handling

sharikov

New Member
How can I get my baby panther to stop being so dang afraid of me? Today was the worst. I took him out to try to get him to eat this mealworm (he hadn't touched it for a day or two in his cage) and he wouldnt even pay attention to it, he is too preoccupied with being aware of me. After that he was walking on the back of my hand when he looked over at me and puffed up (I guess to seem intimidating, feeling threatened by me). After a while, i figured it would be best to stop eyecontact, so I looked away and two seconds later he falls off my hand ! Luckily, my hand was over my desk, so the fall was only an inch or two but I was really concerned and felt HORRIBLE. Is there any way to break him into being not-terrified of me?
 
Tips:

-Move incredibly slowely
-Keep his cage at head level
-Close you hand & hold out a finger as a perch (less intimidating)
-Put more leafy foliage into the cage for hiding
-Hold adult chameleons over head to calm them
-When feeding, put the feeder directly in line between your eyes and the chameleons eyes. This way they can aim and watch you at the same time.
-Walk slowly towards the cage, don't sneak up.
 

Heika

New Member
If your panther is very young, it still thinks you are going to eat him. It will take a while for him to learn that you just plan to torture him with your presence every once in a while. :D They aren't overly social at any age.

Is he eating anything at all? Or, just not meal worms? My sambava wouldn't eat anything besides crickets for the first 6 months I owned him. Now, he will eat anything that moves.. but he was picky at first. What did the breeder feed him? If you are having trouble getting him to eat, it could be that you are feeding him the wrong bug!
 

studiocham

New Member
How can I get my baby panther to stop being so dang afraid of me?
>snipped<
Is there any way to break him into being not-terrified of me?
You can't jump into handling without accomplishing the first part: reducing his fear response to you. If you don't start there, you'll continually get that leaping/falling reaction because the base "problem" (which isn't a problem in the wild, it keeps him alive) is fear.

The way I get my chams to not fear me is to be in view without being scary or touching them. I place them in their cages (or free-range trees) up high, and then I go across the room and sit down on the floor. I might have my keeping journal to make notes, but for the first few times, I don't. I don't make eye contact and I hold as still as possible. This makes me seem smaller, less scary, and keeps my movement limited. People tend to move so fast that a cham can hardly register it. Try to not scratch your nose, stretch, or make any movement. If you are still, a cham has time to observe and decide if you are threat, instead of just instantly assuming you are. At first, the cham may shadow its perch and stare at you... after a few sessions, he'll bask in front of you... some even get curious and try to get closer to you for a better look. When the cham no longer keeps his eyes locked on you, and shows relaxation, you can shorten the distance between you each session.

With some chams, this goes very quickly, others take months. Once you do get your cham calm in your presence, you can start work with food rewards leading up to handling. Every cham is different and forcing them to go as fast you'd like only sours them to people.

In the meantime, if you have to handle your cham for medication, you can put a soft towel over it and restrain it. Chams are visual, so when that towel moves over it, it stops looking at you and focuses on the towel. A cham will associate the towel with the bad experience, and not your hands. It's important to keep your hands associated with good things (food) or a cham could fear you for life.

In my opinion, the only time a cham needs handling is for home exams, vet trips, and meds. A particularly fearless (or hand-raised) cham will seek out a person to perch on, of its own free will. The "needy" cham is very rare. The rest of the time, it's the human who needs it, not the cham.
 

sharikov

New Member
I believe I am in view without being scary. My apartment is somewhat small so my computer desk is near the enclosure, so he sees me from time to time. Also, i have hand fed him several times. whenever i get him on my hand outside of the cage he walks quickly, real low across my hand/arm. i just want to get to the point where he doesn't feel threatened by me.

To answer someone elses question, he is eating, just not his mealworms. he eats one or two crickets a day.
 
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