Housing: Furcifer pardalis (Panther Chameleons)

July 5, 2020

We get a lot of questions about our housing strategy, so I figured I’d provide an organized response. Here is our strategy for hatchling, baby, juvenile, adult male and adult female Furcifer pardalis (Panther Chameleons).

Term Age (months)
Hatchling 0 - 1
Baby 1 - 4
Juvenile 4 - 8
Adult 8+

Hatchlings

We find that it is advantageous to house hatchlings in bio-active tubs because their food items are so small - and would escape screen enclosures - and some hatchlings like to tuck under the leaves near the soil (ABG mix) while digesting their remaining yolk. The goal in the tub is to provide tons of food options, springtails, isopods, fruit flies, flour beetle larvae, bean beetles, silk worms, etc. When there is an abundance of food, the little ones thrive. We measure the UVB at the highest point and shoot for 2.5 - 3. Ambient temps in the mid 70s and basking in the low 80s.

Babies

At about 4-6 weeks of age, it is beneficial to start separating them out to prevent injury and dominance issues. There is also research that suggests raising them in groups can result in eating disorders later in life because the adults that have been raised in groups will competitively feed even when there is no more competition. This also helps them develop faster and thrive post-shipment. Not to mention, they look amazing if they aren’t showing stressed coloring like the ones raised in groups. UVB and heat are similar to hatchlings, but we add halogen puck lights to provide a bit more heat at this time. Feeding them at this age is a huge challenge. Some are a bit smaller and still prefer small prey, so you can’t start feeding larger prey items to every one. You have to monitor their daily food consumption and figure out what they like to eat. Then, give them as much as they will eat in a single day, every day.

Juveniles

For juveniles, we upgrade them to a fully planted bioactive setup. We are still thinking of ways to do the nursery cages bioactive, so I’d love to hear if someone else has figured out how! Our heat increases a bit more to the mid-80s with Arcadia 50-75 watt halogens.

Adults

Our adults are housed in hybrid bioactive enclosures. You can see low branches running down near the substrate where there is shade, security and humidity, and at the top, there is heat, uvb and lower humidity. There are Coroplast sheets super glued to the frame to maintain heat and humidity without closing it off entirely. We are always thinking of ways to improve (thank you Frank Payne for the suggestion on the Coroplast sheets - they are great!).

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