CZAAWE Resource Article

Indoor husbandry of the panther chameleon Chamaeleo [Furcifer] pardalis: Effects of dietary vitamins A and D and ultraviolet irradiation on pathology and life-history traits
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1996)15:3<279::AID-ZOO7>3.3.CO;2-T To assess the importance of diet and light for indoor maintenance, hatchling panther chameleons were reared for 1 year on crickets fed diets that differed in vitamin concentrations and in different light environments. Dietary transfer of vitamins from the cricket diet to the lizards via the crickets was quantified, as was UV irradiance. There was a statistically significant dietary enhancement of growth by both vitamins on males. UV-A irradiation significantly suppressed growth of females. Low vitamin A shortened life span and resulted in a number of gross and histological pathologies. Hepatocellular lipidosis, indicating a possible toxicosis, occurred with all diets and light treatments. Higher vitamin A resulted in mild soft-tissue mineralization, and high vitamin D shortened the life span of females. Low vitamin A drastically reduced reproduction in both sexes. The intermediate levels of dietary vitamins resulted in the best production of viable eggs by females. However, without high UV-B irradiation, all viable eggs died at term and contained different vitamin levels than hatching eggs from wild-caught females. Baseline levels of egg calcium are given for hatching eggs from wild-caught females. Modifications in current husbandry procedures are recommended. © 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.