Jackson's chameleons vary in length from about 9-13 inches in length (including the tail). Males tend to be larger than females of the same sub species. They are native to the mountains of Kenya and Tanzania and are also now abundant in the wild in Hawaii.
Young chameleons are brown in colour, and as they age they develope brighter green colouration when they 4-5 months old. Males typically are more brightly coloured, with blue or yellow markings. Stressed or cold chameleons are typically a dark brown colour. Males of all the subspecies have 3 horns that make them look like mini-triceratops, 2 subocular horns below the eyes and one rostral horn on the snout. Females of some sub-species do have horns, but sometimes less developed than those of the males.
Jackson's chameleons are territorial and should be housed alone and away from other chameleons. Handling is stressful to them as with other chameleons, they are pets that are better suited be being watched rather than handled a lot.
|Pet Reptile (Chamaeleo jacksonii) Care Information|
|Years to Maturity:|
|Housing, Feeding and Climate of Chamaeleo jacksonii|
|Reptile Foods:||What reptile foods are suggested? Should the reptiles food be live reptile food?|
|Reptile Lighting:||Are there any special reptile lighting requirements?|
|Breeding Chamaeleo jacksonii|
|What is the average clutch size for this animal?|
|Incubation Temperature:||What temperature do the reptile eggs require?|
|What are the reptile health concerns? Is pet insurance recommended? Is reptile health a common problem?|
|Recommended Pet Supplies for Chamaeleo jacksonii|
nb. All of these can be purchased from an online pet store
Chameleons should never be kept in a glass terrarium. They need the ventilation provided by a mesh enclosure (fine metal or fibreglass mesh is not recommended, PVC coated hardware cloth is good). Vertical space is essential and a minimum size of 24 inches by 24 inches by 36 inches tall is recommended, the taller the housing, the better as chameleons like to climb high up off the ground. An outdoor cage can be used when the weather is warm enough, as long as overheating is prevented. A clean cage is very important to prevent bacterial or mould growth. Using paper or newspaper to line the cage makes cleaning easier. Some keepers use soil (no vermiculite or perlite) or peat moss but these are harder to keep clean and dry. Do not use wood chips or any other substrate that could be accidentally ingested and cause blockages.
 Cage Furnishings
Provide the Chameleon with lots of sturdy non-toxic plants and branches. Ficus trees have often been used in chameleon housing, but use these with caution as the sap can be irritating. Other plants you could include inside the enclosure are: pothos, hibiscus, and dracaena. Artificial plants may also be added, and artificial vines are a great addition. A good selection of branches (of different diameters) should be provided, making sure there are secure perches at different levels and temperatures within the cage.
Like all reptiles, chameleons are ectothermic and do not heat their own bodies, therefore they regulate their body temperature using an external source. To do this they change their colour, body shape, and move to areas of lower or higher temperature depending on their need.
For Jackson's chameleons a daytime temperature gradient of about 70-80 F (21-26.5 C) should be provided, with a basking spot up to a maximum of 85 F (29 C). To do this you need to make sure that your enclosure is large enough to allow varying temperatures. This allows the chameleon to regulate itβs body temperature as it would in the wild. At night, they should have a temperature drop of about 10-15 F (5-10 C), so heating at night may not be required if your home does not fall below 65-70 F (18-21 C). Heating is best accomplished by a basking or incandescent light in a reflector or a ceramic heat element, any of which should be placed outside of the cage to prevent burns. Heating rocks and pads are not necessary.
Chameleons need an ultraviolet (UVA/UVB) light source, so make sure to invest in a good bulb. Keep the UV light on for 10-12 hours per day. Remember these bulbs need to be replaced every 6 months. Also make sure that the bulb is in a position where the chameleon will not be able to reach it . Chameleons also benefit from spending time outdoors in natural sunlight when the temperature is appropriate, however you must beware of overheating, Jackson's chameleons do not tolerate temperatures over 90 F (32 C) well.
 Humidity and Hydration
Jackson's chameleons need a humidity level of 50-80 percent. This can be accomplished by misting the plants regularly, and by using a drip or misting system. Chameleons rarely drink from a water bowl, but they will lap up droplets of water off plants, so the misting and a drip system also serves as a water source. Position a drip system so the water droplets fall onto the plants in the enclosure. The easiest and best way to maintain humidity is to invest in a hygrometer.
Chameleons are insectivores so should be fed a variety of insects. Crickets are usually the mainstay of the diet, but mealworms, superworms and waxworms (all in limited quantities), roaches, silkworms, flies, fruit flies and grasshoppers can also be fed. Insects caught in the wild should only be fed if you are certain they have not been exposed to pesticides, and also avoid fireflies. It is also imperative that the diet is high in calcium as this prevent the onset of MBD . All insects should be gut loaded, this means they have been fed fresh foods and vitamin/minerals before feeding. In addition, some chameleons will also eat a small of plant matter including live plants in the cage, so use non toxic plants. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and sugar snap pea pods can be tried. You will have to monitor your chameleon and adjust feeding amounts as needed. Don't leave uneaten live prey in the cage for extended periods as the insects may attack and injure your chameleon.
 Health problems and veterinary care
Dystocia (egg binding) is a relatively common problem in reptiles. Dystocia can occur in live-bearing and ovoviviparous (reproducing by eggs which the female carries in her body until they hatch) species. Parasites are common in wild caught specimens as well. Metabolic Bone Disease is another common health problem. Improper diet and poor lighting or lack of UVB light contribute to MBD. If your chameleon shows symptoms such as bowed legs, change in colour for no apparent reason, eyes staying closed during the day or has difficulty in walking or climbing seek the advice of a vet as soon as possible.