What to feed baby panther chameleons

Panther Chameleon Care & Feeding

Panther Chameleon Care & Feeding | Feed Your Panther Chameleon Nutritious Dubia Roaches from TopFlight Dubia
  • Login Register
  • 0 Shopping Cart
  1. Home
  2. Blog Home

Posted by on 9/6/2021 to Panther Chameleon Care

Article Contents

Get to Know the Panther Chameleon
Average Size and Life Expectancy of Panther Chameleons
Housing Your Panther Chameleon
Panther Chameleons Prefer Flowing Water
What Do Panther Chameleons Eat?
Dubia Roaches: Superfood for Your Panther Chameleon

Get to Know the Panther Chameleon

Panther chameleons (Furcifer pardalis) are indigenous to Madagascar and were first imported to the United States in the 1980s. Their natural habitat is the tropical rainforest, where they live in the trees and vines above the forest floors. The vertical tendencies of the panther chameleon allow you to create a fun and visually stimulating environment full of vines and branches, using both live and artificial plants. The panther chameleon diet consists mainly of insects. They do not usually enjoy being handled, so they are best for people who will be happy just watching them.

The ambilobe panther chameleon is the most popular sub-species for pets due to its vibrant colors. Panther chameleons can be found in a range of brilliant colors such as blue, green, yellow, orange, pink and black. Some of them have vertical bars of vibrant blue and red. Others have bright yellow mouths. Panther chameleons reveal color changes to show their mood, to communicate or to blend in with their habitat. They even can change color to absorb and reflect heat more effectively.

Average Size and Life Expectancy of Panther Chameleons

Male panther chameleons are larger than females, typically measuring 12 to 18 inches long and weighing 140 to 180 grams. The average female is 10 to 14 inches long and weighs 60 to 100 grams.

The male panther chameleon lifespan is between four and seven years. On the other hand, the female panther chameleon lifespan is typically shorter — around two to three years, especially if they have been bred.

Housing Your Panther Chameleon

Panther chameleons are tree-dwellers by nature, so you will want to design an enclosure that is well-suited for vertical climbing. When the chameleon is young (less than 6 months), the cage should be small enough for it to catch prey with ease. A cage that is 16x16x20 inches is the perfect size.

Once your panther chameleon grows into adulthood, bigger is always better when it comes to its living space. It should have an enclosure no smaller than 18x18x36 inches, but a larger cage is recommended for optimal health. Panther chameleons are very territorial, so do not house more than one together; they will fight.

Chameleons need a lot of fresh air and can contract upper respiratory infections if they are left in stagnant air. Consider either an all-screen cage or a cage with at least two screened walls to provide plenty of fresh air. If the air inside your home is dry, especially if you use an air conditioner or heater, having a few glass walls can be valuable for retaining humidity in the cage. In warmer months, you can use an outdoor cage.

The panther chameleon’s home should be designed for life above ground. Include lots of vegetation, vines, branches and a mix of live and artificial plants. Panther chameleons love to climb, and an assortment of greenery will give them climbing entertainment and places to hide. Include a few areas that are entirely hidden from view to provide them with a full sense of security.

Keep the Surface Simple for Your Panther Chameleon

Your panther chameleon will spend most of its time hanging out in the plants above ground, so you don’t need any fancy type of substrate. Some people choose to leave the floor uncovered to provide effortless cleanup. You can also select something simple, such as newspapers or paper towels.

Vary the Temperature of Your Panther Chameleon Cage

Panther chameleons are ectotherms, so they need different temperatures throughout their cage. Create a basking spot with a heat lamp positioned above a branch or vine so the chameleon can climb as close to the heat as it likes. Place the heat lamp over the screen or suspend it from the top of the cage.

You should have two thermometers—one on either side of the enclosure—to ensure the temperature is in the correct range. The basking area should be on one side of the cage and should be between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The other side of the cage should be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The chameleon will move from warmer areas to cooler areas to regulate its temperature; this is called thermoregulating.

Young panther chameleons prefer slightly cooler temperatures than the adults. Their basking spot should be between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the other side of the cage should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If your home drops below 68 degrees at night, use a ceramic heat emitter.

Panther Chameleons Need Plenty of Light

Panther chameleons need a UVB light in which to bask for about 12 hours a day. They rely on the UVB light to stay healthy and to regulate eating and sleeping patterns. Position a branch about six inches under the light so the chameleon can bask in the glow and synthesize critical vitamin D.

Benefits of Live Plants for Panther Chameleons

Live plants are beneficial to panther chameleon care because they contribute to more humidity in the cage. When using live plants, clean the leaves and change the soil to remove any pesticides. Replant them in a natural potting soil and place smooth stones over the dirt so the feeder insects don’t bury underneath. Some great options for live plants include:

  • Weeping Fig
  • Umbrella Plant
  • Pothos Plant
  • Hibiscus
  • Dracaena

Panther Chameleons Prefer Flowing Water

Panther Chameleons love water and use it for hydration, humidity and cleaning (for their eyes). Unlike some other reptiles, panther chameleons will not drink water from a dish. Instead, they prefer water that moves and flows—they are attracted to the shimmer of moving water. It is imperative to provide them fresh, clean water and adequate humidity throughout the day.

Live plants will help provide moisture inside the enclosure, but you will also want to mist the chameleon two to three times a day. Always allow time for the housing to dry out between misting cycles and don’t let excess water pool at the bottom. You may also invest in an automatic drip or rain system and run it during the day twice a week. This will give the chameleon big, juicy droplets of water to drink and will also keep the plants watered.

You should maintain 60 to 80 percent humidity inside the panther chameleon’s cage. Buying a hydrometer, a device that measures the humidity inside the cage, will help to monitor your pet's environment.

What Do Panther Chameleons Eat?

As insectivores, the panther chameleon diet should consist primarily of insects, and they love variety. Crickets and dubia roaches are excellent as the main staples of chameleon food. A plethora of other insects also make for good panther chameleon food choices:

Panther chameleons love to eat worms, but don't overindulge your pet with too many. Although they are tasty for the chameleon, worms are similar to junk food for them. A little bit now and again is fine, but a better—and healthier—panther chameleon food option is a diet plan that includes plenty of dubia roaches.

Gut Load the Insects Before Feeding Your Chameleon

Before feeding insects to your panther chameleon, you must first gut load them at least 12 hours in advance to provide optimal health benefits for your pet. Gut loading the insects consists of feeding them a nutritious powdered diet. You feed the insects by placing them in a container with the powder, along with a piece of a potato for hydration. You should also dust the insects with a powder containing essential vitamins, minerals and calcium before feeding them to the panther chameleon. To dust the insects, place them in a bag or can with the powder and shake lightly to coat.

Your Chameleon's Feeding Schedule Depends Upon Its Age

Young panther chameleons are super hungry and will seemingly eat everything you put in front of them. At this stage, you should feed them daily. As they get older, however, chameleons won't need to eat as often—every other day is a good feeding schedule.

Practice Portion Control for your Panther Chameleon

In the wild, a panther chameleon never knows when its next meal may be, so these creatures tend to eat anything they can fit into their mouth, and as much of it as possible. As pets, finding food is not a concern anymore, as a chameleon's owner is always ready with a tasty meal. This is why it's important not to overfeed your ambilobe panther chameleon, which can get fat and suffer from diseases caused by overeating. Four or five medium-sized insects per feeding should be sufficient to keep your pet reptile happy and healthy.

Dubia Roaches: Superfood for Your Panther Chameleon

Dubia roaches are among the best options for feeding your panther chameleon. These roaches have a long lifespan (some live up to two years), which makes it easy to buy a bunch of them to keep on-hand for your chameleon's feeding time. They also do not fly, which makes them easier to manage than other feeder insects, and they don't make noise, unlike crickets. But maybe most importantly, dubia roaches are meaty and healthy for your panther chameleon. Buy dubia roaches from TopFlight Dubia today!

Buy Your Chameleon's Food From TopFlight Dubia

TopFlight Dubia offers a wide selection of top-quality dubia roaches for panther chameleons. Our clean feeder insects are available in a variety of sizes and quantities. For live panther chameleon food that will keep your pet healthy and happy, shop TopFlight Dubia today!

Shop Dubia Roaches

Previous Post


What Can My Panther Chameleon Eat?

Your panther chameleon is an insectivore, the choice of insects that your chameleon eats is decided by what their owner decides to offer since they are opportunist hunters in the wild they will decide what to eat by what is presented to them. Many insects should be offered as a staple and some that should be offered as a treat. Staple insects can be offered to your chameleon every feeding, but treat insects should only be offered once per week at most.


How Often To Feed Your Panther Chameleon

Hatchling/babies (0-1 months) chameleons require multiple feedings per day, with suitably sized insects such as extra small dubia roaches, fruit flies, black soldier fly larvae or small hornworms.

Juveniles (1-7 months) need to be fed 4-5 times per week with slightly larger insects more appropriate to their size, panther chameleons grow quickly so you should weigh them often and adjust their feeders accordingly.

Adults (7+ months) need to be fed every other day with larger insects, this can be anything from 30-40 dubia roaches per week spaced apart, less if larger prey items are used, or more if smaller prey items are used.

See below for the best insects that you should offer your panther chameleon: 


Feeder Insects for Your Panther Chameleon

There are many feeder insects available for you to choose from when selecting the best diet for your panther chameleon. We have selected the best ones available and outlined the portion of your chameleon's diet that each can make up.


  • Dubia roaches (Blaptica dubia)

Dubia Roaches are an excellent staple feeder for your panther chameleon, they are inexpensive, easy to keep, don't smell, don't die easily, also when bought from a trusted vendor they have an almost non-existent chance of passing on parasites to your chameleon. They are also very easy to gutload and can constitute 40-45% of your panther chameleon's total diet. (can be substituted for discoid roaches where dubia are not available)


  • Hissing Cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa)

Hissing cockroaches can be used when they are smaller and make a great staple, nutritional and easy to gut-load these can make up 40% of your chameleon's diet.


  • Crickets (Acheta domestica)

Crickets are well rounded when it comes to nutrition are readily available and inexpensive, the drawbacks are that they can die easily and have been known to pass parasites onto reptiles. However they are easy to gutload and they can make up 35-40% of your chameleons total diet.


  • Hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata)

Hornworms are a good staple that is very high in nutrition, with plenty of calcium, protein, and vitamins, they also contain a lot of hydration which is great but overfeeding can cause diarrhea through overhydration. They are relatively easy to gut-load and can constitute up to about 20% of your chameleons total diet.


  • Black soldier fly larvae Aka Nutrigrubs (Hermetica illucens)

BSFL, also known as Nutrigrubs are an excellent staple that is very high in calcium. The only drawback are they can be difficult to gut-load and due to their small size it can be hard for adult chameleons to eat enough of them, but if you can get your cham to eat then great. They can constitute up to around 30% of a panther chameleons total diet.


  • Silkworms (Bombyx mori)

Silkworms are high in calcium and also contain a mild analgesic that can be useful when treating a sick chameleon. They can be difficult to gut-load being sensitive to certain foods but they can make up 35-40% of a chameleon's total diet.


  • Superworms (Zophobas morio)

Superworms are a nutritionally decent addition to your panther chameleon's diet, readily available and inexpensive they are easy to gut-load. However, they do have a slightly high fat content so should only make up about 20% of your panther chameleon's diet.

  • Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)

Similar to superworms but generally lower in nutrition, they do not make a great staple. They are not as high in fat as superworms but they can be difficult for panther chameleons to digest, they are easy to gut-load but should only make up about 10% of your chameleon's diet.


  • Fruit Flies (Drosophila sp.)

Good nutrition wise but just very very tiny, it would be difficult to use as any kind of staple for an adult panther chameleon but they can be used for baby chams and can make up 30-35% of their diet. (If you can get them to eat enough)


  • Butterworms (Chilecomadia moorei)

Butterworms are a nutritional feeder insects, they are high in fat but are great as a treat and can be difficult to gut-load so should only make up about 20% of your panther chameleon's total diet.


  • Waxworms (Galleria mellonela)

Waxworms are similar to butterworms but even higher in fat, these are not commonly used for panther chameleons but can be used occasionally. Difficult to gut-load but can make up about 3-5% of your chameleon's diet.


Gut-loading your feeder insects

Some chameleons may be interested in eating the occasional vegetable; you can offer these to your pet to supplement their diet and keep them healthy. But your chameleon probably isn't interested in eating their vegetables. But you will need to add nutrition to their diet by gut loading your feeder insects with fresh salad items that are safe for reptiles for a few days before feeding them to your chameleon or with commercially prepared foods:

  • Nature Zone Total Bites for Live Feeders


Supplementing Your Feeder Insects

You should also ensure that your feeder insects are appropriately supplemented with calcium, calcium plus D3, and also a multivitamin powder. These should each be lightly dusted on your feeders once per week. These are some great suggestions for supplements to use:

  • Repti-Calcium without vitamin D3
  • Exo-Terra Multivitamin Powder
  • Repti-Calcium plus D3


Hydrating Your Panther Chameleon

  • Water Dish Panther chameleons can drink out of a dish, this may take them time to get used to put placing a dish of water in their enclosure daily may tempt them to drink from the dish.
  • Hand Misting – Using a spray bottle, you can mist your panther chameleon's enclosure. A pressure pump can be useful for this as hand misting all the time can get tiresome.
  • Dripper - You can make a hand made ripped, it can be simple to make, just make a hole in a plastic cup and fill with water then place this on top of the enclosure and let it drip.

animal and vegetable food, vitamins

Not only fluffy cats, friendly dogs and talkative parrots can be pets. Some people keep at home an exotic reptile - a chameleon. This unusual pet requires special conditions of detention, proper care and special nutrition, which has a certain value for the reptile organism.

In the article we will consider the nutritional features of chameleons, what food they can and cannot be given, in what quantity, and the peculiarity of the drinking regimen.

Food of chameleons in the wild

In their natural habitat, chameleons feed on various insects, chicks, small lizards and other mammals.

The main part of the daily diet is insects - spiders, crickets, worms, flies, caterpillars, etc. Smart animals do not eat stinging and poisonous insects. Even if the reptile is very hungry, it will not hunt a potentially dangerous prey.

Tree fruits and green leaves make up a small part of the diet.

Feeding chameleons at home

Exotic lizards living at home require a special diet. Reptiles cannot eat the usual foods that are typical for the human table. Despite the fact that vegetables and fruits still make up a certain part of the menu, the priority food for a chameleon is food of animal origin.

Food of animal origin

Animal products for the chameleon are insects. The most useful food is crickets and locusts.

What other insects can be fed to the chameleon:

  • food cockroaches;
  • grasshoppers;
  • flies;
  • spiders;
  • May beetles;
  • dragonflies;
  • Zophobos, wax moth larvae and mealworms can be given 3-4 times a month (frequent feeding of these insects can cause liver failure).

Large species of chameleons can be fed with small mice. Such a treat should not be given to a pet more than 2 times a month.

Plant foods and vitamin supplements

Pet lizards can be fed plant foods - green leaves, vegetables, some fruits.

What can be given to a chameleon:

  • green lettuce leaves;
  • dandelions;
  • grapes;
  • cherries;
  • bananas;
  • melons and watermelons;
  • tangerines, oranges;
  • kiwifruit;
  • apples.

Special mineral-vitamin supplements are created for pet reptiles, necessary to ensure a complete diet and maintain physical health.

Useful vitamins for chameleons:

  1. Calcium is an extremely important element for the body of reptiles. It strengthens bones and improves dental health. With its deficiency, metabolic bone disease (rickets) develops.
  2. Phosphorus is a useful component that regulates the correct balance of vitamins and minerals in the body. It must be consumed in the correct ratio with calcium.
  3. Vitamin D3 - strengthens the immune system, maintains normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body of the lizard.
  4. Vitamin A - ensures the normal functioning of the visual organs, maintains healthy bones and immunity.

Even the most beneficial vitamins and minerals in excess can cause serious health problems. An excess of phosphorus contributes to the development of heart and kidney failure. High levels of vitamin A lead to nervous system disorders and liver problems. Vitamin D3 in large quantities negatively affects the condition of muscles and nerves.

The best solution is to buy special food with the right ratio of useful microelements.

Methods of feeding

Fruit is served to domestic lizards in small pieces from tweezers or from hands. You can also hang the product on the branches of terrarium plants.

Be as gentle as possible when feeding with tweezers. The lizard can snatch food sharply and damage its teeth. To eliminate this, purchase special tweezers with soft tips for feeding the chameleon.

Feed and vitamin and mineral supplements can be placed in the feeder in the terrarium. It is better to choose dishes made of plastic or glass. To prevent live insects from getting out of the feeder, grease the sides of the dishes with oil.

How often to feed the chameleon

Young lizards are fed daily, 2 times a day. Adult chameleons eat once every two days. It is advisable to feed the pet according to the regimen, serve food at the same time.

Features of the drinking regime

In their natural habitat, chameleons get water from raindrops or dew on plants. To provide a domestic lizard with drinking water, it is recommended to spray water on the plants in the terrarium from a spray bottle. You need to do this up to 4 times a day, but you should control the level of humidity in the terrarium. The optimal indicator is 60-90%. To exclude the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria, it is necessary to ensure good ventilation of the terrarium.

Some owners purchase mini-waterfalls or fountains for their pets, which provide water for the pet lizard and create a beautiful view in the terrarium.

In our store you can buy online everything you need to keep and feed your pet chameleon. The catalog contains high quality products from trusted manufacturers. Vitamin and mineral supplements necessary for the health of chameleons are also available.

How to feed a chameleon? Feeding process

Absolutely all chameleons are predators. Under natural conditions, their diet consists of various living creatures, which they can catch with their weapon - the tongue. Small chameleons are content with insects, large ones also diversify their diet with rodents, lizards and even small birds. It is clear that these exotics will not be able to eat food from the master's table. Therefore, you will have to take care that the diet of your little dinosaur is close to natural.

Animal food in the diet of a chameleon

The optimal food for chameleons in terms of nutritional value is crickets (Banana, Brownie, Two-spotted). They are bought at pet stores or grown on their own. Depending on your pet's appetite, 3 to 10 insects may be needed per day.

Equally useful for chameleons and locusts. An adult chameleon usually needs one insect per day.

Another delicacy for reptiles is feed cockroaches (Marble, Turkmen, American, Argentinean). But they are inferior in nutritional value to crickets and locusts.

Meal worms, wax moth larvae, and Zophobos are offered to reptiles in small quantities. Although these insects are usually very fond of chameleons, frequent feeding of them can lead to liver failure of the animal. This food is very fatty, they should not pamper the ward more often than 3-4 times a month.

In addition to the above, flies, spiders, grasshoppers, cockchafers, dragonflies, stick insects, etc. can be included in the chameleon's diet from time to time.

Don't feed your chameleon only crickets or locusts, for example. It is necessary to provide the pet with a diet of at least 2-3 types of insects.

Under natural conditions, chameleons eat insects, the nutritional value of which is significantly higher than the food that we buy in pet stores or breed ourselves. Therefore, do not forget to enrich the livestock offered to the pet with vitamins and mineral supplements.

Never offer reptile bees or wasps. Most likely, the animal will simply ignore such "food". The fact is that chameleons from birth can distinguish poisonous insects from those suitable for food. But if the reptile nevertheless dares to try such a treat, it will almost certainly be stung on the tongue, which will end in failure.

Adult chameleons of large species (Parsoni, Yemeni, Panther) will not refuse newborn mice. But keep in mind that such a delicacy in large quantities harms the animal's digestive system and liver - you can give it no more than twice a month.

Do chameleons eat plant food?

Many species of chameleons, in addition to animal food, do not refuse vegetable food. In the wild, it can be berries, fruits, tender leaves of plants.

Each chameleon may have a preference for plant foods. At home, try offering your pet tangerines, oranges, cherries, grapes, apples, watermelons, melons, bananas, dandelions, lettuce, etc. Despite the fastidiousness of chameleons, something will please your pet.

For some species, such as the Yemeni chameleon common in terrarium collections, plant foods are a must in the diet.

Plant food is offered with tweezers or by hand. Fruit should be cut into small pieces. You can fix fruit slices and berries on the branches of terrarium plants.

Now let's talk more about the process of feeding the chameleon.

An adult reptile takes food once every 2 days, young individuals - 2 times a day. It is better to feed the chameleon at the same time.

Spray the walls of the terrarium and the chameleon itself with clean, warm water from a spray bottle. Usually these animals do not drink from drinkers. In nature, the reptile licks moisture droplets from the leaves of plants. At home, the chameleon gets the moisture it needs by licking off droplets that, after spraying, will remain on the walls of the terrarium and terrarium plants. A chameleon should drink at least twice a day - animals are prone to dehydration.

Chameleon feeding process

There are several options for feeding a chameleon. The easiest is to launch crickets or other insects into the terrarium. But this method has its drawbacks. Insects can simply leave the terrarium and scatter throughout the house. If crickets hide in all sorts of cracks inside the terrarium and then die, there will be an unpleasant smell. And sorting through the entire dwelling of a chameleon in search of insects is quite troublesome. Therefore, it is better and more practical to use a feeder.

So, to feed the chameleon, you will need: tweezers, a container (a plastic jar or a glass), a jar of vitamins, any large container, live crickets. For one feeding, an adult chameleon, not suffering from a lack of appetite, can eat up to ten crickets. Therefore, it is better to buy a batch of insects for your pet right away and keep them in a large plastic container with holes for air access.

Take a large, clean jar and place 3 to 10 crickets in it (depending on your child's appetite). Pour Reptocal or Reptolife powdered vitamins there, designed specifically for reptiles. Shake the jar so that vitamin dust settles on the wings and legs of insects. Next, take a fairly tall plastic jar or cup (you need to pick up the container so that the chameleon reaches the very bottom with its tongue), place the cricket there and offer the pet. The feeder can be attached under the reptile's favorite branch in such a way that the chameleon can see the prey well and can get it without any problems.

Chameleons can be easily trained to take food from their hands or tweezers. In general, hand feeding is a quick way to gain a pet's trust. Care must be taken when feeding with tweezers. Hold the cricket with tweezers so that the reptile can easily remove the insect without snagging the tweezers. It happens that the animal, along with the food, swallows the tip of the tweezers and breaks its teeth. If the lizard has stuck to the tweezers, do not make sudden movements, the tongue should come off by itself. The use of metal tweezers is not recommended. It is better to purchase special tweezers with soft pads on the tips at the pet store.

Learn more