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Panther Chameleon Info: Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove

Panther Chameleons are a species of arboreal lizard found in North-Eastern Madagascar. Their natural habitat is dense jungle and forest, where prey and cover are abundant.

The color patterns of these chameleons vary widely depending on where their ancestors were found.  These are referred to as locales.

Commercial breeders usually breed within those locales to maintain the color patterns for that locale. Most species of chameleon exhibit stark contrasts between males and females, and panthers are no exception. Males are longer than females, have a more prominent crest, and are much more colorful than females.

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Panther Chameleon — Before You Buy

panther chameleon
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Energy
Friendliness
Trainability
Maintenance

For a long time, panther chameleons had the reputation for being difficult to care for. This reputation was largely earned due to the poor condition of most wild imports and poor care practices.

A wild-caught chameleon often has a variety of health issues, including infections, parasites, wounds, dehydration, and a depressed immune system. Its age cannot be determined with full certainty, meaning that even if it is in peak health, its lifespan may be short due to age. You should generally avoid wild imports and go for captive-bred individuals.

A captive-bred panther chameleon can be quite hardy when well cared for. You will enjoy it for the whole of its lifecycle without the perils of disease and parasites.

What’s the Price of a Panther Chameleon?

A good chameleon from a reputable breeder ranges anywhere between $250 and $500. This price often varies based on a few factors.

Locale

Some panther chameleon locales are more common than others. Ambilobe panthers are among the most common. The rule of thumb is that the rarer the locale, the higher the price. This is because of the extra expenses incurred while breeding them and the laws of supply and demand.

panther chameleon
Image: Wikipedia

Age

Most breeders offer chameleons for sale of various ages, babies, juveniles, and adults. All these will be priced differently, so take your time deciding which one you want.

Gender

Panther chameleons are sexually dimorphic; males are bigger than females and have a wider range of colors than females. These factors play into the price, and often, the bigger the chameleon, the higher their cost.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Panther Chameleon

1. They have long tongues

Their tongues can sometimes be longer than their body

2. They are zygodactylous

Five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three, giving the foot a tong-like appearance.

3. They can see in every direction

Their eyes can move independently, which gives them 360-degree vision

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Temperament and Intelligence of the Panther Chameleon

Panther chameleons are territorial and should be housed individually. If two males are housed in captivity, they will change color as a way of trying to assert male dominance and sometimes attack each other.

Handling these lizards too much will stress them, so avoid being too touchy. When you decide to house a male and female together, breeding will occur. You do not need to do anything to encourage breeding, as it will occur naturally.

Panther chameleons are popular with chameleon enthusiasts because of their docile temperament. They are generally easier to care for than most lizards and will require less petting than your average dog.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

As mentioned above, two males housed together will attack each other. Since your chameleon is caged, it is unlikely that dogs, cats, or other large household pets will come into contact with your lizard. Most pets will generally ignore a caged chameleon that they cannot reach.

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Things to Know When Owning a Panther Chameleon

You might have fallen in love with the Panther chameleon, but don’t take it home just yet. The following are a few things that you should know about this reptile.

Food and Diet Requirements🐞

Panther chameleons feed on insects. Avoid feeding wild insects because they may be plagued with parasites, diseases, or other hazardous materials. You can easily get feeder insects from reputable growers and retailers.

Ensure that you keep all feeder insects in a clean environment, and make sure they have at least 24 hours to eat high-quality food. This is known as gut-loading.  Additionally, it is important to dust your feeders with supplements before feeding them to your pet. Crickets are usually the mainstay of their diet, but roaches, butter worms, flies, and grasshoppers will suffice.

When feeding, it is recommended to start with a moderate serving. If all food is consumed within 20 minutes, offer a second serving. However,  if you notice that your lizard is growing overweight, cut back on the amount of food or reduce the number of times you feed it.

Do not forget that chameleons are cold-blooded, so your pet will need 45 minutes to warm up before and after feeding.

Panther chameleons do not reliably drink from water dishes. They are attracted to moving, glistening water, such as droplets on leaves. Most owners opt for an automatic rain or mist system that can be programmed to provide water even while you are away. Set up your rain system such that water collects on easily accessible leaves.

panther chameleon
Image: Public Domain Pictures

Housing

Chameleons are tree dwellers, so make sure the enclosure has foliage and firm branches. Ficus, hibiscus, and fig trees are popular choices. Ensure that all trees are cleaned of any insecticide to avoid poisoning your panther chameleon.

Again, avoid keeping your pet in a glass terrarium because chameleons need ventilation.

Health 🏥

Calcium and vitamin A deficiencies are common among panther chameleons. Supplements can easily fix this. Other illnesses that panther chameleons are prone to include metabolic bone disease, mouth rot, and stomatitis.

Male vs. Female

This is largely based on preference. Females are smaller and have a shorter lifespan and narrower color range. If these characteristics are deal-breakers, then get a male.

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Final Thoughts

There are many species and breeds of chameleons that are good pets for both novices and experienced lizard owners. The panther is loved by many for its ease of care, beauty, and calm demeanor. There is a great deal of information and care products for them, and the chameleons themselves are readily available. The rest is up to you.

For more on Reptiles check out these posts:

Featured Image: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.