 6 months. It is important to note that windows and glass block UVB rays, screens and mesh can decrease the UVB strength to your panther chameleons. Avoid placing glass enclosures in direct sunlight as this can heat up much higher than anticipated.
Recommended UVB lights include:
T5 Strip Lights:
Arcadia T5 D3 Reptile Lamp 6% UVB 6” from light or 12% UVB 12” from light UVB
Zoomed Reptisun 5.0 UVB T5-HO
Heating: Panther chameleons are ectotherms or poikilothermous meaning they get their body temperature from the environment. This is key for proper metabolism and digestion of their food as well as overall health and function. During the day your panther chameleon should have a basking area that reaches 80-85°F, with a cool side having an ambient air temperature of 75-80°F. During the night ideal temperatures should remain between 60-70°F, avoiding any temperatures below 55°F due to risk of causing digestive issues and other illnesses.
Humidity and Hydration
Humidity and hydration play several important roles in your panther chameleon’s health. Humidity assists in proper shedding and rate of dehydration, but can cause respiratory issues if consistently too high. Ideal humidity for a panther chameleon is 50-60% humidity during the day and 75-100% humidity during the night and should be monitored using a hygrometer inside the enclosure. Early morning fogging is recommended for 3-5 hours ending an hour before lights turn on. Timed misting throughout the day at intervals of 30-90 minutes is suggested to maintain daytime humidity and provided a consistent source of water for proper hydration and drinking.
Nutrition is a very important part of allowing for proper growth and development of a panther chameleon. Understanding and knowing the appropriate food choices can help your panther chameleon stay healthy and avoid many medical complications. Baby panther chameleons should be fed once daily as many as they want, while juvenile and adults can be fed once every other day, or as needed to maintain desired weight. It is needed to supplement your panther chameleon’s food with calcium and vitamin dustings to provide additional nutrients. Dusting insects with calcium during every feeding is needed for a panther chameleon. Multivitamin dustings are recommended every 2 weeks and need to have vitamin A for recommended vitamin maintenance. Consult with a veterinarian to discuss the possible need of adding vitamin D3 to your calcium dusting as in some cases it may be recommended. A list of recommended supplementations can be found below. Panther chameleons are pure insectivores aka carnivores and eat an insect based diet. There are several appropriate methods to feeding juveniles and adults including offering 5 dusted insects every other day for juveniles and 2-3 dusted insects for adults every other day. Babies and gravid females should have free access to as much food as they can consume to allow for appropriate growth and egg development. Maintaining a balance and routine diet is important to maintaining stable health in a panther chameleon.
Main Insect Food Sources: (~90% of Diet)
Crickets, dubia roaches, or grasshoppers due to low fat to high protein ratios.
Snack Insect Sources: (~10% of Diet)
Mealworms, superworms, hornworms, phoenix worms, silkworms, or butterworms due to high fat or low protein rations. (Hornworms are a good source of fluids, and Phoenix worms are a good source of calcium).
It is important to know that mealworms and superworms are high in fat and should NOT be a main food source in panther chameleons. It is recommended associating mealworms with handling and enrichment activities to help differentiate them from their main source of food to prevent addition or preference.
Recommended Dusting Supplements:
Repashy Calcium Plus Reptile Supplement
Flukers Calcium without D3 and phosphorus free
ZooMed Repti Calcium without D3
ZooMed Reptivite with D3
Repashy Calcium Plus LoD Supplement
Enrichment is an important and stimulating part of a panther chameleon’s day to day life.
Several Enrichment options are listed below:
Feeding Dish– Allows your chameleon to stay stimulated and seek out the dish in the enclosure for their insect food source.
Supervised Time Outside Their Enclosure – Make sure to have a clean, item free area where you can supervise the activity of your panther chameleon. A nontoxic tree, or large grapevine branch allows for stimulation and climbing. Feeding snacks at this time can entice movement and exercise. Make sure no other pets including dogs, or cats have access to the chameleon when outside its enclosure.
Is My Panther Chameleon A Male or Female?
Panther chameleon are a dimorphic species as adults there are visual colorations that can easily be used to determine sex. In addition, another reliable way in determining sex can be done by a skilled veterinary professional through several methods at a younger age including probing for hemipene pockets, endoscopic sex determination, and ultrasound sex determination. Listed below are the helpful colorations that you look for to visually differentiate a male and female.
Coloration and Size – Male Panther chameleons grow larger than females and have more vibrant colors. Gravid (pregnant) females when mated display bright orange colorations. In general adult females are less colorful with orange, pink, and purple colorations commonly seen with grey, black, and white accents.
Recommended Further Resources:
The Chameleon Academy Podcast: Great for those looking for information on chameleons available in an amazing podcast!
Want this information in hand? Download the Panther Chameleon Care Guide below!