Popularity: Make fascinating and rewarding pets. Great for beginners.
Native habitat: Tropical forest
Size: 12-20 inches
Lifespan: Up to 10 years
Appearance: Males are more colorful than females. A male’s coloration varies with exact origin. Common colors are vibrant blue, red, green or orange. Females are generally tan and brown with hints of pink peach or bright orange.
Activities: Arboreal, diurnal
Defense Mechanisms: Will change colors to blend in with surroundings.
Aluminum screen cages are common for housing chameleons. Adults require a cage that’s at least 24 x 24 x 36″; however, bigger is always better. These tree dwellers require lots of branches and plants on which to climb. One of the branches should provide a basking spot that is within 6 inches of the basking and UVB lights. Other good furnishings include commercially available wood products such as sandblasted Manzanita branches, sandblasted grape wood branches, bamboo roots, Sumba vines, or Surreal Vines. Live ficus trees are good for cover, and they help maintain humidity in the cage. You can use cage carpet or paper towels as flooring.
Temperature and Humidity
Keep the daytime temperature between 75 and 85 degrees F. The cooler area should be at the bottom of the enclosure and the warmer at the top. Temperature can drop to 65-75 at night. There must be a basking area. You can provide that with an incandescent bulb placed over a branch at one end of the enclosure. It should not get any warmer than 90-95 degrees F. A 75-watt bulb will suffice. Humidity should be 50% or higher, which can be achieved through frequent daily misting.
Chameleons need 10-12 hours of daily exposure to direct UVB rays for good health. Use UV lamps specially designed for reptiles, and place them 12 inches away from the pet. To give the chameleon a natural day/night cycle, leave lights on for 10-12 hours during the day and turn them off at night. In addition to quality indoor lighting, whenever possible you should also expose your chameleon to as much natural sunlight as possible.
Chameleons don’t usually respond to standing water, so they need a container above the cage that drips water onto the leaves in the enclosure. You can make one by punching a small hole in the bottom of a clean plastic container. You can also add a waterfall, but it raises the risk of bacteria and contamination from defecation. Misting a few times a day, using a drip system and having live plants are sufficient to provide appropriate humidity and water.
Panther chameleons will eat gut-loaded crickets, superworms, waxworms, butterworms, and small mealworms.