Furnishing A Panther Chameleon Enclosure With Plants And Vines

male furcifer pardalis panther chameleon sheddingIt is incredibly important to furnish a Panther Chameleon enclosure with suitable plants (both live and artificial), vines, and branches. Doing so provides the structure required by Panther Chameleons for navigating the enclosure. In addition, the presence of plant foliage gives chameleons a sense of security by providing them with cover and places to hide.

Sturdy climbing structures (e.g. branches and vines) in a range of diameters of suitable size for the individual Panther Chameleon to grip should be provided. Artificial vines are widely available in a range of diameters from reptile dealers and pet stores. Branches and vines should be smooth in texture and should be sited so that the Panther Chameleon being housed can access all areas of the enclosure. Horizontal and vertical structures should be provided throughout the enclosure, enabling the Panther Chameleon being housed to navigate all parts of the temperature, light, and humidity gradients within the enclosure. Establishing gradients and providing structures for the chameleon to navigate them allows the chameleon to position itself according to its current needs. It is especially important to provide plenty of structure beneath sources of heat and light, allowing the animal to bask.

In addition to furnishing a Panther Chameleon enclosure with climbing structures, it is also important to add artificial and/or living plants. Plant foliage within a Panther Chameleon enclosure provides cover and places to hide, giving the chameleon housed in the enclosure a sense of security. Artifical plants work well and are very popular among chameleon keepers. Artificial versions of a wide range of tropical plant species are available to purchase from reptile dealers and pet stores. Living plants can also be used, and have the added advantage of helping maintain humidity levels within the enclosure. Live plants are also more aesthetically appealing. When furnishing a Panther Chameleon enclosure with live plants it is incredibly important to only use plant species that are non-toxic to chameleons. Prior to placing a living plant in a Panther Chameleon enclosure the plant should be thoroughly washed in soapy water in order to remove any harmful pesticides. Live plant species that are successfully used to furnish Panther Chameleon enclosures include:

  • Ficus benjamina
  • Ficus elastica (Rubber plant)
  • Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf umbrella, Hawaiian umbrella)
  • Schefflera actinophylla (Umbrella plant)
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
  • Epipremnum aureum (Pothos)
  • Dracaena deremensis (Corn Plant)
  • Codiaeum variegatum (Croton)

Live plants can be kept in pots within the enclosure, although covering the soil with stones too large for the chameleon to ingest is recmmended. This will prevent the Panther Chameleon from accidentally eating any substrate when hunting insects in the enclosure. Ingesting soil or other substrate is a problem because it can cause chameleons to sustain serious intestinal impaction injuries. Leaving plants in pots has the advantage that they can easily be removed from the enclosure for cleaning.