1y/o female panther, new addition to my reptile family: Could use some pointers!

Correlophus

New Member
Hello, I am new to chameleon ownership and have recently been given a female panther chameleon. She is about 1 year old. Her name is Perse! Long story short she was given to me by a friend who is caring for her brothers and sisters that all have health issues. Perse is healthy other than the fact she’s missing the last couple inches of her tail. So she’s a little nubby and clumsy. Not any less beautiful though!

I got her about 5 days ago and have been slowly setting up her enclosure as I was not entirely prepared to take her home. I have been doing research daily on panthers to make sure I know my stuff. Prior to owning her I had done research on panthers and Jackson’s as I was interested in eventually having one. So I was not completely blind sided.

She’s got lots of leaves and vines to climb, a lay box just in case she needs it, and a dish for her wormies and such.

Her previous caregiver was feeding her black rock fly larvae, mealworms, waxworms, crickets, and on occasion Dubia roaches and horn worms. While under the previous person care she was eating and drinking regularly, basking, and exploring her enclosure. I was told she loved the fly larvae and would eat twice a day.

Since she has been with me, I haven’t seen her eat but I have seen her drink a few times. I keep bugs in her enclosure all day just in case she decides to eat. She mostly just hangs out in one spot. However, it’s a different spot each day. She has a little dripper that goes constantly and I spray her enclosure multiple times a day. I also haven’t seen her poop just yet either.

I’ve read several different places that it takes a while for them to get comfortable in a new environment. So I’m hoping that’s the case. I have appropriate bulbs for uvb and basking as told. Lights are on for 12 hours a day and she is plenty warm. My room stays about 70 at baseline. I try not to handle her much as well.

Any help or advice would be amazing!!
 

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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. :) I’m very glad that you’re here and wanting to give your girl the best life. There’s so very much bad and out dated information out there that it’s very difficult to know what is good or not. I do see some things that need improvement and have some questions.
The biggest thing that I see that needs to be changed is your uvb light. The screw in lights aren’t able to provide adequate levels of uvb any farther away than 2-3”. The standard is a linear T5 with either a ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb. Most chain pet stores only carry T8 lights so most order them on line. Once you get the correct uvb light, you’ll want basking area to be about 8-9” below it. The light will need to span the width of your enclosure, which brings me to the next. I can’t tell what size enclosure you have, but a 2x2x4’ is the minimum recommended size for adults.
You’ll then want to fill it up with lots of branches and vines to provide lots of little roads for your sweet girl to travel on. You’ll also want to add lots of live and safe plants for her to drink from, hide in and take some shade under the leaves. Pothos is a one of the best. I like to put a tall centerpiece plant like a schefflera and then vining plants like the pothos around it. You will probably need to get a plant light, which you can put in the place that the uvb was in, in the dual dome.
Keeping the enclosure floor bare is best - easiest to keep clean and hygienic. Also, things like bark chips can pose an impaction risk if your girl accidentally eats it.
You’ll want to provide a feeding dish or station up higher in the enclosure where she can easily see it from her basking area. You can make or buy one designed to attach to the screen. Chameleons don’t like going down to the ground as it isn’t safe for them in nature…they stay up high in trees. Along with adjusting to a new environment, this may be why she’s reluctant to eat.
As for feeders, all you mention are ok except for mealworms. Those shouldn’t be given as a staple. Variety is great. An adult female panther should be getting 3-4 feeders either every other day or 3 days a week. We don’t want to overfeed, not just because obesity is dangerous for chameleons, but it can cause her to produce too many eggs.
You don’t mention what supplements you are using. You should be using a phosphorus free calcium without D3 lightly dusted at every feeding. You’ll also need a calcium with D3 and a multivitamin. There’s a couple of ways to give these and I’m going to suggest the simplest. Use a combination product like Reptivite with D3 or Repashy calcium plus LoD or Repashy calcium Plus - you’ll lightly dust one feeding every other week with this.
You don’t say what you are using for a lay bin. My girls prefer large plastic bins of at least 12” wide and long (and deep). I drill some tiny holes in the bottom for water to drain. Then I fill with about 5-6” with washed play sand. It needs to be kept moist enough to form a tunnel without collapsing. It’s best to keep it as a permanent part of your enclosure to avoid guessing when your girl will be needing it. Once you see she’s started digging in it, she’ll need absolute and total privacy. I cover just the bottom half of the enclosure with a light sheet. The whole laying process can take 1-2 days and you’ll keep your usual light schedule and not disturb her for anything short of your house being on fire. She may sleep in her tunnel, or not. You’ll know she’s done when she’s looking much thinner and back to basking.
As this is already quite long and there’s oh so much more I can go over, I’m going to stop and direct you to some accurate and up to date care guides. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/ Do make sure to check those out and come on back with any questions you may have. :)
 

Correlophus

New Member
Hi and welcome. :) I’m very glad that you’re here and wanting to give your girl the best life. There’s so very much bad and out dated information out there that it’s very difficult to know what is good or not. I do see some things that need improvement and have some questions.
The biggest thing that I see that needs to be changed is your uvb light. The screw in lights aren’t able to provide adequate levels of uvb any farther away than 2-3”. The standard is a linear T5 with either a ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb. Most chain pet stores only carry T8 lights so most order them on line. Once you get the correct uvb light, you’ll want basking area to be about 8-9” below it. The light will need to span the width of your enclosure, which brings me to the next. I can’t tell what size enclosure you have, but a 2x2x4’ is the minimum recommended size for adults.
You’ll then want to fill it up with lots of branches and vines to provide lots of little roads for your sweet girl to travel on. You’ll also want to add lots of live and safe plants for her to drink from, hide in and take some shade under the leaves. Pothos is a one of the best. I like to put a tall centerpiece plant like a schefflera and then vining plants like the pothos around it. You will probably need to get a plant light, which you can put in the place that the uvb was in, in the dual dome.
Keeping the enclosure floor bare is best - easiest to keep clean and hygienic. Also, things like bark chips can pose an impaction risk if your girl accidentally eats it.
You’ll want to provide a feeding dish or station up higher in the enclosure where she can easily see it from her basking area. You can make or buy one designed to attach to the screen. Chameleons don’t like going down to the ground as it isn’t safe for them in nature…they stay up high in trees. Along with adjusting to a new environment, this may be why she’s reluctant to eat.
As for feeders, all you mention are ok except for mealworms. Those shouldn’t be given as a staple. Variety is great. An adult female panther should be getting 3-4 feeders either every other day or 3 days a week. We don’t want to overfeed, not just because obesity is dangerous for chameleons, but it can cause her to produce too many eggs.
You don’t mention what supplements you are using. You should be using a phosphorus free calcium without D3 lightly dusted at every feeding. You’ll also need a calcium with D3 and a multivitamin. There’s a couple of ways to give these and I’m going to suggest the simplest. Use a combination product like Reptivite with D3 or Repashy calcium plus LoD or Repashy calcium Plus - you’ll lightly dust one feeding every other week with this.
You don’t say what you are using for a lay bin. My girls prefer large plastic bins of at least 12” wide and long (and deep). I drill some tiny holes in the bottom for water to drain. Then I fill with about 5-6” with washed play sand. It needs to be kept moist enough to form a tunnel without collapsing. It’s best to keep it as a permanent part of your enclosure to avoid guessing when your girl will be needing it. Once you see she’s started digging in it, she’ll need absolute and total privacy. I cover just the bottom half of the enclosure with a light sheet. The whole laying process can take 1-2 days and you’ll keep your usual light schedule and not disturb her for anything short of your house being on fire. She may sleep in her tunnel, or not. You’ll know she’s done when she’s looking much thinner and back to basking.
As this is already quite long and there’s oh so much more I can go over, I’m going to stop and direct you to some accurate and up to date care guides. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/ Do make sure to check those out and come on back with any questions you may have.
 

Correlophus

New Member
Hi and welcome. :) I’m very glad that you’re here and wanting to give your girl the best life. There’s so very much bad and out dated information out there that it’s very difficult to know what is good or not. I do see some things that need improvement and have some questions.
The biggest thing that I see that needs to be changed is your uvb light. The screw in lights aren’t able to provide adequate levels of uvb any farther away than 2-3”. The standard is a linear T5 with either a ReptiSun 5.0 or Arcadia 6% uvb bulb. Most chain pet stores only carry T8 lights so most order them on line. Once you get the correct uvb light, you’ll want basking area to be about 8-9” below it. The light will need to span the width of your enclosure, which brings me to the next. I can’t tell what size enclosure you have, but a 2x2x4’ is the minimum recommended size for adults.
You’ll then want to fill it up with lots of branches and vines to provide lots of little roads for your sweet girl to travel on. You’ll also want to add lots of live and safe plants for her to drink from, hide in and take some shade under the leaves. Pothos is a one of the best. I like to put a tall centerpiece plant like a schefflera and then vining plants like the pothos around it. You will probably need to get a plant light, which you can put in the place that the uvb was in, in the dual dome.
Keeping the enclosure floor bare is best - easiest to keep clean and hygienic. Also, things like bark chips can pose an impaction risk if your girl accidentally eats it.
You’ll want to provide a feeding dish or station up higher in the enclosure where she can easily see it from her basking area. You can make or buy one designed to attach to the screen. Chameleons don’t like going down to the ground as it isn’t safe for them in nature…they stay up high in trees. Along with adjusting to a new environment, this may be why she’s reluctant to eat.
As for feeders, all you mention are ok except for mealworms. Those shouldn’t be given as a staple. Variety is great. An adult female panther should be getting 3-4 feeders either every other day or 3 days a week. We don’t want to overfeed, not just because obesity is dangerous for chameleons, but it can cause her to produce too many eggs.
You don’t mention what supplements you are using. You should be using a phosphorus free calcium without D3 lightly dusted at every feeding. You’ll also need a calcium with D3 and a multivitamin. There’s a couple of ways to give these and I’m going to suggest the simplest. Use a combination product like Reptivite with D3 or Repashy calcium plus LoD or Repashy calcium Plus - you’ll lightly dust one feeding every other week with this.
You don’t say what you are using for a lay bin. My girls prefer large plastic bins of at least 12” wide and long (and deep). I drill some tiny holes in the bottom for water to drain. Then I fill with about 5-6” with washed play sand. It needs to be kept moist enough to form a tunnel without collapsing. It’s best to keep it as a permanent part of your enclosure to avoid guessing when your girl will be needing it. Once you see she’s started digging in it, she’ll need absolute and total privacy. I cover just the bottom half of the enclosure with a light sheet. The whole laying process can take 1-2 days and you’ll keep your usual light schedule and not disturb her for anything short of your house being on fire. She may sleep in her tunnel, or not. You’ll know she’s done when she’s looking much thinner and back to basking.
As this is already quite long and there’s oh so much more I can go over, I’m going to stop and direct you to some accurate and up to date care guides. https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/ Do make sure to check those out and come on back with any questions you may have. :)
Thank you so much for all of your help. I have read so many different articles saying that I need a different UVB light. As for live plants, I have just started some research on appropriate plants and their care. I lack a green thumb so my plants never last too long. I can definitely get another lay bin. I do have the calcium and vitamin supplements you listed as well. Her previous owner told me calcium MWF and the vitamins on Sundays. Issue is, she hasn’t eaten yet. So I have put a variety of wormies in her dish (she’s dish trained) just to see what she eats and when she eats. I’ve dusted each feeding with calcium because I haven’t seen her eat yet. I think I’m gonna try Dubia roaches tomorrow and see what she thinks. Those will get dusted with the calcium and d3 stuff. If she doesn’t eat them then my cresties will. Meal worms freak me out anyway so I will not be upset not feeding those lol!

She is in a 2x2x4 I believe. Screen enclosure. Plenty of room to roam and climb. I have some more sticks I’m working on adding, I’m just trying to not stress her out too much by being in her space. Her lay box is just a Tupperware container. It was the quickest solution I had until I got more information. It’s about 4” deep, 8” long and 4” wide.

Thank you so much again. I love doing research on my critters, but sometimes it’s much better to hear it come from someone directly!
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you so much for all of your help. I have read so many different articles saying that I need a different UVB light. As for live plants, I have just started some research on appropriate plants and their care. I lack a green thumb so my plants never last too long. I can definitely get another lay bin. I do have the calcium and vitamin supplements you listed as well. Her previous owner told me calcium MWF and the vitamins on Sundays. Issue is, she hasn’t eaten yet. So I have put a variety of wormies in her dish (she’s dish trained) just to see what she eats and when she eats. I’ve dusted each feeding with calcium because I haven’t seen her eat yet. I think I’m gonna try Dubia roaches tomorrow and see what she thinks. Those will get dusted with the calcium and d3 stuff. If she doesn’t eat them then my cresties will. Meal worms freak me out anyway so I will not be upset not feeding those lol!

She is in a 2x2x4 I believe. Screen enclosure. Plenty of room to roam and climb. I have some more sticks I’m working on adding, I’m just trying to not stress her out too much by being in her space. Her lay box is just a Tupperware container. It was the quickest solution I had until I got more information. It’s about 4” deep, 8” long and 4” wide.

Thank you so much again. I love doing research on my critters, but sometimes it’s much better to hear it come from someone directly!
You’ll want to be careful in the frequency that you use both multivitamin and D3. Each should be used one feeding every other week.
Whatever your feeders are, you’ll want to keep them well fed so that they will be healthy and therefore more nutritious.
I wouldn’t suggest giving your other animals the feeders that she doesn’t eat unless she’s been tested for parasites. You wouldn’t want to risk spreading anything. I would just put them aside and offer again the next day.
I didn’t cover temps and humidity. You’ll be wanting to monitor both, ideally with a digital monitor with a probe end. Basking temp should stay around 80 and a temp drop at night is great. Humidity range is between 50-70% during the day. Live plants will help achieve and maintain this. You’ll want the enclosure to dry out between mistings, which should be for about 2 minutes right before lights go on and off. Optional is adding a misting at mid day or using a dripper (for about 20-30 minutes).
There’s a ton of amazing info on just about everything you ever wanted to know about chameleons on Chameleon Academy website. The podcasts are super informative and interesting.
 
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