For pet owners who are more drawn toward tamed and mild, the Jackson’s Chameleon, aka Chamaeleo jacksonii xantholophus is the perfectly docile creature for you. Aside from their demeanor, this reptile is everything but mild.
Availability, Size and Lifespan
Because these interesting yet beautiful looking creatures are so manageable to take care of, it’s no surprise that Jackson’s Chameleons are widely available for purchase both on the internet and in pet-stores, especially captive-bred Jackson’s Chameleons. When born, baby Jackson’s chameleons, known as hatchings, are 3 to 4 inches in length. As adults, females can grow to about 7 to 8 inches, while males can grow to 8 to 10 inches, with some maxing out at a foot in length. In regards to life span, Jackson’s Chameleons live a relatively short life, as males live up to a decade long while females only 4 to 5 years.
Jackson’s Chameleon Caging
As with all chameleon species, we at Allan’s Pet Center recommend that your potential new pal kept in screen cages and separate from other Jackson’s Chameleons if you plan on owning more than one. Concerning cage size, keep in mind that the cage size should be a minimum of 18x18x24 inches per chameleon. Keeping these little reptiles separate from one another will help toward ensuring a stress-free environment while in captivity. For substrate, use any nontoxic plants along and sticks of various sizes. You can also use large wood chips, paper towels or even carpet. Regardless of what substrate you use for your new Jackson’s Chameleon, it is important to routinely remove feces and dead insects.
Lighting and Temperature
With all the parameters of cage size and substrate type in mind, you should also consider how you will properly maintain the lizard’s body temperature, as should be the case with any pet lizard. Because they are cold-blooded, we suggest maintaining daytime temperatures at 80 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures at 60-65 degrees. To sustain these levels, equip your friend’s new home with a UVB full-spectrum bulb and a heat bulb. Because it’ll inevitably become too warm for you reclusive chameleon to withstand, make sure that a few branches for basking are placed 4 to 6 inches away from the heat lamp/light source. This small addition will help prevent your chameleon from getting burned by the provided heat source.
Do consider occasionally exposing your Jackson’s Chameleon to natural sunlight, because it is beneficial to their health. Nevertheless, keep caution if you decide to expose chameleon to the sunlight. If left unattended, these chameleons will turn light in color or begin panting or gasping—detrimental signs of heat stress.
Jackson’s Chameleon Food
If there is one knock against having Jackson’s Chameleons as a pet, it’s there very particular diet. That being said, these reptiles require a varied diet of high-quality insects, like wax worms, butter worms, mealworms, phoenix worms roaches and crickets. These insects should be provided in portions of 6 to 8 daily and should be dusted 2 to 3 times a week with a vitamin/calcium powder to ensure proper bone growth and overall health. Finally, make sure that each insect that is fed to your Jackson’s Chameleon is bigger than the space between its eyes.
Like many reptiles native to humid regions of the world, Jackson’s Chameleons require an environment where the humidity is at least 50 percent and up to 80 humidity. Because it’s difficult to maintain humidity levels in a screened enclosure, make sure to spray/mist the cage and plants to 2 to 3 times daily so that your chameleon is well –hydrated. Signs of a healthily hydrated chameleon include full eyes, skin, and casque (top of the head). It is also important to provide water to your little guy before feeding so that its tongue is lubricated and functioning properly for eating.
Jackson’s Chameleon Breeding
Jackson’s Chameleons are very unique in that they give live birth with pregnancy lasting seven to eight months for the first babies. After the first birth, further pregnancies will last only 3 months. To keep a female’s stored sperm count high; reintroduce the female to the male’s cage about two weeks after she gives birth. Speaking of breeding, you can place the female into a male’s enclosure—after one year of age, however—and allow them to breed for 2 to 3 days. If the male seems disinterested, show him another male or his mirrored image.