Even if your original intention was just to keep a single male as a pet, eventually, you will be drawn to the Panthers
by their natural charm and character and most will want to acquire more or to even breed them. Once you have gained
some experience caring for your male Panther, it will not be too difficult to breed if you follow some basic guidelines.
In the wild, most Panthers breed during the spring and summer months (our fall and winter months due to Madagascar being
in the Southern hemisphere). However, in captivity, if conditions are kept optimal for them, they can breed all year.
Females (and males) can reach sexual maturity in as early as 6 months, a fact I have inadvertantly discovered myself
when I put a pair of CB 6 month olds together in the same cage for a short period while I was cleaning their cages.
The female subsequently became gravid and laid 22 healthy eggs a few weeks later. However, the process of being gravid
and laying eggs can be very taxing on the females, especially when they are young and I believe breeding the females at a
young age literally stunts their growth and diminishes their egg laying capacity in the future. Females should not be
bred until they have reached their full size and weight, regardless of age.
When you have a sexually mature pair, it is customary to introduce the female into the male's enclosure (although I have
done the reverse successfully). You should have the female perch on your hand and let them see each other at a safe
distance. If the male is eager to mate, he will indicate this by quick, jerking head movements that you cannot mistake
for anything else and he will try to approach the female almost immediately. If the female is receptive
to his advances, she will remain her passive colors (usually a light orange, pinkish or grayish color without any banding).
At this point, you can leave the female in the male's cage and give them some privacy. The female will usually try to walk
away from the male slowly and the male will come from behind and attempt to mount
If the female is not receptive
to the male's advances, she will immediately gain a darker banding on the sides of her body and will gape her mouth open
wide in a threatening manner as well as rock her body in a side to side motion. If you observe this behavior do not
attempt to leave them together. You can attempt the introduction them again a few days later.
The actual mating process can last as short as 10 minuets to 45 minuets or more. If the female was very sexually
mature and ready, she can gain her gravid coloration (same as her nonreceptive colors) almost immediately after her first
copulation. Otherwise, it may take a day to several days for her to gain her gravid colors. You can leave the
pair together to mate several more times until the female gains her gravid colors (same as nonreceptive colors), at which
time they should be separated.
When you see the female's gravid coloration, start counting the days. My females have taken as long as 43 days to as
short as 19 days before oviposition (egg laying) with most of my females laying after 20 to 23 days. During this period,
it is very important to increase the amount of calcium the female is intaking and their insects are dusted every feeding.
It is also very important that the females definitely have a warm basking spot where you will observe them "sunning"
themselves on both side of their bodies. They may start to significantly cut down on the amount of insects they consume
or stop eating all together a few days before they lay. When they are ready to lay, you must place the female in an
egg laying container. The container needs to be deep enough to hold at least 8-12 inches of moist soil (they must be
able to dig a tunnel without having it collapse). A plastic garbage pale can be used with a ficus plant temporarily planted
in it along with a clip on heat lamp. They will usually start to dig in the morning and possibly dig a few test sights
before finally settling on a spot, a process that can take several days.
Once she starts to dig in earnest, it will usually take all day. Do not disturb her until she has completely finished
her egg laying and has fully covered up her nesting sight. Once the female has finished with her oviposition process,
remove the egg laying container and give her a well deserved rest. Hydrate her and offer her favorite meal and continue the
daily supplementation with calcium until she regains her previous weight.