Male or Female? How to Sex Baby Panther Chameleons

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I'm surprised I haven't written this guide earlier, but better now than never! 

One of the most common concerns new panther chameleon owners have is how to sex them. How do you know that the male you just paid more money for is actually a male? Well, the answer is relatively easy, you just have to get used to knowing what you're looking for. And the best way to help is to show lots of photos. Panther chameleons can be sexed right out of the egg. However, for the purpose of this blog I will show examples of panthers that are over a month old, so we can see what a baby that you just bought from a reptile show might look like, both in size, colors, and sexability. 

Also, to quell some fears, please see this blog entry on how males mature differently: Two Panthers Growing Up - Photo Progression. Because not all males grow up the same way and "late bloomers" certainly exist. And for further reading see this other blog entry, Comparing Males and Females, which explains any differences in care, personality, and physiology. 


Male baby panther chameleon. 
Female baby panther chameleon.
This is going to be tough at first, and I want to show two tough babies for that reason. Look at the two babies. If you look closely, you will notice that on the male you can almost see a straight line from the stomach down and along the tail. This is because the base of the tail is thicker, to accommodate the male's sex organs as he matures. Where as in a female there is an indentation right after the vent/cloaca, because the tail base is much narrower. The tail is thus thinner, so it looks like much more gentle taper from the base to the tip. At this age do not focus on color (or lack there of), because it might be misleading. 


A male panther chameleon, very developed at his age. 
The above male is a very obvious one. But it will show you all the anatomy you are looking for when looking at a slightly older baby. You want to look out for the hemipenal bulge, which at this point should be more obvious, and the rostral process (the nasal ridge), which will grow outwards as he matures. This male also has a lot of color already for his age, which is a little unusual, so a lack of color is not indicative of an automatic female. Some males will be tan until 6 months of age. 

A male panther chameleon, not as developed and much less obvious.
This second male is much less obvious. His colors are still bland, his rostral process is still underdeveloped, and the bulge is tiny but you can still see it if you look closely. This could be a tricky one, but after you see enough young males it will become easier to spot males like these.
A female panther chameleon. 
This female is pretty for a female, which shows how females can show certain colors here and there (like blue in the face) and confuse you. So do not reply on color to sex a panther unless it is extremely obvious. But her rostral process is non-existent, which is normal for females, and her tail is a thin, subtle taper down to the tip.  
Another male panther chameleon. This one is more average, neither very
developed nor very underdeveloped. 
And one more male to show you a more normal-looking male individual (I'm sorry that the photo is not great, this was pre-DSLR camera!). He does have a small rostral process and a bulge that is easy to see.


Adult Nosy Be panther chameleon male. 
This is the same panther as the last example of a young male, but full grown. By 6-8 months the colors should be nice and saturated, the bulge should be fairly large, and the rostral process will also be much larger. At this point they are sexually mature, so it should be very obvious that you have a male.
Adult panther chameleon female. 
This is an adult female, who looks very different to the male above. She will have a very tiny rostral process and no bulge. The tail will still be very narrow. Additionally, the colors will be very indicative by 5-7 months as well. Females remain shades of pink, peach, tan, brown, and black with orange. Sometimes they can have points of blue, purple, or green, but generally speaking they are not as colorful as males. They will also be much smaller in size, only about half as large.

Hope that helps!


  1. hi olimpia, I was wondering if I sent you a picture of my 4 month old panther chameleon you could help me determine its sex?

    1. Hey Conner. Sure, email me some photos and I'll see if I can help. Make sure the photos are from the side and ideally where he has his tail sticking out. Usually putting them on a ruler to walk on will get them to do that pose.

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  2. Hi can I do the same my panther is 3 weeks the store said they didn't know the sex

    1. Yes, absolutely. My email is, try to get a nice photo from the side and I'll do my best.

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  4. I love your blog! Thanks for all the information. I can't wait to own my own panther!

  5. would you be able to check mine too ?

    1. Absolutely, feel free to email me photos to Make sure they are from the side with the tail as straight out as possible.

  6. My baby will be 1 week old tomorrow. Will you please check mine too?

  7. please can you sex my panther chameleon its driving me crazy still can not name lol.

    thanks allot Terry

    1. Yes Terry, send me an email with photos and I'll be happy to help! On the left side of the blog you should be able to see an Email icon, click that to shoot me an email.

    2. Hello Olimpia, I just emailed yous some pictures of my new ambilobe red barred chameleon. I hope you can see the pictures clearly. Thanks for all your help!