Panther Chameleon in Massachusetts (Furcifer pardalis)
The Popularity of Panther Chameleons has soared in the last few years. They make rewarding pets that are also suitable for beginners without experience in having a reptile. If you’re interested in the Panther Chameleon, Jabberwock Reptiles can help you get to know a little more about these fascinating little creatures:
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.
Defense Mechanisms: Will change colors to blend in with surroundings. This what they are famous for!
Aluminum screen cages are common for housing chameleons that live with Massachusetts pet owners. Adults require a cage that’s at least 24 x 24 x 36″. However, bigger is always better because 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.
Wood products like sandblasted Manzanita branches, sandblasted grape wood branches, bamboo roots, Sumba vines, or Surreal Vines will be appreciated by your little guy as well.
Temperature and Humidity
Massachusetts is much colder than a Panther Chameleons natural habitat, so it’s important to keep his temperature regulated to keep him comfortable and happy. 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.
Humidity should be 50% or higher, which can be achieved through frequent daily misting.
Panther Chameleons need 10-12 hours of daily exposure to direct UVB rays for good health. Use UV lamps specially designed for reptiles, leave lights on for 10-12 hours during the day and turn them off at night for a natural day/night cycle. In addition to quality indoor lighting, whenever possible you should also expose your chameleon to as much natural sunlight as possible. This will be tough during a Massachusetts winter, but certainly possible during the summer months.
Food and Water
Panther Chameleons have a diet consisting of insects. They will eat gut-loaded crickets, superworms, waxworms, butterworms, and small mealworms.
Unfortunately, they don’t typically like standing water in their cage. In order to give them something to drink, you will need a container above the cage that drips water onto the leaves in the enclosure. Misting a few times a day, using a drip system and having live plants are sufficient to provide appropriate humidity and water.
Keeping a reptile pet in our climate is not always easy, but your new pet will thank you for all your care by living a long and healthy life. Please call Jabberwock Reptiles at 781-729-0135 with any questions you have regarding caring for a Panther Chameleon here in Massachusetts.