The mesmerizing Panther Chameleon is known for its ability to slight color change, deliberate movement and distinctive patterns and this hold a special place in the heart of reptile enthusiasts. Despite all of its beauty this specie required special care that is important to know. There are many secret that you need to know to provide impeccable care for Panther Chameleons. You need to focus on crafting the perfect habitat and delivering the best possible care to them. Whether you are a seasonal enthusiast or you are rearing Panther Chameleons from a long time this guide will give you knowledge that will help you become a knowledgeable caretaker for this captivating creature.
Understanding the Panther Chameleon
When you are learning about Panther Chameleon their classification is Furcifer pardalis and they also known as “Jungle Chameleon”. They hail from northern and eastern part of Madagascar. They have so captivating characteristics like vibrant color, rotating eyes, long tongue, slow movement that makes them the most sorts after pets worldwide. In 1970s thousands of Panther Chameleons were exported from the Madagascar until their export is banned.
However due to a lot of deforestation they were disappearing from their natural habitat and now you can only find them in captivity. Unfortunately, a large number of Chameleon do not adjust well to their life in captivity. Most of them can’t bear the challenges of transportation and die due to inadequate care and stress. However, if you look among the genders males are more resilient than a female that’s why they are more expensive.
Panther Chameleon Colors
Skin color is very unique feature of reptiles. Some chameleon displays a green, red, blue and orange and two other shades in between these colors. All chameleons have a bumpy skin that shows different patterns like spots, vertical stripes, tiger stripes and lateral horizontal stripes. Panther Chameleon provides a great learning experience for those who are new.
The Enigmatic Behavior of Panther Chameleons
There are very less studies done on Panther Chameleon. They move very slowly and take each step carefully. The only part in their body that moves fast is their tongue, which is specialized for catching prey from the air or ground. The tongue can be two times of their body length.
Panther Chameleon is territorial animal and likes to live alone in their enclosure. There is very little known about their style of communication, except their ability to change color. They change color to match the environment. They also lighten or darken their color depending on the natural light around them. Other signals by which they change their color is by
- Males fighting for territory
- Females about to lay eggs
Panther Chameleon Care Challenges
Panther Chameleons are specifically recommended for expert keepers, because they need a lot of care in captivity. You need to understand the difficulty that they face in captivity and for that you should understand their needs and requirements.
Chameleon Enclosure specification
Panther Chameleons, originate from the warmer area and they often struggle with the cooler conditions. To overcome this problem you need to house them in a wooden vivarium. For an effective temperature gradient select a Chameleon tank with a minimum size of 2 x 2 x 3ft.
An ideal Chameleon tank should have sufficient vents on each side of tank so that it will be easy to regulate heat from one side to the other. This ventilation approach will help in maintaining a consistent temperature inside the basking area of tank.
Panther Chameleons are typically not nervous, so the enclosure of the above size is best for juveniles and adults. To overcome the issue of extra space in the juvenile Chameleon tank, a lot of decoration should be initially provided and they will be gradually removed as the chameleon matures.
Temperature and Humidity Control
In the wild Panther Chameleons live in warm and humid rainforests, so to keep them happy and healthy it’s important to maintain a suitable temperature range. To maintain the high humidity levels, there will be ventilation problems that can lead to respiratory issues in Panther Chameleon. The humidity should be maintained at 60-80%, with a good airflow in the Chameleon tank. The temperature of the basking area of the chameleon tank must be 35°C (95°F), and the temperature of cooler area should be 22°C (71°F). To establish these temperature ranges suspended ceramic heaters or basking lamps should be used.
It’s also essential to fit in a compatible thermostat with the type of heating equipment employed in the Chameleon tank. A pulse proportional thermostat should be used with ceramic heater and a dimming thermostat will be appropriate for basking lamp.
But for this size of enclosure it’s advisable to not rely on heat mat only. Heat mats do not produce sufficient heat and the ambient temperature that is necessary for the Panther Chameleons cannot be established. Instead, it can merely warm some area around the mat.
Unless the optimum temperature of your house drops to 15°C (59°F) the supplementary heating system should not be used. But, if it’s necessary a heating source that doesn’t have any visible light should be used like a ceramic heater.
UVB Lighting Essentials
Panther Chameleons are basically bathing creatures, but they receive partial shade from vegetation and canopy present in their habitat. There, you will need to add a semi-intense UVB light source in the tank. The recommended light source is 6% UV tube, which will extend for the 2/3 of the enclosure length. In some cases, the strength of the lamp might be increased especially for taller enclosure.
Presently, the UV tubes are present in two sizes of T5 and T8. The T5 lamps have a diameter of around half V and need replacement after every 12 months and T8 lamp has a diameter of about 1 inch and should be replaced after 6 month.
In case of taller enclosure the T5 unit is more advisable. Mount this unit in the back wall it will create a optimal configuration. Arrange the basking lamp and UV source in such a way that the temperature gradient is established along the length and width of the Chameleon tank.
Despite of all the basking needs, Chameleons might also need areas with reduced or no light. To overcome this behavior, provide a partial and full hiding spot in the enclosure.
Furnishings and Climbing Elements
When selecting a bedding always select one that have the capacity to absorb moisture and release it gradually throughout the day. Most enthusiast uses coarse bark wood chip for its affordability, cleanliness and easy spot cleaning. Alternatively if you need natural aesthetic a soil mix will be an excellent choice. To maintain the higher temperature put some hard wood decoration such lliana pieces or grapevine in the tank. Put these decoration near the heating source lamp but prevent the contact from basking lamp. Along the lliana and grapevine create a network of absorbent troncho and oak so that the Chameleon can navigate around it and access different levels.
As we have discussed in the lighting section that Chameleon need partial shade to avoid UV exposure. To make sure that Panther Chameleon will get the partial shade from light, we recommend adding full cover decorations like flat cork piece, caves and other ornament that provide shaded resting spots. In case of partial cover add trailing plants, tall plants and themed ornaments that offers different degrees of shade.
Panther Chameleon Diet
There is very limited information present about the specific nutritional needs of Panther Chameleons, but basically they are insectivores. Naturally, Panther Chameleons feed on different creatures that include mealworms, crickets, waxworms, roaches, grasshoppers, bees, flies, beetles and other small insects. Sometimes large males can eat small birds.
Most of the Panther Chameleons find it very easy to feed them in captivity. The recommended need is to feed 15 to 30 cricket’s bout four times a week. Additionally, add some giant mealworms and wax worms in their diet. Feeding can be done by two ways either by hand or by feeding them in a shallow dish. In the wild, Panther Chameleons lick raindrops and morning dew drops. To continue this behavior mists the enclosure 3-4 times a day. Furthermore they also love to drink dripping water, for that purpose you can add a water drip system a putting a hole in the plastic cup and suspending it over a dish.
Always keep in mind that the nutritional needs of the Chameleons are very complex so it’s best to add a variety to their diet for their well-being.
Supplements For Panther Chameleons
Panther Chameleons get most of their nutrients from their regular diet but there are some minerals and vitamins that are needed in extra quantity. These supplements are added in to their diet in the form of vitamin and calcium powder which is mixed in their live food. Different supplements are available in the form of various formulations and brands, but they are available in the categories of pure calcium, vitamins with calcium, vitamin only supplements. Some of the supplements also have synthetic vitamin D3 in them which is originally produced when reptiles are exposed to UVB light. It also help the Panther Chameleon to utilize dietary calcium. If you think that you are providing enough light than opt those supplement that have no vitamin D3.
Cleaning of Chameleon Tank
Always keep the Panther Chameleons environment neat and clean. To make this possible regular cleaning is necessary. Spot cleaning should be done on daily basis and comprehensive cleaning should be done after every four weeks. In a bio active enclosure spot cleaning is enough and bedding should be changed few times a year. When cleaning use disinfectant as it only take 30 seconds to effectively clean the tank.
Health and Lifespan of Panther Chameleon
If you want to keep your Panther Chameleon healthy create an optimal habitat and stress free environment. Panther Chameleon struggles a lot when living in the confinement and sometime stress can become fatal for them. It is very easy to spot a sick chameleon by the signs below:
- Poor coloration
- Refusing to eat
- Losing weight
- Pale mucous membranes
- Regurgitating food
However there are some other health concerns associated with them like hypovitaminosis A deficiency, this will lead to vision impairment or blindness. However preventing this issue is very simple and that is by incorporating vitamin A in their diet.
Another common problem is metabolic bone disease that affect panther chameleon. To overcome this problem a practical measure that can help is by dusting calcium supplement on their food.
Those Chameleons that are caught from wild have a problem of internal parasites in them but this problem is irrelevant because capturing Panther Chameleons from Madagascar is prohibited. If you address all of these conditions affectively you can contribute to their longevity.
Is it ok to hold Panther Chameleon?
Panther Chameleon are very docile but handling them cause great stress. If you handle them frequently it will increase the stress and cause many health problems. The only reason in which you are allowed to handle them is when moving enclosure. When handling them don’t grab them and let the Chameleon comes to you. Always wash your hands before and after handling them.
How much it will cost to get a Panther Chameleon?
The cost of Panther Chameleon is from $150 to $600 but their price mainly depends on their morph, color and breeder. They breed very easily in captivity as compared to other species. Their copulation will last for 15 to 45 minutes and it will get great over the time of few days. When pregnancy start female will change its color. Female will lay 10 to 40 eggs but most of the babies will die in the process.
Conclusion Of Panther Chameleon
When you become a Panther Chameleon owner you need to get all the knowledge, compassion and dedication. If you follow the guideline provided in this care sheet you can provide proper care, an environment that reflects their natural habitat and an opportunity to live long and healthy life. When you embark the journey of mastery always remember that the vibrant colors and captivating behavior is reflection of care and devotion you provide them. Through understanding, commitment, and informed choices, you can truly become a steward of these magnificent creatures and celebrate the wonders of the chameleon world.