Is this head bobbing behavior "normal"

RescueMom

Avid Member
I had my male panther chameleon in is outside enclosure for a little while this afternoon. He'll be 2 years old in June and has been outside plenty, but we've moved and there's almost nothing around here for him to look at (not to the human eye at least). Suddenly he became very fixed on something, watching it really closely, even shifting his body slightly, side to side. But that's not what was strange. The strange part was what he did next.

He started moving down toward the bottom of his cage, head first. As he got closer to the bottom, he started bobbing his head. The closer to the bottom he got, the more he bobbed his head. I was trying to figure out what would cause him to do this because there were clearly no females around, then I noticed his shadow in some water on the bottom of the cage.

He did the little head bobbed / twitchy thing until he literally touched his nose to the shadow on the bottom of the cage.

After I brought his cage back inside, and before I got him back into his regular enclosure, he kept getting more and more colorful!
 

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Ambilobe123

Avid Member
If he saw his reflection in the water, that could make him feel defensive. Pretty normal reaction for a cham, but if the water down there is a normal thing, it will stress him out.

You also might want to remove the fake plants because of the impaction risk.
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m pretty sure it’s normal behavior especially if he saw his reflection in the water. You might want to put a couple more plants in the bottom to cover the water so he doesn’t get so excited. It could stress him out over time and cause problems If he thinks there’s another male in his cage.
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
As usually, my post must have been as clear as mud.

The cage in the picture is only when he is outside. The water on the bottom was unusual because in our Florida heat it usually dries up pretty fast.

The fake plants in the cage are necessary so that he has some sense of security while he's outside. We have no trees or even plants in our yard since we moved last fall.

To clarify, he didn't see his reflection, he saw his shadow, which was just a dark, colorless chameleon shaped object.

He has seen his reflection in the past, and he didn't do any head bobbing. He got defensive and this is what that looked like.

I just thought it was odd that he would possibly think his shadow was a female chameleon so he was doing what male chameleons do.

He wasn't stressed or aggressive, like this picture
 

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Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I just thought it was odd that he would possibly think his shadow was a female chameleon so he was doing what male chameleons do.
Possible he thought the shadow was an intruder into his territory? :unsure:
Their vision is so good they can allegedly see a prey insect 30 ft. away, so I also have to wonder if it may have been something else besides his shadow that he was reacting to.
 

Sonny13

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just thought it was odd that he would possibly think his shadow was a female chameleon so he was doing what male chameleons do.
I believe the head bobbing is a typical behavior when they see a female and got their period. My Jackson does it when he sees my female panther, she’s receptive at the moment. It could be he saw the shadow as a female, however they also got very good eye sight and it‘s hard to believe they see a shade as an real chameleon. But this would be the most plausible reason he’s doing it.
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
I believe the head bobbing is a typical behavior when they see a female and got their period. My Jackson does it when he sees my female panther, she’s receptive at the moment. It could be he saw the shadow as a female, however they also got very good eye sight and it‘s hard to believe they see a shade as an real chameleon. But this would be the most plausible reason he’s doing it.
This is my third male panther and I've never had any do this before. It was definitely the same head bobbing ice seen in videos when they see a female, and since I know how what his defensive pose looks like, as well as his frightened pose, I would have to say it wasn't either of those things.

He does have great eye sight, and at his yearly vet check up last week he got high praise 👏 something must have gotten him excited, even if it was that dark looking chameleon on the bottom of the cage 🥴
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
Sorry for the misunderstanding.


Possible he thought the shadow was an intruder into his territory? :unsure:
Their vision is so good they can allegedly see a prey insect 30 ft. away, so I also have to wonder if it may have been something else besides his shadow that he was reacting to.
No worries! I'm way too wordy 🤓
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I get it! Even after my cataract surgery, I still need glasses 👓
Before reaching 50 (years of age) my vision was 20/10. 🦅 👁️
Since then it's been all down hill. . .
Since then it's been all down hill____ . . .
Since then it's been all down hill_________ . . .
Since then it's been all down hill______________ . . .
_____________________________________________________😩 🦇 🕶️
 

RescueMom

Avid Member
Before reaching 50 (years of age) my vision was 20/10. 🦅 👁️
Since then it's been all down hill. . .
Since then it's been all down hill____ . . .
Since then it's been all down hill_________ . . .
Since then it's been all down hill______________ . . .
_____________________________________________________😩 🦇 🕶️
I completely understand! 😭
 
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