Jackson's Chameleon

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Species group:

Other common names: Three-horned Chameleon; Mt. Meru Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleon

Scientific name: Trioceros jacksonii

The basics:
The Jackson’s Chameleon is a good choice for folks who have experience with other chameleons or delicate insectivorous lizards. While not a pet for the novice, the Jackson’s Chameleon can be fairly hardy if its very specific husbandry needs are met.

The 3 Jackson’s Chameleon subspecies are found East Africa’s central Kenyan highlands, the eastern slope of Mt. Kenya, and Mt. Meru in Tanzania. Highly arboreal, they inhabit humid montane forests and cut-over woodlands. Feral populations are established in Hawaii, Florida, and California, USA, where they have colonized forests, orchards and gardens.

Appearance / health:
The Jackson’s Chameleon subspecies most commonly seen in the pet trade (T. j. xantholophus) reaches 15 - 38 cm (6-15 in) in length. The other 2 subspecies top out at 10 - 12.7 cm (4-5 in). Jackson’s Chameleons are generally green, but can change to and flash a wide array of colors. Males sport 3 long, pointed brown horns on their heads.

Stress-related ailments are common health concerns. Dehydration may occur if a supply of dripping water is not provided, and metabolic bone disease is typical of animals that are not provided with ample calcium and/or UVB exposure.

Behavior / temperament:
Jackson’s Chameleons rarely take well to handling, but will give you much of interest to observe if properly cared-for.

Shy and arboreal, Jackson’s Chameleons should be kept in custom-made screen cages that are vertically oriented and well-stocked with vines, cork bark rolls and sturdy plants. A single adult requires an enclosure at least 1.2 x 1 x 1.2 meters (4 x 3 x 4 ft, l x w x h) in size. Glass terrariums do not supply the air circulation essential to good health.

Jackson’s Chameleons need daily UVB exposure. A temperature gradient of 74-80 F and a basking temperature of 85 F, with a dip to 60-64 F at night, should be established. Humidity should be kept at 50-85%.

A highly-varied captive diet is essential. Jackson’s Chameleons should be offered roaches, crickets, butterworms, locusts, snails, lab-reared house flies, hornworms, and other commercially-available species. Insects should themselves be fed a nutritious diet. Most meals should be powdered with a Calcium supplement; a chameleon-specific vitamin/mineral powder should be used 2-3 times weekly.

Chameleons will not drink water from a bowl, but will lap drops from foliage. A perforated container on the cage top that allows water to drip over plants should be available, as sprayed water may not meet your pet’s needs.

Females give birth to 6-32 live young. They can store sperm, and may reproduce several times each year.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


absolutely incredible color, supercool lizard, aesthetically appealing creatures, tongues


handling, hard work, fragile creatures, bugs, humidity, distinct odor, big enclosures


independent eyes, Adult supervision

Helpful Jackson's Chameleon Review

Jackson's Chameleon

From Anniecalkins May 24 2015 3:25AM


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