Panther chameleon question

ambermarie729x

New Member
Hello! I've been interested in buying a panther chameleon for the last 6 months and I've done a lot of research on the animal as a pet. I understand mainly everything I need to know about owning one, I just have one problem. I live in Michigan and the insulation in my house isn't the greatest. In the winter, the temperature in my house falls down to around 65 (even with the heat on). I know the chameleon would have a heat lamp for warmth, but I'm concerned that the heat won't stay trapped in the cage (since it's all screen) and the panther may get too cold? I thought that if it gets cold it would move up more towards the lamp, but I'm not sure how that works. My boyfriend is the one who warned me about this, and I was going to ask if there is any way to get around this problem? Say, "rigging up" the cage to where it traps the heat in.. somehow. Any suggestions?

In the past I owned a leopard gecko (for 3 years), and I currently own 3 salamanders. I understand that the maintenance for panther chams is a little higher, but I'm willing to deal with that because I just got rid of my 2 guinea pigs so I have a little bit more time :)
 

pssh

Avid Member
You can always build a cage with three walls that are solid and the last wall and top are screen. Keeps heat and humidity in and still let's the air flow. :) and if the cage is big enough, you can have two heat lamps. One is hotter for basking, and the other would be just warm enough to raise the tops temperature into the 70s and the bottom can stay at 65.

Why did you get rid of your piggies?
 

ambermarie729x

New Member
My mom is a school teacher and I gave the pigs to a little girl in her class (for Christmas). I had them for 4 years and they were getting to be too much for me. I mean, I can handle some maintenance.. but the 2 of them were a lot to keep up with. They needed to be cleaned daily, bathed every couple weeks, nails clipped, & their cage would stink within a day or 2 of cleaning it. It was a lot of work. I handled it for a long time, but I'm starting the nursing program next fall so I didn't want too much on my hands. Right now I had 2 tiger salamanders and 1 blue spotted salamander.. they are very easy to own. Low maintenance. So I figured I could handle a panther chameleon during nursing school. My sister is in the nursing program & manages to own/take care of a huge St. Bernard, so I think I can handle a panther. I'm expecting to monitor the temperature frequently, give it crickets daily, clean out the cage frequently, buy vegetables and gut load the crickets. The panther cage will be way easier to clean than the guinea pigs (I can guarantee). What do you think about this situation? :)
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
I lived in Michigan for 13 years, and successfully kept panther and Jackson's chameleons. Like you, I was worried whether I could keep the environment right for a panther, but when I spoke to the breeder she was not at all concerned and did not think we needed an additional heat source so long as nighttime temperatures did not get below 60. So - the room my panther were in ranged between 64 and 68 during the day, 60 at night; heat source during the day was the mercury vapor UV-B lamp (he could easily get in the 80s near the lamp, but generally would only sit that close for 20 minutes or so a day, then wander off).
Bottom line - they'll slow down to a crawl or a stop if they get in the lower fifties/upper forties (every now and again somebody would "escape" and make it to our cold, effectively uninsulated kitchen), so you'd like ambient temps of 60 or above, but they're hardier than we often give them credit for. Madagascar winter temperatures can get into the 60s and 50s.
 

pssh

Avid Member
Understandable. I have three pigs of my own, and they take up way more time! I don't know about the bathing, but everything else is certainly true. :) well, since you had pigs you know about veggies and the importance of balancing nutrition, so you should be set on gutloading. Just make sure to keep the calcium rich veggies at the top of the list.

Night time temps Can be low. Just make sure they can warm up in the morning. They can handle temps in the 50s at night.
 

ambermarie729x

New Member
Yeah, I bathed the pigs every couple weeks. So it is possible to own a panther in Michigan with unstable temps!? My boyfriend is telling me over & over that it'd be a bad idea because the temp in my house, and also that I am gonna be starting the nursing program next fall. He thinks it'll be too much for me, but I think I'll be okay. It's not like I'm potty training a dog where it needs my constant attention. I mean, people have kids during the nursing program.. I think I'll be just fine. I can handle a lot, especially when I really want something, and I reallllly want a panther :) So does anyone know where I can get a cage that isn't all screen.. that still allows ventilation? and what size should I get?
 

pssh

Avid Member
You will have to make one unless you want to spend a fortune. If you are getting a male, the adult sized cage should be 2x2x4tall feet. It would probably be easier in your circumstances to build the 2x2x4 or bigger and just section it off to make it smaller if you buy a baby.

The temps should be fine. You can also pretty much automate everything except feeding, gutloading, and cleaning so you shouldn't have any problems.
 

hallenhe

Avid Member
There are several custom cages you can get, or people have jury-rigged the screen cages by, e.g., blocking air flow on a couple sides with a shower curtain (not beautiful, but functional). Mine were uncaged - no screen, no glass, just chameleon on a hanging plant set-up fully exposed to all local airflow. The original, central part of my chameleon set-up can be seen in the third and fourth photos in this thread; you can also see that it had expanded considerably.
 

ambermarie729x

New Member
I was thinking I could buy an all screen one (or 3 side screen one) and get some plexi glass for 2 sides of the cage. The plexi glass will run about 3/4 down the length of the sides, that way the bottom 1/4 will still have adqeuate ventilation. The front will be screen. I can get plexi glass sized perfectly for the cage, that way I can put it in and pop it out if I ever need. How does that sound?
 

Texas Panther Man

New Member
Look up some of Sandrachameleon posts. She has some cages she made out of peg board for the sides and screen top with plexi doors. They are really ingenious for people living in the far north. If you cant or dont have the talent to build your own. You could buy an exoterra terrarium as a baby cage til he's about 8 months old. Then you'd have to come up with something as a permanent solution. A cheaper solution would be to buy a screen cage and just cut some plastic panels to fit over the sides and back and you could velcro them on so that they are removable for summer months. Bottom line is you can have a panther in Michigan, you will just have to come up with a plan to fit your situation. ;)

Wow talk about thinking alike!
 
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pssh

Avid Member
Plexi sounds good to me! You could probably even just build a plexi cage and drill holes in the bottom and what not for air flow and put a screen top on it. I bet it would look pretty nice :)
 

ambermarie729x

New Member
The velcro sounds like a good idea! My boyfriend has 18 tarantulas (all caged separately) and 3 snakes. He built some of his cages out of plexi glass, so he knows where to go and get discounts. That sounds like an amazing idea. Then I can just take the plexi glass walls down for the summer and leave my windows open in my bedroom. Sounds great. If anyone has any other suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them :) Thank you!
 
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