New panther chameleon at Newquay Zoo!

We’ve recently welcomed a new male panther chameleon to our Tropical House! Arriving at Newquay Zoo on 16th July, the chameleon has been off-show whilst he settles in, however you can now see him on display alongside our female panther chameleons just inside the entrance of the Tropical House.

So, with this latest addition we thought we would provide you with some interesting facts about this striking species.

Where do they live?

Endemic to Madagascar, the panther chameleon is found in coastal regions and islands off central-eastern, north-eastern, northern and north-western Madagascar.

What is their diet?

Panther chameleons are insectivores, which means that their diet consists primarily of insects, including locusts, crickets, grasshoppers, meal worms and roaches.

Appearance

Panther chameleon’s coloration and patterning vary according to their location of origin. For example, in the Madagascan island of Nosy Be they are emerald green, turquoise or blue-green, and in the north of Madagascar they are bright pink with yellow stripes.

Regardless of their locales, female chameleons generally obtain a dull colouration in comparison to males, who will display more vibrant colours.

It is commonly believed that chameleons change their colour to match their surroundings and therefore camouflage themselves. However, they actually change colour due to their emotional state and temperature.

Fun facts
  • They have unusual feet which look like tongs and help them to grip on to branches
  • Their tail is also prehensile, which acts as a “fifth hand”, allowing the chameleon to hang quite safely by it alone
  • Their tongue can stretch 1.5 to 2 times the length of their body, it also has a mucous tip at the end which helps to capture its prey
  • Chameleons do not have ears, but to make up for this, they have eyes that can rotate and focus separately to observe two different objects at the same time, giving them 360 degree vision whilst staying stationary
  • Females who are carrying eggs will signal their unwillingness to mate by turning a dark colour, commonly with orange stripes.

Make sure you keep an eye out for our latest addition when you next visit!