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Two Panthers Growing Up - Photo Progression

People often worry that their panther chameleon males are not coloring up or growing as quickly as other panthers they may see online or in stores. Breeder websites may advertise the "picks of the litter," 2-3 month old panther males who have a lot more color than their brothers at the same age, and this may trick new panther owners into thinking that all young panthers should show lots of color by a certain age. And people on forums may post photos of their 4 month old chameleons weighing in at 80 grams, while theirs is still only at 25 grams at the same age, and worry owners into thinking that their animal is a runt or not growing as well. And this is just not true; like any animal, individual chameleons will grow at their own pace, but if provided with proper husbandry, will eventually arrive at more or less the same place.

Typically a panther male will get a significant change in color by the age of 6 months, but may or may not show color before this. All panthers are born a tan-brown color, and develop their colors as they age. Each individual will also grow at his own pace, with some getting very large very young, and others growing more steadily throughout their first year.

As examples, I present below the photo progression of two very different panther males from the age of 3 months to 12 months. Daedalus (on the left) is a Nosy Faly x Ambanja cross and Cerberus (on the right) is a blue-bar Ambilobe.

Daedalus (left) and Cerberus (right) at 3 MONTHS OLD. Daedalus was twice as big and already had blues and oranges here and there. Cerberus looked very much like a baby still, only tans and browns. 
By 4 MONTHS OLD Daedalus was already bigger and his blue-teal color had completely taken over. Cerberus was still very small and still very tan in color. At this point he could have been confused as a female. 
At 5 MONTHS OLD, Daedalus had grown more still and Cerberus hadn't grown much at all. He was still mostly tan with a few hints of green here and there. 
Finally, by the age of 6 MONTHS OLD Cerberus was finally catching up color-wise. His greens had become way more prominent, as well as reds and yellows. He was still small for his age. Daedalus on the other hand was still growing nicely. 
At 8 MONTHS OLD both males are looking really well. Cerberus is growing more an more and each shed brings more beautiful, saturated colors. They say warm colors (reds and yellows) take longer to become apparent in most chameleons. Daedalus still growing normally. 
By the age of 9 MONTHS OLD both boys look very different from how they looked just a short while ago. Daedalus lost most of his reds and yellows for a short time and looked solid greenish-blue. While Cerberus was showing a substantial amount of red and yellow by now. 
Daedalus got his reds and yellows back just a month later at 10 MONTHS OLD and Cerberus was starting to fire up nearly solid yellow and red. He was also now as big as any typical panther male. 
At 11 MONTHS OLD both boys look big, healthy, and very colorful. Cerberus was even bigger now than Daedalus, and weighed a good bit more than his blue counterpart. 
And finally, by 12 MONTHS OLD both have come a very long way from where they were as babies. Both are large, healthy, and very bright. By now their colors have reached a good approximation of where they will remain most of their lives. They may continue to undergo changes beyond now, but by 12 months we have a very good idea of what they will look like the rest of their adult lives. 
Hopefully these two panthers show that two males, purchased at about the same age, raised in very similar conditions, and cared for in very similar ways (Daedalus got the benefit of a better camera though!) can still develop at very different rates. Even Cerberus, who took much longer to color up and to grow still turned out to be a large and healthy male, with very beautiful colors. He is now a breeding male for a great breeder in Las Vegas, who takes him to reptile shows to show off how beautiful he is. Imagine that, having started as the dinky little tan baby he was.

So, do not be alarmed, or discouraged, or worried, or anything of the sort if your panther male isn't developing at the pace you think he should be. As long as your husbandry is in order and they are healthy (checking with an experienced vet, a professional, or a reptile forum is a good thing to do if you have doubts or worries about this) there should be no reason to worry. They may catch up in their own time.


34 comments:

  1. wow! nosy faly x ambanja?! so amazing

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  2. Now it all makes sense to me. Thanks a lot for great post!!!
    I still have some question to ask though. Mind PM me at m4r1o8588@gmail.com?

    Thanks!

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  3. Thank you for putting my mind at ease. I have a six month nosy be from a reputable dealer who looks very much like Cerberus at 5 months, though a little bigger and fatter. He still is very tan with some bluish green poking out at times. I was very worried that I had received a girl or I was doing something wrong.

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  4. I have a 2.5 month old baby Panther and I was hoping I could send you a photo. I'm thinking it's a female but wasn't sure.

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    1. Yes, absolutely. Feel free to email me photos. My email is Olimpia515@gmail.com

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  5. Saba - candari.s@gmailSeptember 30, 2015 at 4:00 PM

    Hi Olimpia! so it looks like mine is growing more like Cerberus. I wasnt sure what to think about his size....also, still assuming its a male....I should be able to tell for sure in a month or so right?

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    1. Saba - candari.s@gmailSeptember 30, 2015 at 4:05 PM

      Also the place I got him from (reptile finders in lomita) says he is definitely a male and that he is close to 6 months old....but he looks so tiny and still no colors (based on the pictures I sent you) is that normal?

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    2. I'm not sure about his age either, I don't think he's quite 6 months old yet. But yes, if he is definitely male then we should know for certain in a few more weeks.

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  6. Hi how old are female panther chameleon go into there first heat and when do they stop growing

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    1. Hi Michelle,

      Generally by 5-6 months panther females will start ovulating. And they will stop growing more or less by about 1 year of age, 1 to 1.5.

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  7. Hey Olympia,
    can you help me out please?

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    1. Hi Thomas,

      Sure, what do you need help with?

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    2. Hey I was wondering should I order a albilobe from lllreptiles I really want a panther but I'm a little worried about them shipping him I really hope it's a him

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    3. I don’t know LLLReptile’s reputation for live animals, I would order from a reputable breeder instead. Some of the names I really trust for panthers are chameleoncompany.com, canvaschameleons.com, chameleonsonly.com, dros-tiedyedchameleons.com, and others like that. All the sponsors on the Chameleonforums.com are good people, trustworthy, and I would trust them to know the difference between a male and a female panther.

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  8. so im officially getting a panther chameleon and I'm so excited I know about his d3 calcium with and without his multivit his cage his plant but I don't know what mister I should get could you please help me and should I get a drip system to

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    1. Congratulations! That's great! I love this species. I think that if you have a misting system that will be enough, and my favorite brand is the Mistking (the starter system is enough), which is about $120 brand new, but if you want to find a deal check out reptile classifieds for used systems, like on Faunaclassifieds.com or even Chameleonforums.com.

      The Habbamist is cheaper but from what I hear it has a terrible reputation. Breaks down all the time. I have heard good things about the Climist but I am not familiar with the brand and have not used them at all, so I can't say how it compares. But I like the Mistking, for sure.

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  9. So should I get a compact uvb buld or a linear tube uvb bulb

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    1. Linear, for sure. The compact UVB bulbs don't have the same spectrum of light and just don't seem to work as well to grow big, healthy chameleons. The best is if you can get a T-5 HO (high output) fixture and a T-5 Reptisun 10.0, for example. The T-5 bulbs are the newest generation and are stronger. Always provide areas of shade in the cage by using plants (real or fake) but young chameleons do better with a nice, strong light from the beginning.

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  10. Well the cage I'm getting is 24x24x48 would a t5 light and a t5 10 be to much or just right

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  11. Hey so I have a family member who owns a pet store but he said he couldn't get it from the chameleon company that I would have to myself because he only gets them from cal zoo have you ever got anything from them I am just wondering if I should stick with Cham company instead or take the chance

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    1. Hey,

      I don’t know anything about this Cal Zoo, I don’t know who they are or what the quality of their animals is. If your family member trusts them and has had good service in the past then the decision is up to you. It might depend on whether they are a supplier (a middle man between breeders and pet stores) or if they are a breeder of chameleons themselves.

      I do know that the Chameleon Company has been very good with me in the past, I have purchased two male panthers from Jim and have always been happy. He’s been doing this 20 years or something ridiculous like that, based out of Tampa.

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  12. I think I will do Cham company but I will have to ask him how much more it will cost me for him

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    1. Look into both, the other one might be reputable as well I just don't know lol. An excellent place to ask/look someone up is Faunaclassifieds.com. You can find good and bad reviews, so it's a really great place to do a little background search on someone.

      If his prices are still the same I believe Jim at Cham Co. charged me $150 per male (for a Nosy Be and an Ambanja) and then a little for shipping (but I'm in Florida, so it may have been $15 to ship to me from Tampa.)

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  13. Hey olimpia I hope everything is okay with you and your family I heard what's happening out in Florida and I hope you and your loved ones are safe and out of trouble and or ready for it all and secure and not in any harm hope your safe and best luck and good wishes your way

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    1. Thank you Gabriel! We were lucky in Miami, we got very little rain or wind so there was no damage. It may turn around and hit us again but should be much weaker by then, so I don't expect it to be bad the second time either. Thank you for the thoughts!

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  14. Okay good 👍 Well I'm getting my new baby panther and setup on tuesday I'm so excited I can't see straight tbh

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  15. Where should I get my Dubai roaches from

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  16. Replies
    1. I don't know because in Florida it's illegal for us to have them, so I've never ordered from anyone! But I do see adds from places like Dubideli.com and other websites that breed dubia roaches in bulk. Check out pages like Faunaclassifieds.com as well, sometimes I've seen people sell off entire colonies for very reasonable prices.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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