We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Jackson's Chameleon?

By J.M. Densing
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Jackson's chameleon, scientific name Chamaeleo jacksonii, is a small-to-medium-sized lizard that is normally bright green, but is able to change color. It's also sometimes called the three-horned chameleon because males usually have three horns protruding from the front of their head. These lizards are native to cooler parts of Africa and are commonly sold as pets in the U.S. and other countries. They are relatively easy to care for pets; they don't enjoy being handled too much, however, but can be very interesting to observe. They eat insects and other invertebrates and require a spacious enclosure with plenty of room to climb.

An adult Jackson's chameleon is typically measures about 9 to 13 inches (22.5 to 32.5 cm) including the tail, and males tend to be larger than females. The color of the skin is usually bright green, but it can change hue to blend in with its surroundings or in reaction to mood, temperature, or general health. Jackson's chameleon resembles a miniature triceratops dinosaur, with a similar body shape and a dorsal ridge with a jagged edge. The males develop three horns; one protrudes from the tip of the nose, while the other two emerge from the head above the eyes. Females seldom develop horns; they just have a small nub at the end of their nose.

In the wild, Jackson's chameleon is found in the cooler, humid parts of Africa such as the mountains in Kenya. They are sold as pets in many countries around the world. They are fairly simple to take care of and don't require a lot of handling; many owners find them fascinating to observe. In addition to their color changing ability, they are able to catch prey with their long, sticky tongues at lightening speed and have unique eyes that are able to look in two different directions at the same time.

The preferred diet of Jackson's chameleon consists of insects and other invertebrates including crickets, cockroaches, mealworms, and waxworms. Feedings should occur every other day, and the insects should be dusted with powdered vitamin supplements before being fed to the chameleon. A fresh dish of water should be supplied daily, and water can be dripped on the plants in the habitat as well. The water is needed for both drinking and to maintain comfortable humidity levels so the chameleon is able to shed its skin.

The enclosure or habitat for the Jackson's chameleon needs to be fairly spacious, with plenty of width and height. It should also have plenty of ventilation. There should be a variety of natural or artificial plants and branches available for it to climb on, and the ground should be covered with a substrate like peat or sphagnum moss. UVB lighting needs to be provided to mimic natural sunlight, as well as a ceramic heater or incandescent bulb for warmth. The habitat should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is unique about Jackson's Chameleon?

Jackson's Chameleon is renowned for its striking appearance, including three prominent horns on males, resembling a triceratops. This species exhibits vibrant green coloration, which can change in response to temperature, mood, and light. Native to East Africa, they have a prehensile tail and independent eye movement, allowing them to scan for prey and predators effectively.

What does Jackson's Chameleon eat?

Jackson's Chameleons are insectivores, primarily feeding on a variety of insects such as crickets, roaches, and mealworms. They use their long, sticky tongues to capture prey from a distance. In captivity, it's crucial to provide a diet rich in calcium and vitamins to maintain their health, often achieved by 'gut-loading' or dusting insects with supplements.

How does Jackson's Chameleon reproduce?

Jackson's Chameleons are ovoviviparous, meaning females give birth to live young after carrying eggs internally. A single litter can range from 8 to 30 babies. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), gestation lasts approximately 4 to 6 months, and the young are independent almost immediately after birth.

What is the lifespan of a Jackson's Chameleon?

In their natural habitat, Jackson's Chameleons typically live for about 5 to 10 years. Captive care can extend their lifespan, with some individuals reaching up to 12 years with proper husbandry. Factors influencing their longevity include diet, environmental conditions, and stress levels.

How do Jackson's Chameleons adapt to their environment?

Jackson's Chameleons are arboreal, spending most of their time in trees. Their zygodactylous feet—two toes pointing forward and two backward—provide a strong grip on branches. Their prehensile tail acts as a fifth limb for balance. Camouflage is their primary defense, changing color to blend with their surroundings and avoid predators.

Are Jackson's Chameleons endangered?

As of my knowledge cutoff in 2023, Jackson's Chameleons are listed as "Least Concern" by the IUCN Red List, indicating they are not currently at high risk of extinction in the wild. However, habitat destruction and the pet trade can impact populations, so conservation efforts remain important to ensure their continued survival.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.