Spending time with your pet is great, but most common pets do not live long. A panther chameleon is among the most popular species of chameleon that people keep in their homes as a pet. If you have chosen a panther chameleon as your pet, you might be wondering how long it could live.
So, how long does a chameleon live? In captivity, a chameleon can live anywhere between four years to seven years while in the wild, the life expectancy is short because of numerous factors such as predators. In captivity, a panther chameleon will get proper health care, good nutrition, and safety, among others, giving it a longer life.
The lifespan of a chameleon kept as a pet, depends on how well you take care of your chameleon. Pets provide their owners with valuable companionship, and it can be heartbreaking when you lose your pet. When choosing a pet, you have to consider how long it will live and what you can do to extend its lifespan. Keep reading to know more about a chameleon’s lifespan in captivity, how to increase their lifespan, and why chameleons have a short lifespan.
Chameleons are gentle pets that many people prefer to keep in their homes. Chameleons, just like other pet chameleons, require special care for them to survive in captivity. This is because several factors could influence how long they could live.
Chameleons have a longer life expectancy when they live in captivity. They can live between four years to seven years, depending on how well you take care of them. One of the reasons why chameleons live longer in captivity is proper care. In the wild, there are no veterinarians. If a chameleon becomes sick or gets injured, its fate becomes unknown.
It could survive, or it could die from the illness. In captivity, panther chameleons have the luxury of visiting a veterinarian every time they are sick or injured, increasing their survival chances.
Another reason why chameleons live long in captivity is good nutrition. As a concerned owner, you will provide your chameleon with various types of insects each day, different fruits and vegetables each week.
Your chameleon will also have clean drinking water. Good nutrition helps your chameleon develop strong immunity against infections. In the wild, a chameleon has to hunt for its food, and it can also go for a long time without drinking water. Poor diet in the wild leaves the chameleon with weak immunity and could easily succumb to an infection.
In captivity, chameleons do not have competition. Since you keep one chameleon in a cage, it has plenty of insects, fruits, and vegetables to eat. There is no competition from other chameleons. For example, panther chameleons are less territorial than other chameleons species, but it does not mean they will entertain other chameleons stepping into their territory.
Constant fighting for terror can be stressful, and the weak chameleons might lack food and water because the strongest ones will not allow them to hunt in their territories.
Chameleons are small and have animals that prey on them, such as snakes and hawks. In your home, the chameleon is safe from all its predators. If you can keep an eye on your chameleon every time you take it out of the cage, it will live long.
In the wild, chameleons have mechanisms to avoid predators, but they hardly work for more than three years. A chameleon can change color to hide from hawks, but it is defenseless against a snake since they use the scent of their prey to locate them.
Research also shows that the male chameleons live longer than females. Reproduction takes a toll on the body of a female chameleon. Female chameleons still lay eggs even without mating with a male. Therefore, the stress of reproduction could still affect their lifespan even in captivity. If you want a chameleon that will be your pet for a long time, you should choose a male chameleon.
How To Increase Your Chameleon’s Lifespan?
If you want your chameleon to have a longer lifespan, you have to take good care of them. There are several things that you can do to help your chameleon live longer.
To increases the chances of a longer lifespan for your chameleon, you should build or buy a big enough cage for your chameleon because the size of the cage can affect their lifespan. In the wild, chameleons have the freedom to go anywhere, making them less stressed. Make sure that your chameleon has enough space that they do not feel locked in one small space in captivity. You can add branches and twigs in the cage for the chameleons to climb on and sleep during the night.
Install UVB light in their tanks to provide your chameleons with the much-needed UVB rays. UVB rays help in digesting food and also prevents diseases such as metabolic bone disease. Without the UVB rays, chameleons cannot process calcium, an important mineral that ensures growth.
Do not confuse UVB light with basking lights, since they do not perform the same function. Basking lights are important in regulating the chameleon’s temperature and will not help the chameleon absorb calcium.
Therefore, you should provide your chameleon with a stress-free environment since this will increase their lifespan. Do not keep more than two chameleons in one cage.
Also, constant tussles for territory control are stressful. Avoid petting and handling them every time. Only hold them when necessary or when they allow you to, constant petting is stressful, and it could lead to illness or death.
You should also give your chameleon good quality food. Good nutrition gives your chameleon a strong immunity system capable of fighting infections. You should consult your veterinarian on the type of food you should feed your chameleon. You can buy crickets from a reputable pet store; chances are that their food is clean and free from parasites that could harm your chameleon.
You should also avoid overfeeding your chameleon with insects or any other foods. For instance, insects are rich in proteins and fats, which could cause your chameleon to gain too much weight and have health complications like fatty liver disease.
Why Do Chameleons Live So Short?
Reptiles are known for living long lives, with some like the tortoises living for more than one hundred years. On the other hand, chameleons are the opposite, and their lifespans are among the shortest among the reptiles. Several factors affect the lifespan of a chameleon.
One of the factors that make the lifespan of chameleons so short is reproduction. In females, the formation of eggs takes a lot of calcium, water, and other minerals. The female chameleon uses minerals essential to keeping her body strong enough to make eggs; she stops growing and becomes weak during the reproduction process.
The female chameleon also has to find a safe place on the ground to dig and lay her eggs. Reproduction can happen numerous times per year. Therefore, by the third or fourth year, a female chameleon will be weak and stressed, reducing its lifespan significantly.
Another factor that causes a short lifespan is high levels of stress. Chameleons do not like stress since it has a great impact on the lifespan of a chameleon. Chameleons both in captivity and in the wild can get stressed, especially because of territory.
If you keep two or more chameleons in one cage, aggression, bullying, and fighting will cause stress. The stress can affect their feeding habits, and without proper nutrition, their immune system will be weak, leaving them vulnerable to illness.
Reptiles are also known for their ability to go for a long time without food or water. A chameleon can go for up to two weeks without drinking water. Your chameleon might seem fine, but it is getting dehydrated, and each day that passes without water is a step close to death.
Most chameleons will die from severe dehydration in the wild when they cannot find water to drink. Even in captivity, chameleons can die because of dehydration if you do not provide them with water regularly.
How the chameleon was bred also affects its life expectancy. Captive-bred chameleons have a longer life span compared to wild-caught chameleons. Captive-bred chameleons are used to live in cages and have an easy time adapting to life as a pet.
Wild-caught chameleons have a hard time adjusting to a pet’s life, and the sudden change in the environment is usually stressful. A stressed chameleon will not eat or drink water regularly, leading to a weakened immune system, and they could easily die if they get sick.
Chameleons are beautiful pets, and if you decide to keep one in your home, your level of care will determine how long it will live. If you take good care of it, you could spend up to seven years enjoying its presence. Things you have to watch while taking care of them include diet, stress levels, and physical health.
The gender of a chameleon will determine how long it will live. Therefore, if you are interested in breeding chameleons that will live longer, then you should choose the male chameleon.