Panther chameleon Amazing Pets.


The  Panther  Chameleon ( Furcifer  pardalis) comes  from  Madagascar  and   is  an entry  level  species regarding care requirements. Chameleons are not ʻpetsʼ in the traditional sense they do not like being handled or played with and indeed this can be extremely stressful for them. They have specific husbandry requirements and should only be kept by those willing to adequately provide for their needs. However, chameleons are beautiful and fascinating animals and can be a challenge for the keeper. Captive bred animals should be purchased from a reputable dealer wild caught specimens are more likely to be stressed and to carry internal parasites, and by buying these individuals you will be contributing to the importation of this vulnerable species from the wild. Reproduction: Panther chameleons are oviparous (egg-laying). The eggs take 7 to 9 months to hatch. Female Panthers are almost always orange in colour (some may be a grey/brown). Male Panthers can vary from the Nosy Be blue panther to green and blue patterned Ambanja "Rainbow" panthers with orange eyes. Ideally chameleons should be mated with other chameleons of the same "phase" or colour and should certainly not be bred with others from the same parents. Housing: Do not house chameleons together except for mating. Chameleons are naturally solitary creatures and become easily stressed if they can see another chameleon. Males can be extremely territorial. Adult males can reach a total length of 21 to 24 inches and a suitable vivarium would ideally measure at least 36" x 24" x 36".Chameleons need a good flow of fresh air and the ideal housing
for a chameleon is a mesh cage. Hides are essential toprevent stress and allow privacy. Artificial plants, boxes, plant pots etc all make good hides. There should be easy access to water, food and basking sites. Lighting:  Many sites advise an "Arcadia D3 Reptile" or a "Reptisun 5.0" (or "Iguana 5.0" {same thing - different packaging}) UV fluorescent tube and in one corner at the top of the cage a 60W to 75W incandescent spot light for basking. This should be on a dimmerstat to prevent overheating. The UV and spot lights should be on for 10 to 12 hours a day. A protective mesh is required around both any spot light or ceramic heater to prevent the chameleon from burning itself (as it will try to climb on these). Temperature: A thermostat is essential: the temperature at the basking area should be between 32C and 37C (90 and 100F), with a background temperature falling to around 26C (80F) at the coolest point. At night the temperature may be allowed to drop to around 22C (72F). Thermometers should be placed at each end of the vivarium. Madagascan chameleons do not require a severe heat drop at night (pardalis are adversely affected if the temperature drops too much). The temperature should be allowed to drop by about 10 or 12 degrees at night. A ceramic heater /can be used to provide overnight infra-red heating (needed in winter). A protective mesh is required around both any spot light or ceramic heater to prevent the chameleon from burning itself (as it will try to climb on these). The safest substrate is newspaper, although this does not hold humidity well. Sphagnum moss or bed-a beast substrate can be
used. Whichever substrate is used care should be taken to ensure that none is ingested during feeding. Climbing and Shelter:  The cage should have a sturdy branch in it of a size suited to the chameleon's grasp. Plastic plants are ideal for shelter, to facilitate drinking and to create pockets of humidity. Hides are essential to prevent stress and allow privacy. Artificial plants, boxes, plant pots etc all make good hides. There should be easy access to water, food and basking sites. Humidity: A chameleon can easily die of dehydration if inadequate water provision is available. Enclosure plants need to be "misted" with hot water from a plastic plant spray bottle every morning and every evening. The hot water turns cool as it leaves the bottle in a fine mist. This provides both necessary humidity and also drinking water.Chameleons in general will not drink standing water and only rarely drink from containers, preferring instead to lick the dew of leaves in the early morning or catch drops of rain dripping down their faces. Commercial drip feeds are available. Water dripping from dripper bottles will attract a chameleon's attention but this cannot be relied on as male panthers in particular often forget to drink and quickly become dehydrated. It is important to give adult chameleons a good soaking once a week for about 10 minutes to ensure that they gets sufficient water. Chameleons can be left in a shower with a fine spray of warm water on them but be careful that only a fine spray is used as they may panic or their eyes damaged by the force of an excessive jet. Don't spray water directly onto very small baby chameleons it is easy to drown them. A good way of ensuring an adult chameleon has enough water is to feed it a
cricket or locust and then spray water down its throat just as it is finishing off the food. Be careful that this water is not aspirated. Food: Chameleons are primarily insectivorous and should be offered food from an opaque raised dish as this will enable the chameleon to catch the food as it climbs out. Feed your adult Panther chameleon a few small brown crickets and 1 to 3 locusts daily (yellow "hoppers" or adult locusts). Babies can be fed small (2mm) crickets and wingless fruit flies, both be bought at reptile shops. Fruit fly tubs last for about 5 weeks,  of which can producing several batches of flies over this period from the worms in the culture. Mealworms are supposed to be a treat for them but their hard outer cases are suggested to contain elements which can be harmful if taken over long periods. Waxworms are an expensive treat but are better than mealworms. Maggots are a cheaper alternative and can also be allowed to turn into flies providing a level of variety (but this can soon get out of hand !) Keep the tub in the fridge to slow down the turning into flies. Adults should be offered food every other day. Adults can be offered insect prey such as crickets, house flies, fruit flies, mealworms and wax worms. They should also be offered small amounts of salads and fruits. Do not leave live food in the cage or it will start attacking the chameleon while it is asleep at night. Ideally provide a varied diet as chameleons can get bored with their food and just stop eating. In order to ensure that the diet has the correct calcium : phosphorus ratio, as chameleons in captivity are prone to developing metabolic bone disease, prey insects should be gut-loaded with a product such as Bug-Grub (Vetark) for 48 hours prior to feeding. They should also be regularly dusted (at every feed for juveniles, once weekly for males and 1-2 times per week for females) with a high calcium product such as Nutrobal (Vetark) before feeding. Adult panthers require vitamin D3 and calcium to ensure their bones and skin develop properly. They should have their food "dusted" with a vitamin D calcium supplement. Get a large container such as a peanut tub and tip in a little vitamin powder. Put this tub in either a much largerplastic container or in a sink with the plug in. Then ease off the edge of the cricket or fruitfly tub and add a few crickets or locusts or lots of fruit flies and swirl them around until they are dusted. Any escaping fruit-flies or crickets can be retrieved from the larger cage or the sink. Do not do this more than twice a week or the chameleons will suffer from vitamin D3 toxicity. If the chameleons are out in the garden in the summer getting sufficient natural sunlight then the addition of the supplement should be cut back. Grate up a carrot and put it in the cricket tubs. This provides moisture and also beta carotene which will be turned into vitamin A by the chameleons. Always have at least 2 tubs of crickets. There is nothing worse than suddenly finding that a whole tub has died off on Saturday evening. Source: Animal Discovery

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