Panther Chameleon Care Sheet
Chameleons should never be kept in a glass terrarium. They need ventilation provided by a screened enclosure.
Vertical space is essential and the cage size needed depends on the size of the chameleon.
For full grown male chameleons the 24” x 24” x 36” size is recommended.
Baby chameleons will need to start in a smaller sized cage so that they are able to catch their food.
Keeping the cage clean is vital, to prevent bacteria or mold growth. Using paper towels or newspaper to line the cage makes cleaning the easiest.
Potted plants can be placed on a plain paper substrate for easier cleaning while still allowing live plants to be in the cage.
Do not use wood chips or any other substrate that could be accidentally ingested and cause blockages.
Provide lots of sturdy non-toxic plants and branches in the cage. Ficus, pothos, hibiscus and dracaena are some common plants used in chameleon cages; artificial plants can also be used.
Artificial vines are a great addition, as well as branches of varying diameters; these should be placed at different levels in the cage securely so that the chameleon can have perches at different temperatures.
A daytime temperature gradient of 70 – 85 F (24 – 32 C) should be provided, with a basking spot at 85-90 F. At night they should have a temperature drop of 10-15 F.
If your home doesn’t drop below 65-70 F (18 -21 C) at night, there is no need to heat at night.
Heating is best accomplished by a basking or incandescent light in a reflector or a ceramic heat element, which should be placed outside of the cage to prevent burns.
Chameleons need an ultraviolet UVA/UVB light source, so invest in a good bulb such as the Zoomed Reptisun 5.0.
Keep the UV light on for 10-12 hours per day, a timer is helpful. These bulbs will need to be replaced every 6 months.
Chameleons also benefit from spending time outdoors in natural sunlight when the temperatures are appropriate – be sure shady areas are provided to prevent overheating.
Humidity and Hydration:
Panther chameleons need a high humidity level (60-85 percent). This can be accomplished by misting the plants regularly, and a drip or misting system is also recommended.
Chameleons usually won’t drink from a water bowl; they will lap up droplets of water off plants or off the screens.
Position a drip system so the water droplets cascade over the plants in the enclosure. Invest in a hygrometer to measure your humidity.
Crickets are the mainstay of the chameleon diet. However they can become bored of their diet if only crickets are given.
Butterworms, silkworms, superworms, and waxworms can also be given, to give them some variety.
All insects should be gut loaded (fed fresh veggies and vitamin/minerals) before feeding to your chameleon.
In addition some chameleons will eat some plant matter (including the live plants in their cage, so it is vital that only non-toxic plants are used in cages).
Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens and sugar snap pea pods can be tried (they can be clipped to the side of the cage, or stuck on the end of a branch).
Never leave live prey in the cage for extended periods as insects may attack the chameleons.
Monitor your chameleons and adjust feeding amounts as needed (if many insects are left uneaten, back off on the amount you are feeding.
Vitamin supplementation can be a controversial area. Be sure that you gut load your insects well with fresh fruits and vegetables.
A great resource is “Chameleonforums.com”, the number one chameleon website. Some experts suggest choosing a supplement that does not contain vitamin A (use beta carotene instead).
I gutload my crickets with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those high in Vitamin A and calcium.
I supplement my chameleons with the following:
Multi Vitamin Supplement/Herbivite 2-3 times per month
Repashy Calcium plus
Each chameleon keeper has their own supplement schedule opinions. Check on the chameleonforums for additional information.