An invertebrate-feeding specialist, the panther chameleon moves slowly and stealthily through vegetation, its fused, opposing digits providing a pincer-like grip, while its independently-moving eyes scan the surroundings. Once prey has been sighted it is caught by means of the panther chameleon's remarkable, extensile tongue. The contraction of special muscles within the tongue rapidly propels it towards the prey, which is snared by a combination of the tongue's sticky mucous coating and a vacuum created by muscles in the tip (5).
While most panther chameleons breed during the spring and summer (October to March), populations found in more climatically stable regions along the west coast may breed all year round. The mature male panther chameleon establishes a territory, which is defended from other males, and offers a site where courtship can take place. When a female is encountered exhibiting receptive colouration, the male commences courtship behaviour, which includes an increase in colour intensity and nodding of the head. Over a period of minutes to days after mating, the female acquires the striking, non-receptive colouration, and will make threat displays consisting of opening the mouth wide and rocking, to any courting males that approach (3).
At the end of the two to three week gestation period, the female digs a burrow (3) into which a clutch of 16 to 24 eggs is laid and covered over with soil (2). The eggs take between six and twelve months to hatch, and the newborns then clamber to the surface. Sexual maturity is reached after around five months (3), and the maximum lifespan in the wild is two years (2).