panther chameleon

Furcifer pardalis

Common name

panther chameleon


Lowlands of deciduous forests near water or roads. Open habitats not very shaded.








3-6 weeks.

Number of offspring

10-46 eggs



Terrestrial invertebrates, rarely plant matter.


Captivity 5-6 years, freedom 1-3 years.

Biology and behavior

Adult males are differentiated by their larger size, the thickened tail at the base due to the presence of hemipenes, and by having a wide range of coloration and patterns. Females are pale green or uniform pink, smaller and with a thinner tail at the base. They can reach 23 cm in length.

They lack a vomero-nasal organ (an auxiliary olfactory organ that many animals have), and lacking an external and middle ear it is believed that they are deaf. They have specialized fingers in which the 5 fingers are fused into a group of 2 and another of 3 digits.

During the mating season the males display all their colors and complement them with head movements as they approach the female. Females that are not receptive or incubating deter males by snorting, opening their mouths, and shaking.

Mating usually occurs from January to May. After copulation, gestation lasts 3 to 6 weeks. The female digs a burrow and lays 10 to 46 eggs inside. She then buries them and tries to disguise the place. Some females even cover it with twigs and leaves. This is where mother's care goes. Young people are born independent when they are born.

Their social behavior is unknown but like most chameleons they are solitary and territorial, with males having a larger territory than females. They communicate, in addition to coloring, physical postures and certain movements. Females also communicate their state of receptivity by coloration.

They are opportunistic hunters, as they wait for prey to pass in front of them to catch them with their specialized tongue.

Their predators are birds and snakes. The ability to camouflage with their skin is their best defense, aided by slow movements and even remaining motionless for long periods of time.


The most fascinating feature of these chameleons is their extraordinary vibrant coloration.

The colorations can change depending on the place of origin. They have colors from greenish blues, emeralds or turquoise to bright pinks with yellow bands. This coloration intensifies during the breeding season, as males use it to attract females or in fights with other males. Losers usually take on a dark color.

The only human threat is their capture for illegal sale in the pet trade. It is included in Appendix II of cites.

They have a specialized tongue and its shape and the speed at which it launches creates the suction necessary to catch its prey.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island