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Panther Chameleon (Chamaeleo pardalis) Care Sheet

Panther chameleons are a large beautiful chameleon that originates from Madagascar.  Adult size ranges between 19-24 inches for males and 9-13 inches for females.  Male panther chameleons display impressive coloration, with reds, greens, yellows, and blues.  Males from the island of Nosy Be are completely blue in coloration and in our opinion are the most beautiful of all chameleons.  Females are less spectacular and coloration is usually brown, pink, or green.   Male panther chameleons do not tolerate the presence of other males and need to be housed separately.  These chameleons are sexually mature within 6-7 months and females will lay their eggs within 45-75 days.  Healthy females can lay three or more clutches a year, each with 10-30 eggs.  Viable eggs will hatch within 6-12 months depending on incubation temperature.  As with other chameleons, panthers can store sperm after a successful mating and produce viable eggs even with no male present.

Temperature and UV Lighting

      Panther chameleons love heat and require temperatures under the heat light to range from 90-95 degrees and night time temperatures can range from 70-75 degrees.  Proper temperature allows panther chameleons to properly digest food and allows the immune system to function normally.  Panther chameleons require 12-14 hours a day of UVB light. This light enables the chameleon to produce vitamin D3.  The vitamin D produced by UVB metabolizes the calcium in the lizards’ diet.  In general it’s what makes chameleons’ bones hard and without it they usually die.  This process of inadequate UVB and calcium is called Metabolic Bone Disease.  Also it is very important to change your UVB light every 6-8 months, after this time the light stops producing adequate UVB.  If you’re not sure if your UV light is still producing UVB, bring it in and we’ll be happy to test the light for you.

Calcium

     Panther chameleons also require a calcium and vitamin supplement. This supplement works with the UVB light allowing the lizard to receive the proper amounts of calcium and vitamins. This should be used every day as babies and reduced to 1-2 times a week as adults.  Calcium is sold in a powder form and is sprinkled on the insects that you feed your chameleon.  You should apply a very light coating to the food items, being careful not to waste any excess powder.

Housing

     Panther chameleons require a cage that has a lot of climbing room and require more ventilation than most reptiles. Baby chameleons can be housed in a 10 gallon terrarium or in a screen cage such as ESUs’ Fresh Air Habitat.  Adult panther chameleons should be housed in a cage with at least two sides screen and measuring 36” tall and 18” x 18” of floor space. 

Food and Water

     Panther chameleons should be fed appropriate sized crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and superworms.  A mixed diet of these food items, five to seven times per week, is ideal and will ensure proper growth and health.  Chameleons do not usually drink standing water and prefer to drink droplets of water off themselves or vegetation.  We recommend that you mist baby panther chameleons 2-3 times a day and adults can be misted 1-2 times each day.