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Latin name: Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus
This is an adult female who is about 1.5 years old. She’s approximately 8" in length and eating large crickets dusted with vitamin and calcium powder.
General info: Jackson’s Chameleons are an easily recognizable species for the fact that adult males have three horns on their face like a triceratops - a secondary sexual characteristic. Females lack these horns. Kenyan Jackson’s Chameleons are the largest subspecies of Jackson’s chameleons.
Habitat and lifestyle: They are native to central Kenya, specifically the forests and grasslands around the Mt. Kenya region.
Size and Lifespan: Males live longer than females with males averaging 7-8 years and females living up to 5 years. This is because females produce and lay several large clutches of eggs in their lifetime, whether they mate or not which takes its toll on their bodies.
Quick care stats:
Temperatures: 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking area, 70 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool end. Two thermometers should be used: one attached to a branch in the tank closest to where the heat lamp is and one attached to a low branch near the floor of the tank.
Humidity: 50%-70% Mist 2x daily or have an automatic misting system.
Misting enough that water is dripping from the leaves of the habitat is crucial as this is where the chameleon will drink most of their water from. Providing a drip cup is also a great way to accomplish this and can be done in conjunction with misting. A gentle fan periodically blowing on the Chameleon's habitat is also recommended for increased airflow.
Tank size: 15-20 gallons for babies/juveniles, 40+ gallons for adults. For adults, the bigger, the better.
Tank type: Vertical and screen-sided-at least two sides of the tank not including the top. Tanks with 3 or more glass sides often don't provide enough airflow.
Lighting: A dimmable heat lamp up to 150 watts will be needed for the basking area . Thermostats are also helpful. Full spectrum UVB lighting is required for this species and should be on 12-14 hours per day.
Substrate and furniture: Soil or bark substrate 1"deep. Keep in mind that a healthy Jackson’s Chameleon spends almost no time on the ground.
Provide lots of climbing structures and false plants for hiding places. If your chameleon feels like it's hidden, it will be happy and stay healthier. Not enough cover will be stressful as it will feel like predators can see it.
A small water dish can be provided on the tank floor but isn't required since chameleons get most of their drinking water from rain and dew on the leaves in their habitat.
Handling: As we mentioned before, chameleons like to feel hidden! Too much handling can stress them out and have very adverse affects on their health. It is best to keep handling to a minimum and enjoy watching them instead.
Diet and feeding: Offer live crickets/feeder roaches 2-3 times per week. Gage the number of insects your chameleon will eat based on the number they leave behind. We recommend starting with an offer of 5 feeder insects and then adjusting from there. Fattier food items like worms can be offered 1x weekly for variety and as a treat! Always remove uneaten feeder insects if they have not been consumed after a day.
*All food items must be dusted with both vitamin and calcium powder prior to feeding.*
Food size: The feeder insect should be able to fit width-wise between your chameleon's eyes.
*Female chameleon-specific care: 3-4 times per year, an adult female Jackson’s chameleon will lay large clutches of eggs. She will need to be provided with a deep lay box on the floor of the enclosure-a plastic shoebox filled to the top with peat moss will be sufficient. She will also need increased humidity, increased misting and extra food offerings during these times.