A species of arboreal lizards, Panther chameleon, is a native of North Eastern Madagascar. They make a home in the dense parts of the jungle where cover and prey are ample. They can change colors vibrantly based on where their ancestors come from.
They are among the popular choices for chameleon pet lovers. But just like other chameleons, they also require special handling and care. The first step in it is to understand their housing and care needs.
Panther chameleons are generally from a warm climate and environment. Chameleon enclosures cannot be standard sized. The cage’s size depends on the age, species, size, and sex of the chameleon. A cage of size 16”x16”x20” is adequate for the chameleon during their first six months.
Later the male chameleons need at least 18”x18”x36” cage. The female chameleons need at least 16”x16”x30” large cage. Bigger cages are always better for grown-up chameleons. They need a well-ventilated cage with a minimum of two screened sides.
Vegetation and Plants
Once you find the right cage, look for plants and vegetations your Panther chameleon needs. Being a native of the islands of Madagascar, they are shrub dwellers and tree climbers. So, their natural habitat has to be mimicked inside to thrive in a captive environment.
Provide a lot of leaves and branches for them to climb as well as hide. Please give them a safe and secure natural environment. You can go for artificial plants like Pothos Repta Vines and live plants like Pothos, weeping fig trees, and umbrella trees.
Lighting and Heating
This breed of chameleons is usually basking lizards. They are always out in the daytime in their natural habitat basking in the sunlight, which helps them absorb heat and vitamins. Your cage should mimic the same heat and light.
Install both UVB and basking lights in the cage. For babies, cages go for a 75-watt basking light, and for large cages, 100-watt bulbs. The chameleons’ basking place should be 90-95° F in the daytime. Whenever possible, expose your pet to the natural light.
You can easily go wrong with your chameleon’s water requirement. In captive chameleons, dehydration is one of the main causes of death. As they are a native of rainforests in Madagascar, they need plenty of water. It provides them their required hydration, humidity, and it helps them clean their eyes.
Panther chameleons usually do not prefer to drink water out of dishes. They drink water by licking droplets, which form on leaves because of morning dew and rains. You can use a handheld spray to mist your chameleon for five minutes, two to three times a day.
You can invest in a dripping system or use an automated mister or fogger. This also benefits you if the cage has live plants.
It is not a tough job to feed your Panther chameleon, but planning is the right choice. Choose a varied diet. In the natural habitat, they are used to feeding on anything that crawls. You can go for staples, like highly nutritious insects like crickets, roaches, super worms, and silkworms.
Treats like flies, mealworms, and waxworms can also be given. You can feed them in the free-roaming way where you set the insects free in the cage. The chameleon gets a chance to hunt for food. Or you can follow the cup feeding method, where you can place the insects in a cup from which the chameleon can eat them.
The housing of the chameleon should always be clean. Always do a spot clean, if possible, even every day. Also, plan for a full clean up once every four weeks. A captive chameleon needs to have a pristine natural habitat in the enclosure as much as possible to thrive mentally and physically.