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Jackson’s Chameleon Care

Jackson’s Chameleon Care

Jackson’s Chameleon (Chamaeleo jacksoni)

also known as Three-horned Chameleon

Popularity: Make good pets, but not good for handling.

Origin: East Africa and Hawaii

Native habitat: Tropical rain forest

Size: 10-13 inches

Lifespan: 5-8 years

Appearance: They are often referred to as the Three-horned Chameleon because males have three brown horns: one on the nose and one above each of the eyes. Females have no horns. They have a saw-tooth shaped dorsal ridge. They are usually bright green. Some of them have traces of blue and yellow. They change colors to fit their mood and environment.

Diet: Insects

Activities: Arboreal

Defense Mechanisms: Changes colors to blend in with surroundings. They use their colors to display dominance.

Misc characteristics: Unlike other chameleons that lay eggs, these birth live offspring. They use their colors to attract mates.



Housing should be a least a 25-gallon enclosure with a secure screen lid that provides good ventilation. A good enclosure has a glass bottom and front, with four sides being screen. A small ficus tree or two plus some silk plants provide the appropriate hides for the chameleon, along with sturdy branches for climbing. Cage carpet or a mixture of sand and moist peat moss makes for a good substrate. Keep it moist to maintain humidity. Change it often to avoid bacterial growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Keep the daytime temperature between 70 and 75 degrees F, and 60-70 at night. There must be a warmer and cooler area of the enclosure. There must be a basking area. You can provide that with an incandescent bulb placed over a branch at one end of the enclosure. It should not get any warmer than 90 degrees F. A 60-watt bulb will suffice. Humidity should be 50% or higher, which can be achieved through frequent daily misting.


Chameleons need 10-12 hours of daily exposure to direct UVB rays for good health. Use UV lamps specially designed for reptiles, and place them 12 inches away from the pet. To give the chameleon a natural day/night cycle, leave lights on for 10-12 hours during the day and turn them off at night.


Chameleons don’t usually respond to standing water, so they need a container above the cage that drips water onto the leaves in the enclosure. You can make one by punching a small hole in the bottom of a clean plastic container. You can also add a waterfall, but it raises the risk of bacteria and contamination from defecation. Misting a few times a day, using a drip system and having live plants are sufficient to provide appropriate humidity and water.


Feed these chameleons gut-loaded crickets, superworms, waxworms, mealworms, flies and feeder roaches. Dust the feeders with calcium a few times a week.

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