Panther chameleon

Panther chameleon

Furcifer pardalis

Common name:

Panther chameleon

Scientific name:

Furcifer pardalis

Alternative common names:


The panther chameleon is one of the most sought after species of chameleon in the international pet trade due to its beautiful colouration and success of breeding in captivity. There are no known adverse effects ofpanther chameleonon humans.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?

Eastern and northern parts of Madagascar.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 2.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

How does it spread?

It is spread via the pet trade.

Why is it a problem?

It requires a large enclosure and feeds primarily on crickets, but also on wax worms, mealworms and cockroaches.

What does it look like?

Description: Female panther chameleons are mostly dull, uniform grey, brown or faint green, except during breeding, when receptive females become pale or vivid orange to pink, later changing to black, with bright orange or pink vertical bars when gravid. Colouration and patterning varies significantly depending on the origin of location. They have specialised feet: on each foot the five toes are fused into a group of two digits and a group of three digits. On the front feet the bundle of three toes is on the inside of the foot and the bundle of two toes is on the outside. This is reversed on the rear foot, giving them a secure and strong grasp and allowing them to manoeuvre horizontally or vertically on a wide variety of vegetation or structures.

Habitat: They mainly inhabit lowland, dry, deciduous forests close to thin belts of trees bordering rivers and roads.

Breeding: In most locations, breeding occurs between January and May, but this may vary geographically. In some areas, females breed multiple times per year. After mating, the gestation period lasts 3-6 weeks. The females excavate burrows by digging with their front feet and then backing into them to deposit 10-46 eggs. When they are finished, they bury the eggs, fill in the tunnel and stomp down the soil to conceal the location of the nest. This is the final act of motherhood for a chameleon, and her young will be independent at birth.

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