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The Panther Chameleon is endemic to Madagascar where it is widespread in the coastal lowland areas of the island. They inhabits the low-elevation warm humid zone from northwest Madagascar to the northern tip of the island and south ward down the east coast Their range also encompasses nearby islands of Nosy Be, Nosy Faly, Nosy Valiha, Nosy Boraha and the islands of Mauritius and Reunion.
The Panther Chameleon lives exclusively in coastal lowlands. These areas are warm and humid, with average temperatures from 22C to 28C throughout the year. Temperatures in the summer can reach 40C. The relative humidity is between 70% and 100%. The yearly climatic cycles is sustained by the long rainy season, from November to March, and by the dry season during the rest of the year. The coastal air is still very humid even during the dry season. The yearly precipitation is about 2,000mm.
These animals have no preference for their habitats, They can be found anywhere, on shrubs, trees, palm trees, electrical wiring, cultivated plants, sandy beaches, etc. The only limiting factors seem to be food abundance, sufficient warmth and light.
Panther chameleons have a wide variation in both colors and patterns. These variations called “locales” are based on their geographical origin from the island of Madagascar. Locales are typically named after a town or reign in that area. The main and most popular locales are Ambilobe, Ambanja, and Nosy Be along with some other common locals like Ankaramy, Nosy Faly, Sambava, Tamatava, Nosy Mitsio, Nosy Boraha, Cap Esh, and Masoala. There are many other locales that are not typically seen in the hobby or do not have a defined look that is easily identified.
It is a common misconception that chameleons can change color to match any color of their environment or background. All chameleons have a natural color range with which they are born, and is dictated by their species and their geographical origin. In reality, their colors are altered by temperature, mood, and light.
Panther Chameleon Locales
Original Description – G. Cuvier
Variety of C. pumilis – J. E. Gray
Bradypodion pardalis – L. Fitzinger
Cyneosaura pardalis – J. E. Gray
Chamaeleo pardalis – E. R. Brygoo
Furcifer pardalis – C. W. Klaver and W. Bohme
Fucrifer pardalis – included in the subfamily Chamaeleoninea, Family Chamaeleonidae – D. R. Frost and R. Etheridge