Panther chameleon, Furcifer pardalis

A strikingly beautiful reptile, the Panther chameleon

At a glance...
  • Panther chameleons are a great display animal
  • A stunning array of colours, changing between localities
  • A favourite for more experienced reptile keepers
Out of stock
Price Match

Do Panther chameleons make good pets?

Panther chameleons are one of the larger chameleon examples, and are arguably one of the most beautiful in terms of their patterns and striking colourations. Their adult colours differ between localities, but they can display stunning arrays of green, blue, red and yellow. At Swell Reptiles we often have different localities for sale, all of which are captive bred in the UK.

This species is generally more docile than other chameleons too, but some still may not tolerate handling so this is something that ultimately depends on the individual, generally they should be considered as a display animal rather than a pet to play with. Panther chameleons can become territorial when more than one individual is kept together, so these should be kept alone only.

What size terrarium does a Panther chameleon need?

Due to their larger size and active nature, we recommend a minimum enclosure size of 90 x 45 x 90cm (36 x 18 x 36”) for an adult Panther chameleon, but if you have the option to go larger then they will certainly appreciate it, particularly for larger males. A good example of a Panther chameleon enclosure is the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 90x45x90cm.

As they have high humidity requirements but are also prone to developing respiratory infections in low ventilated areas, a glass terrarium with a mesh top is by far the best housing option for a Panther chameleon, but others such as wooden vivariums or PVC enclosures can be used if extra care is taken to protect the wood from moisture and increase ventilation.

To make things easier, why not take a look at our range of Chameleon Starter Kits, although only the Platinum version will be suitable for an adult of this species.

Do Panther chameleons need to be heated?

Panther chameleons naturally inhabit the warm and humid rainforests of Madagascar, so they are best kept with a basking zone temperature of around 35°C (95°F) and a cooler forest floor sitting around 22°C (71°F). This should be achieved using an overhead heating system hooked up to a compatible thermostat, for example a reptile lights and dimming thermostats or a ceramic heaters and pulse thermostat.

It is unlikely that you will need to provide overnight heating, as the temperature naturally drops when the sun sets, so it is more beneficial for your Panther chameleons captive habitat to replicate this. If your home drops below around 15°C overnight, then it may be necessary to provide overnight heating in the form of a non-light emitting heat source such as a ceramic heater, but this should still be set to a lower temperature than during the day.

Do Panther chameleons need a UV light?

Panther chameleons do best with a UVI between 3-4, so they require a fairly high percentage UVB depending on the height of the fixture from their highest basking point. If the light will be between 30-40cm (12-15”) then the Arcadia ProT5 Kit - 6% Forest should be used, or if this distance will be between 40-60cm (15-24”), then the Arcadia ProT5 Kit - 12% Desert is a better option. The presence of this will ensure your Panther chameleon remains in good health and keep diseases such as metabolic bone disease at bay.

Which substrate should I get for my Panther chameleon?

To help keep humidity levels up, you should opt for a loose, moisture-retaining substrate such as coco soil. Panther chameleons are an ideal candidate for a bioactive enclosure, so if you choose to go down this route then you will be better using a more sophisticated planting substrate such as Arcadia EarthMix or ProRep Bio Life Forest, which will provide a better growing medium for your plants than coco soil alone.

It is also beneficial, particularly if going bioactive to add a drainage layer to your terrarium to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged which will, in turn, prevent your plants from developing root rot. This is usually achieved using a layer of Hydro Rocks, covered by a sheet of Hydro Matting before adding the substrate. This layer can also act as a water reservoir, wicking water back up into the substrate as it dries out.

How do I decorate a Panther chameleon’s vivarium?

Panther chameleons are arboreal, so spend the majority of their time high up in the forest canopy. Therefore, it is important to provide them with plenty of branches and vines so that they can utilise all of the vertical space they are given. Cover can be provided in the canopy using either artificial plants or live plants, with live plants generally being more beneficial as they aid with humidity levels and are also more aesthetically pleasing.

What do Panther chameleons eat and drink?

Panther chameleons are insectivorous so should be fed on a varied diet of livefood. Being arboreal and not necessarily the most nimble animals, it is important to regulate their diet to ensure they do not gain too much weight and can remain lightweight and agile for their arboreal lifestyle.

Variety is key with a Panther chameleon diet, but all foods offered should be supplemented according to a schedule to ensure they are getting all of the required nutrients to remain healthy. Here we recommend the following schedule - a calcium-rich multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3.

Panther chameleons will not drink from standing water, rather they prefer to drink from running water so it is important to supply them with a running water source to ensure they remain hydrated. This can be done in a number of ways, either by using a reptile waterfall, a simple dripper placed on top of the enclosure or even a more decorative dripper such as the Exo Terra Plant Dripper.

How do I buy a Panther chameleon?

If you would like to purchase one of our UK captive bred Panther chameleons, please come into our superstore and see us, where we will ask a few quick questions and ask to see some images of your set-up with the correct parameters and UV lighting. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

For more detailed husbandry information, please refer to our Panther Chameleon Care Sheet. If you would like to learn about alternatives to the Panther chameleon, you can check out our Yemen chameleon care sheet or Chinese water dragon care sheet.


Common names Panther chameleon
Scientific name Furcifer pardalis
Country Madagascar
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 25cm (10in) females, 35cm (14”) males
Natural habitat Tropical rainforests
Housing 90 x 45 x 90cm (36 x 18 x 36”)
Ideal temperature 35°C (95°F) (warm end); 22°C (71°F) (cool end)
UVI 3-4
Ideal humidity 60-80%
Diet Insectivorous
Average lifespan 7-10 years
Personality Mostly friendly
Ease of handling Easy-moderate
Cohabitable No
Write Your Own Review
You're reviewing:Panther chameleon, Furcifer pardalis
Your Rating
Help Guides
  1. Panther chameleon, Furcifer pardalis, care sheet
    Categories: Care sheetsLizards

    Panther chameleon, Furcifer pardalis, care sheet

    Panther chameleon, Furcifer pardalis, husbandry guide from the experts at Swell Reptiles, covering housing, heating, lighting and more.