New Panther Chameleon


New Member
Hey everyone. I am new to chameleons, but not reptiles, and I just got a young panther chameleon (almost 3 months) from a local breeder. He is in a 36h by 24w by 24d screen cage with 2 reptiglo bulbs (5.0 and 2.0) and a 75 watt basking lamp. I have a large umbrella plant in the cage along with some pothos and dracaena. I am curious if this set up is adequate, and i also have a couple question.
First, the chameleon has not moved much since i got him. I have had him for a little less than a day now. He has remained gripped onto a branch of the umbrella plant under his basking light. Is this normal since he is getting used to the cage or could he be too cold?
Second, he has not eaten anything yet. I have tried handfeeding him some crickets but he just turns away. I also put a few in a cup and stuck it in his tree, but he hasn't touched them either. Just curious if this was normal for the first day or not.
Lastly, i set up a dripper on the tree he was on. He would stick his toungue out and lap the air, but did not bend down and drink the droplets (at least not while i ws around). Again, is this normal.
Thanks for any replies, I just want to make sure i am doing everything right.
Hi :) Congratulations on your new chameleon. You seem to have given him a pretty good start and your concern and questions are always good to see before a problem starts.

The cage size may be a little big for your baby, but not overly so. He probably isn't eating or drinking well yet because he is stressed out from being introduced to his new home.. and his new owner peering in at him every few minutes :D Try to give him some space. He will come around in a couple of days. A lot of chameleons don't respond to hand feeding well.. at least few of mine do, though I usually prefer to interact with mine the least amount possible. This is a personal preference. Let a few crickets loose in his cage and see if he goes after them.

As far as sitting under his basking spot, he may indeed not be getting enough heat. Do you have a digital thermometer or a temperature gun that you can check your basking and ambient temperatures with? It may also just again be that he is stressed out and not wanting to move around a lot yet.

A dripper is a good way to provide water to chameleons, but a lot of younger guys just don't get the hang of them at first. Misting is a great way to get your chameleon to drink. Spray the entire cage with a spray bottle 3 or so times a day for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. I know this seems like a lot of water, but it takes a bit to trigger your chameleon to drink. Misting also keeps the humidity up in the screened enclosures. Make sure that inbetween mistings the cage has time to dry completely to avoid mildew and bacterial growth. The lapping at the air is a way that chameleons drink. I have a panther who ONLY drinks this way.. open and closing his mouth during mistings or next to his humidifier.

Just a few tips that are always good for new owners.. make sure that your UVB light has no glass or plastic between it and the chameleon. No substrate is the way to go with chameleons to avoid any impaction risks. Do you gutload and dust your crickets? This is a very important part of your chameleon's health. I think we covered many of the basics. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! And.. post of a picture of your chameleon and cage! Everyone loves baby pictures and a cage picture will help people give you suggestions on eliminating husbandry problems before they cause a health problem in your cham.

Good luck!
Thanks alot for the help! I tried to let some crickets go in the cage but he didnt eat them. They just crawled into the plants where he couldn't get to them after a while, which was why i tried to put them in a small cup.
If i put another heat bulb in combined with the one i already have, would that be too much heat? Perhaps a 50 watt bulb in a larger dome fixture? Thanks again.
I can't really tell you what wattage bulb to use for your cage. This is something that you will have to experiment with. Try different watt bulbs as well as different distances from the bulb to your chameleon's basking spot (making sure that you leave 5 or 6 inches from the basking bulb to your cham to prevent burns). Taking many temperature readings is the only way to be sure that you have your temperatures correct ;)
thanks, i think i got everything worked out. he is moving around alot more now and has eaten a bunch of crickets. thanks for your help!
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