Help, My Panther is eating a plant


New Member
Hello all,
This is my first post so let me intrduce myself. My name is Tom and we picked up a 3 mo. old Ambanja in November. He has been eating well and seems to be thriving. He has grown a lot since we got him (shed 2 times), and has turned a really beautiful green.
The problem is my son called me this morning and said that Spike ate a leaf or two off the Ficus bush in his cage and was briefly walking on the bottom of the cage. He still looks alert and went back to the top to hang out on his branch. Should I be concerned?

Thanks in advance.
Hello Tomdeg, welcome to the Chameleon Forums :)

To make sure there is nothing wrong, you may want to list some details of your setup and chameleon. You can find some suggestions here: [THREAD=66]click here[/THREAD].
Ok here is my info:

Cage Info:
. Cage Type – I’m using a screen cage 16x16x24
. Lighting – Repti-cal 8.0 UVB and Basking light 12 hrs a day
. Temperature – Temperature range 95-75. Nighttime temps about 65
. Humidity – I’m not sure of the humidity because I don’t trust the Zoo-med guage. I will be getting a digital one
. Plants – I have one live ficus
. Location – Cage is located in my son’s room away from the vents and windows

Chameleon Info:
. Your Chameleon – He is a 5-6 mo old Ambanja Panther.
. Feeding – He eats about 10-15 crickets gut loaded with Cricketfood gutload and fresh veggies, and a few silkworms daily.
. Supplements – I dust the crickets 4-5 times a week with Rep Cal calcium w/D3 and 2x a month Herpivite vitamins
. Watering – He gets misted 2x a day for 30 min each and a dripper drips half the day.
. Fecal Description – His poop looks normal, dark with white

here's a photo taken 3 wks ago, I'll try to take a recent one
you may want to consider getting a 5.0 u.v bulb instead of an 8.0.....from what i was told by liddy kammer at chameleonsonly is that you should dust up to 2 times a week with herptivite with the younger chameleons...
Do you know what kind of ficus it is?

You will know within 8 hours of your chameleon eating the plant as to whether they are going to have an adverse reaction to it. You can look in the plant directory (found on homepage) or the link directory (also on homepage) you will then be able to find the exact latin name for the plant and determine whether it is safe or not. For the future since he has exhibited leaf eating I would keep the enclosure safe with all non toxic plants. Seems a little out of character for a Panther but nothing to worry about with some plant planning ahead.

Not sure what you are using currently to measure the temperature but at they sell all in ones at alot of stores. Home Depot, Lowes, WalMart...etc...the ones you are looking for are digital, measure temperature at the base, also with a probe, and measure humidity at the base as well. Most of these are dead accurate and are dependable minus the periodic battery changes.
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It is a Ficus Benjamina (I think it is the varigata species) The leaves are green and white. The ficus was purchased from the reptile store when I bought the cage, so I'm sure that it is safe.
If branches are broke or pruned on that species you will need to leave it out of the cage for a couple of days as the sap is a little toxic. You should no problems if he decides to eat the leaves.

As mentioned by others, plant eating is not as common in larger panthers as with other species, but also not unheard of. It is actually rather frequent with younger panthers, to include trying to munch on artificial plants as well. There is no way to predict when your chameleon will decide to take a bite, such that you could place fresh greens in the cage and expect it to forage. All I can say is that they seem OK with it, and I would speculate that it occurs in the wild as well, and is not necessarily indicative of anything lacking in the diet.
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