Let's go over some basic information to keep your chameleon happy and healthy.
Click the link below to learn how to provide the environment that your chameleon needs to survive.
A proper enclosure for your chameleon is one of the most important things for a healthy and thriving animal. Click below to learn more about caging requirements.
If a chameleon is ill they will try to hide their symptoms. It's important to be very aware of changes in your chameleons behavior and appearance. You should inspect them and their enclosure daily.
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Baby Panther Chameleon
A baby chameleon can be housed in a 16X16X30 Inch enclosure or larger. Though a baby can be housed in a larger enclosure we recommend keeping them in one that is not too big. This will help promote their socialization and help you not to lose them inside their enclosure.
Adult Male Panther Chameleon
An adult male panther chameleon can be housed in a 24x24x48 inch enclosure or larger.
Adult Female Panther Chameleon
An adult female panther chameleon can be housed in a 18x18x36 inch enclosure or larger.
* You should place your chameleon in a room that is draft free. For example: Placing your chameleon right by a door that is constantly opening and closing may be negative on their health. That being said your chameleon should also have good air circulation in their enclosure.
Screen Vs. Glass
The enclosure type varies depending on what part of the region you are in. For example we recommend a glass enclosure for Colorado because our humidity is so low. If you are in a state like Florida screened enclosures are recommended.
Bioactive Vs. Synthetic
You might be asking yourself what in the world does "bioactive" mean, a bioactive enclosure is one that mimics a natural habitat. A bioactive chameleon enclosure should include a layer of drainage rocks in the bottom of the enclosure, screen/barrier to keep the soil and rocks separated, organic soil, leaf litter and a collection of isopods, springtails and leafy plants that are big enough to allow the chameleon to properly thermoregulate. *Remember to only use "chameleon safe plants." Check our care guide for plants that are safe to use.
Now with all that being said both are acceptable but one is better than the other. We always recommend bioactive enclosures if you are able to. It's always going to be better for the chameleon to have an enclosure that represents how they would live in the wild.
*Until your bioactive enclosure grows with plenty of coverage you will probably want to put some fake vines in it. This will offer your chameleon security and enough surfaces to properly drink from.
If its not possible for you to provide a bioactive enclosure don't worry! There are other suitable options. The other option is to put a few potted plants with heavy foliage inside their enclosure. With this option you will need to remove the chameleons excrements when you see them. If your plants are not big enough for the chameleon to reach their basking spot you can put fake vines in their enclosure to help them to get up high and have plenty of places to crawl on.
The last option and the least popular is to fill their entire enclosure with synthetic (fake) plants and vines. Yes, a chameleon can survive this way but their life won't be as glamorous! And we truly feel like we see a difference in our chameleons since we made that improvement
The day time humidity levels should maintain 50%-70%.
The night time humidity levels should maintain at least 80%, preferably you will want to achieve 90%-100%.
If their desired humidity levels cannot be obtained, a fogger should be used to reach the desired amount of humidity.
You might also need to get a humidifier for the room your chameleon is in.
The day time ambient temperature should be in the low 70's not exceeding 75 degrees, the basking spot should hold a temperature of 83-86 degrees.
The night time temperature should not exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important that panther chameleons have a decrease in temperature ideally between 60-66 degrees.
How to measure these temperatures
A temperature gun is recommended and a thermostat probe inside the chameleons enclosure.
How To Give Your Chameleon Water
Chameleons in the wild prefer to drink rain water off of the leafs in their surrounding area. Now how do we mimic this? There are two options and a third available but not recommended.
The first option is to get a Mist King sprayer pump installed inside their enclosure and have it spray the enclosure for no less than 1 minute twice a day, preferably for 1 minute four times a day.
The second option is to hand mist your chameleon using a battery operated sprayer or a hand pump sprayer. This should be done at least twice a day for no less than 1 minute a day, ensuring that every leaf is heavily saturated with water dripping off the leafs. *Make sure to add Reptisafe water conditioner to the bottle before you mist your chameleon. Reptisafe is sold at our store front location or you can purchase it elsewhere.
The third options that is NOT recommended is using a lizard fountain. Even though the fountains are very beautiful they are not recommended because the chameleon may poop inside the fountain. It's a breeding ground for some nasty bacteria that can cause your chameleon to get really sick!
Lighting is extremely important. If the chameleon does not have the proper lighting it can lead to serious health problems, such as metabolic bone disease (MBD).
UVB Linear Light- T5HO 8-12 hours a day.
IR Light (basking)- Low 80 degrees Fahrenheit, verify temperature directly under bulb on the basking branch.
Chameleons can have a wide variety of feeders but there are a few that they should not have. The main staple food for chameleons are live crickets, black soldier flies/larva, roaches, hornworms and super worms. Horn worms and super worms are higher in calories and should be given with some moderation. It's important to feed your chameleon on a rotating schedule. Each feeder has different benefits to your chameleons health. These feeders should be dusted with supplements on a rotating schedule as well.
Baby Panther Chameleons- Fruit flies, small black soldier fly larva, 1/4 inch crickets, small silkworms and small dubia roaches.
Juvenile Panther Chameleon- Medium Black Soldier fly larva, 3/8-5/8 inch crickets, medium silkworms and medium dubia roaches.
Adult Panther Chameleon- Large black soldier fly larva, 3/4 inch-adult crickets, large silkworms and large dub roaches.
Plain Calcium- each meal
Bee Pollen- each meal
Calcium with D3- Once every two weeks
Multivitamin- Once every two weeks
You should NOT use chemicals to clean the chameleons enclosure while the animal is in their enclosure. Things like windex can cause respiratory issues or even death! If you need to clean hard water stains off the glass use a soft 3M scrubby with water.
Common Health Issues
Chameleons are masters of disguise, especially when it comes to their well-being. Evolutionary, chameleons have become adept at hiding possible sickness from Predators, making it difficult for pet owners to identify warning signs of various maladies. Consequently, understanding possible sources of infections and how they manifest is critical for chameleon owners.Veterinarians recommend that chameleons visit every 6-12 months to ensure the well-being of these difficult-to-diagnose reptiles.
Now let's talk about some common issues.
Edema describes the condition where the chameleon’s body retains fluid and this usually manifests itself as a sort of collar around the neck area. It becomes more prominent when the chameleon is head down. While it is not life threatening in itself, it is a warning that there is an imbalance in the chameleon system.
We really don’t know what causes the edema, but it appears to be linked to our supplementation as reducing the supplementation results in the edema slowly going away. More specifically, it appears to be linked to the fat soluble vitamins, A and D3. Although edema can be found across many chameleon species the montane species (such as Jackson’s, Trioceros quadricornis, etc…) are most susceptible.
Edema begins as a puffy look, usually around the neck area. It really becomes noticeable when your chameleon walks down head first and suddenly you notice this huge fluid filled collar around his neck as seen in the images here. Diagnosis is simply looking at the animal and identifying the puffy fluid collar.
Stomatitis or Mouth Rot-
As one of the most common diseases in chameleons, stomatitis affects the oral cavity, tongue, palate, and/or esophagus. When an infection spreads untreated, inflammation of the mouth consisting of gingivitis, glossitis, palatitis, and cheilitis occurs . While the initial exposure to opportunistic bacteria may be caused by physical trauma within the mouth, environmental factors such as misguided caretaking and nutritional care create the framework for infectious agents to thrive . Specifically, gram-negative bacilli have been implicated in stomatitis manifestation. Moreover, Aeromonas is among the bacteria implicated as the classical causative agent of infectious stomatitis, along with several other bacteria such as Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Klebsiella, and Mycobacterium.
Swelling in gums
Yellow pus (aka cottage cheese mouth)
Black plaque on teeth
Changes in feeding behavior
Common Eye issues:
Sunken in eyes
One eye closed for more than 24 hours and during the day
Rubbing/scratching at the affected eye
Vitamin A deficiency
Dehydration- Dehydration is the number one killer of reptile species. Commonly a chameleon who is dehydrated will have orange urates. They might also have sunken in eyes and may be weak.