Tactics and age to start trying to tame a panther

balmybaldwin

New Member
My baby panther is now about 12 weeks old, and has been with me about 4 weeks, and is now settled in quite well, eating like a horse pooing and doing all the right lizardy things now:cool:

I have basically left him alone during this time and only go in his viv for a weekly clean (I spot clean as well) and to feed and mist. When I do this, he watches me carefully, and sometimes just watches and at other times runs of to hide or slumps (is this the right term?) behind a branch to hide from me.

My question is when (at what age) is it best to start taming him (or at least trying!)? and what are the best strategies?

At the moment he is still tiny (2"svl) and is currently in a small glass and screen viv with plenty of plants for him to climb and hide in. As a result, when I am in the room he tends to remain concealed if i spend much time at his end of the room, but is often found at the front or hanging from the roof as I enter the room.

My intention with the whole taming thing was to try to spend more time near his viv, but not in it so he gets used to me, and then to gradually try to tong and hand feed to get him to see me as a source of food. However attempts at tong feeding at the moment seem to make him just want to run away so I've stopped that for now and have gone back to loose bugs in his feeding bowl (that hangs in his ficus).

I am full aware that I may never have a nice or even tame cham, but to those that have managed this, what were your tactics and at what age did you start?

He tried to bite me the other day when i was cleaning, and i flinched away, would I be better to just let him bite me so he doesn't "win"?

is there any good reading out there on chameleon psychology?
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
My intention with the whole taming thing was to try to spend more time near his viv, but not in it so he gets used to me, and then to gradually try to tong and hand feed to get him to see me as a source of food. However attempts at tong feeding at the moment seem to make him just want to run away so I've stopped that for now and have gone back to loose bugs in his feeding bowl (that hangs in his ficus).

I am full aware that I may never have a nice or even tame cham, but to those that have managed this, what were your tactics and at what age did you start?

He tried to bite me the other day when i was cleaning, and i flinched away, would I be better to just let him bite me so he doesn't "win"?

is there any good reading out there on chameleon psychology?
You are going about this the right way. All you can really expect him to understand is that you are not a threat...just a weird looking hairy creature that is part of his world. Try offering insect treats in a hand held container instead of the tongs. He's familiar with a feeding cup now, right? Holding a cup with treats in your hand is a good next step to teaching him that you are a source of good things, not planning to eat him. Most lunges and aggression are bluffing. Some chams do follow through and bite, but many don't. I don't think he will feel he "won" if you back off necessarily. Chams are not overly sophisticated in terms of social behavior as they are solitary. To teach him that being handled isn't instant death you can use a a hand and a twig to coax him onto your hand. Let him hold you and don't restrict him...let him walk from one hand to the other. I also find that carrying a cham to a specially warm sunny plant or window for basking becomes a welcome treat.

You are right...he may never enjoy your attention but he should be able to learn that you are a source of treats, a free ride to a nice place, or at worst a minor annoyance :)
 

carol5208

Chameleon Enthusiast
You say the word "tame" and not sure if that is the correct term to use. Chameleons in general are not the most social creatures by nature. Many never tolerate handling their whole lives, but others do. It depends on which catagory yours falls into. There are however, some things that you can do to try and get your chameleon to a point where he will possibly walk out on your hand or not be freaked out and afraid when you enter the room or come near the cage. One thing I would try, is hand feeding. This way your chameleon will associate your hand with something good and not something that is going to harm or eat him! It is good that you have given him a chance to settle in. I would get yourself a large tall potted plant and set it outside the door of your enclosure. See if he will venture out onto that first. Often times chameleons feel less threatened when approached in the the territory outside of their cages. If he does, see if you can slowly slip your hand under his chin and kind of lean in towards his front legs to see if he will climb on. Also, my breeder recommended in the beginning using a small branch for my chameleon to climb on to and then if you can get him on bring him out of the cage that way and set the branch down on your lap and maybe that will help him to get used to you. Alot of it has to do with the personality of your chameleon. I am lucky that I have a relatively friendly guy who has never bit me and has not hissed or puffed at me since he was young and getting used to me in the beginning. Whatever you do, try not to stress the little guy out too much. Be slow and gentle with him and don't approach him from behind. Let him see your hand in front of him. Good luck and I hope you turn out to have a nice cham, it sure does make life easier!!!
 

KatCham

Established Member
You're aware of the suicide attempt his big bro Simba put himself through the other day...the dafty LOL! Not something I'd like to repeat!

While they're small I think they just see us as a predator. I've decided not to try to handle Simba until he's bigger....I guess I'll just know when I feel comfortable with the size I can handle him without incident (hoping)? Only our chams can let us know that I reckon ;) Continuing with trying to forcep feed, or even the cup in hand suggestion, to show them we aren't a threat seems to be the way to go.

I'm hoping with age/size will come confidence so Simba, and Felix, will become 'used' to forcep feeding, then hand feeding, then eventually being handled.

We'll just have to be patient I reckon.

Good luck with him!! So looking forward to watching Simba's brother grow up as well as Simba himself. I wonder how different they'll be when they're adults??? Felix is greener than Simba already. He's gorgeous!!!

Do you have any recent pics of him?
 

Ekaj13

New Member
You'll find chameleons are not a creature that we can tame. They will only grow more tolerant of us.
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Here's what I did with my last two panthers (one at 3 months and the other at 6 months) and it seems like it might have made the difference. My first two panthers turned out to be real meanies while these two not at all, but personality might also have a huge part in all of this, which is much harder to measure.

I think trying to handle them while they are confined to their cages is starting off on a bad foot. First of all, you are huge and scary, and second, they are essentially trapped in a small space. I think it makes them feel cornered and worse. So what I tried was to get a fake 6' ficus and place it infront of the open cage with a branch or two as bridges. Then I sat (either reading or on the laptop) where I was much lower to them, so often it was an ottoman or the floor. And then I just waited until they came out on their own, sometimes taking as much as 2-3 hours to dare come out of the cage.

The first couple times I let them exit and return to their cage as they pleased, making them comfortable to exit their little territory and explore with me only 7-9' away. Then I began putting my hand infront of them as they explored the fake tree and let them use it as a bridge to get to where they wanted, and from there, I would get them to walk on my hands and arms for short periods of time.

By doing this, along with hand feeding, my last two are much calmer around me than my older 2. I don't know if it'll work with anyone else, but the way I reason it, fishing them out of their cages only starts everything off on a bad foot. This has made trips to the vet/new houses/cage cleaning/etc. much easier.
 

josh payette

New Member
At three months my panther would let me handle him fine. now at a year the little guy only wants to bite me even whin i clean the cage. MY miller wich is not captive born and is around 2 years old allows me pick him up just fine. it really falls on the charector of the cham.
 
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