How to Care for Jackson's Chameleons


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Are Jackson chameleons easy to take care of?

Jackson's chameleons weren't discovered by a scientist named Jackson; its name comes instead from an ornithologist and former governor of Kenya, Frederick Jackson.

These chameleons were native to East Africa, but in recent years they have been introduced to California, Hawaii, and even Florida.

Young Jackson's chameleons are brown in color and develop a brighter green coloration around four to five months of age. Males tend to be brighter in color, with blue or yellow markings.

They are sometimes referred to as three-horned chameleons because males of the species have small brown horns over their eyes and one on their nose.

Common Names: Jackson's Chameleon, Jackson's Horned Chameleon
Scientific name: Chamaeleo jacksonii
Life expectancy: 5 to 10 years in captivity.
Size: Jackson's chameleons range in size from about 9 to 13 inches long, including the tail. Males tend to be larger than females.

Behavior and temperament of the Jackson chameleon

Jackson's chameleons are territorial and must be housed individually. Handling is stressful for them, which is why, like other chameleons, they are more suitable animals to be supervised than to handle.

Jackson's Chameleon Home

Chameleons should never be kept in a glass terrarium. They need the ventilation provided by a mesh enclosure; A fine wire mesh or fiberglass mesh is not recommended.

Vertical space is essential because chameleons like to climb high.

An outdoor cage can be used when the weather is warm enough, as long as overheating is avoided.

Keeping the cage clean is vital to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Using paper towels or newspapers to line the cage makes cleaning easier.

Some keepers use soil (no vermiculite or perlite) or peat, but these are more difficult to keep clean and dry.

The potted plants can be placed on a plain paper substrate for easy cleaning and to leave the live plants in the cage. Do not use wood chips or any other substrate that can be accidentally swallowed and cause clogging.

Provide plenty of sturdy, non-toxic plants and branches for your chameleon to climb on. Ficus have often been used in chameleon housing, but require some caution as the sap can be irritating.

Other plants you might want to try include photos, hibiscus, and dracaena.

Artificial plants can also be added; artificial vines work well. A good selection of branches (of different diameters) should be provided, ensuring that there are secure perches at different levels and temperatures in the cage.


For Jackson's chameleons, a daytime temperature gradient of approximately 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26.5 degrees Celsius) should be provided, with a place to bask up to a maximum of 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celsius).

At night, they should have a temperature drop of about 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit (5 to 10 degrees Celsius), so it may not be necessary to heat at night if the temperature in your home does not drop below 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius).

Warming is best accomplished by using sunlight or incandescent light on a ceramic reflector or heater, either of which should be placed outside the cage to avoid burns.


Chameleons also need a full spectrum ultraviolet (UVA / UVB) light source, so you should invest in a good light bulb. Keep the UV light on for 10 to 12 hours a day.

Remember that these bulbs should be replaced every six months or according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Chameleons benefit from spending time outdoors in natural sunlight when temperatures are right but beware of overheating, as Jackson's chameleons do not tolerate temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).

Food and water

Jackson's chameleons need a humidity level of 50 to 80 percent. This can be achieved by misting the plants in the enclosure regularly (at least twice a day) and by using a drip or misting system.

Chameleons rarely drink from a bowl of water, but will lick the water droplets off the plants; the mist and drip system also serve as sources of water.

Place a drip system so that the water droplets cascade over the plants in the enclosure. Also, invest in a hygrometer to measure humidity.

Chameleons are insectivores, so feed them a variety of insects. Crickets are usually the mainstay of the diet, but mealworms, super worms, wax worms (all in limited quantities), cockroaches, silkworms, flies, flies can also be fed. fruit (for young chameleons) and grasshoppers.

Wild-caught insects should only be fed if you are sure they have not been exposed to pesticides and always avoid fireflies. All insects must be charged before giving them to your chameleon.

Also, some chameleons eat quite a bit of plant matter, including live plants in the cage, so use non-toxic plants. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and sugar pods are all possible (try placing them on the side of the cage).

You will need to monitor your chameleon and adjust feeding amounts as needed; If not many insects are eaten or if your chameleon has too much body, reduce the amount of food.

Do not leave live, uneaten prey in the cage for a long time, as insects can attack and harm your chameleon.

Common health problems

Parasitic infections are very common in insectivores, especially if the animal is stressed or ill. As with most reptiles, Jackson's chameleons are prone to respiratory infections and yeast infections.

These conditions should receive attention from a reptile vet.

Choosing your Jackson chameleon

Find a reputable breeder to make sure your pet has been treated properly. Chameleons should have alert eyes, without cloudiness. Swollen limbs or fingers can indicate an infection, so keep an eye out for this condition. If your Jackson's chameleon is drooling or wheezing, these are signs of respiratory infections.

Jackson's chameleons must have skin that is free from bruises or cuts. The first thing to do after getting your Jackson chameleon is to have it checked by a reptile vet for parasites.

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about Jackson's Chameleon, The Best Pet Lizard?

Source: Clint's Reptiles

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