A Guide on Caring for the Jackson’s Chameleon

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The Jackson’s chameleon, a native reptilian of Kenya, was named after an ornithologist and prior governor of Kenya, Frederick Jackson. Though a native of East Africa, they have been introduced to other places, including California, Florida, and Hawaii.

These stunning creatures are also referred to as three-horned chameleons because the males possess small brown horns over their eyes and one on the nose. The male chameleons bear a close resemblance to a mini-version of triceratops, while the females just possess bright hues in their skin without the horns. If you prefer the rugged look of this reptile, this chameleon makes a fascinating choice of pets. But they need additional care for their unique characteristics.

Housing

Firstly, these chameleons are better off being watched than handled as they easily get stressed. So getting them an apt enclosure with an arboreal setting of branches and vines will be perfect. Natural vines of ficus plants that are pesticide-free are the best since these chameleons will eat the leaves and walk on the plant branches.

Lighting and Heating

Jackson’s chameleon also requires a light source, and so a UV bulb that keeps the temperature gradient of about 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is necessary, and they can tolerate well up to 90 degrees. At night they should have a temperature drop of up to 65 to 70 degrees.

Exposure to natural sunlight is also essential for these creatures so that they can feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Ensure to pay close attention to the chameleon outdoors and if they are lighter in color or begin panting, move it to the shade and keep them hydrated.

Food and Water

Gut-loaded insects such as Dubia roaches, crickets, mealworms are the staple part of Jackson’s chameleons’ diet as they are carnivores. You can feed about five to seven insects and more to young chameleons. The feeder insects should be larger than the space between the chameleon’s eyes.

Apart from insects, it also eats a bit of plant matter, including live plants attached to cages like collard greens, turnip greens, and sugar snap pea pods. Also, you can offer slices of fruits like apples.

You can spray water periodically on these plants so that your chameleons can lick them off as they prefer to have water droplets and don’t drink too much if kept in a bowl.

Adjust feeding amounts depending on the age of your chameleon and never leave un-eaten prey inside its cage for an extended time.

Shedding

Rainfall may average 30 to 60 inches per year in the native range of Jackson’s chameleons. Therefore, the chameleons must be kept well hydrated for general health and shedding. Gently mist the chameleon’s entire body and tree with water at least a couple of times a day. 

Maintain a humidity level of 50%. Placing the chameleon under a shower on a plant or rack once a week for about half-hour is also beneficial to simulate a rainstorm effect and keep them hydrated.

Life Span

While males can expect a lifespan of up to 10 years, female counterparts live up to 5 years as they tend to wear out after reproduction.

Parasitic infections are common among insectivores like the Jackson’s chameleon, and they can also be prone to respiratory infections. If such conditions persist, visit a reptile veterinarian for a thorough inspection.

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