|A receptive panther female, wearing a bright peach color.|
However, in summary, either a male or female will make a beautiful, interesting, and fulfilling pet for anyone dedicated enough to keep these reptiles. Whichever you get depends on which gender meets your preferences better.
To learn how to sex panther chameleons, read
|An Ambilobe panther chameleon at 5 months old.|
|The SAME Ambilobe just 6 months later. Big difference!|
However, females are not drab and ugly (at least not to everyone.) Females are not as flashy as males, this is true, but they can show very pretty pastel shades of pink or peach with varying degrees of rusty orange, purple, blue, or green. When receptive to mating they will get a solid, very vibrant pink-peach color, and when they are gravid with a clutch they will get an intense orange with black bars. So they are not ugly, but they simply show a different palette of colors. I almost think of them like mood stones, that change dramatically depending on where they are in their reproductive cycle, which is fun as a pet owner. I will have photos throughout this blog showing panthers of different types, so the differences in color between males and females will become very apparent.
|Female panther chameleon, in |
receptive peach colors.
This is another big factor that people consider when looking to get a pet. There are rumors that say that female chameleons are more docile, and therefore make more friendly pets. This may be true to an extent, but it is not a rule. Since females do not have to defend a territory and fight off males, they may not be as defensive and loaded with angry testosterone like males are. But since personality is unique to every individual, you can still get very aggressive females. I've been lucky that mine is very sweet, just like my current male, but I have friends that have very angry females that they cannot hold without being bitten. So I cannot guess what the personality of any given chameleon will be like.
I have a separate blog in which I outlined how I deal with my chameleons in hopes of making them friendly. This may not work for all chameleons, but it cannot hurt if done with patience:
|A gravid female panther. Notice bight orange |
and black coloration.
Only females lay eggs and this is the trickiest part of owning a female. Females are capable of laying eggs periodically without the presence of a male, and will lay these infertile clutches from as young as 6 months old and will continue to do so throughout their lives every few months. Because things can go wrong, this usually makes new keepers nervous. However, by providing a female with a suitable place to lay eggs many of these issues will be automatically avoided. Most people that lose their females to issues like egg-binding (a condition where the eggs fuse together and can no longer pass through the female) because they did not provide an adequate container of moist sand or soil to lay in, so the female just held in the eggs until they were too big to pass. Additionally, by keeping females slightly cooler (80-82°F) than males and by keeping them on a strict diet their metabolisms will slow to where they can either not lay clutches at all or lay significantly fewer eggs in each clutch. Both of which will help females live longer lives.
|A 1.5 year old male Nosy Be panther chameleon|
Because of the toll egg-laying takes on a female, females tend to live about half as long as males. This is an average of 2-3 years, where male panthers can live an average of 4-5, with some known to make it to 8. If husbandry is adjusted to help females lay fewer eggs throughout their lives females have also been known to live between 5-7 years. So unless you want to use them only for breeding, adhering to these techniques can add quite a bit of time to their lives.
*Note: Here is an additional blog that goes into the specific care of females that can help them not lay clutches or lay fewer eggs per clutch. This includes adhering to a strict diet and lowering her basking temperature to slow down her metabolism and reproductive cycle: On The Specific Care of Females
Below are additional photos of a single panther female showing the wide variety of colors and patterns she shows depending on her mood, followed by a few more male panthers.
|Here she is in a very teal mood, neither receptive nor gravid. The teal is much more vibrant in person.|
|Here she is in a different, non-receptive mood. For a week she had hundreds of purple dots all over, with a pink base.|