Q: What is the minimum size cage for a female panther chameleon?
A: The Bigger the Better
The simple answer to this question is truly the old saying “bigger is better”. The person asking the question is usually sincere and wanting to give their chameleon a good home, but not waste money. It boils down to the smaller the cage, the more difficult it is to create all the microclimates and gradients that our chameleon needs. Our margin for error, or not getting it perfectly right, goes way down. With a larger cage we have more options. We have a bigger space to work with (in relation to the size of our chameleon). The larger the space our gradients are spread over the more options our chameleon has to find a spot that has the conditions she needs. You have more opportunity to do it right.
In the case of a female panther, so often I will hear the minimum is the 18”x18”x36” high cage. While it is true that chameleons have been kept alive, long term, in this cage size. And it is true that a properly set-up cage of this size could effectively house a female panther chameleon I would like to encourage you to use the biggest cage you can no matter what size the chameleon. And if the space you have is bigger than what cages are commercially available and you have the time and skills I would encourage building your own cage to those dimensions. (Yes, the guy selling cages is encouraging you to build your own if it gets your chameleon a bigger space to live!)
Way too often the females of the chameleons are just seen as part of a breeding program. They don’t usually have the colors or the horns. But take a look into the gentle eye of a female Jackson’s Chameleon or the incredible orange/pink of a female panther chameleon. They are incredible creatures on their own right and it is a great joy setting up a large cage where they can travel through different zones in the enclosure.