Skip to main content

Jackson's Chameleon

A Jackson's Chameleon is one of the more exotic pets that you can keep. But you do need to study and know the species well before you purchase a Jackson's Chameleon.

A Jackson's Chameleon is one of the more exotic pets that you can keep. But you do need to study and know the species well before you purchase a Jackson's Chameleon.

The Jackson's Chameleon is native to the jungles of Kenya and Tanzania. But it was imported to the United States and there is a large population of them found now in Hawaii where they live and breed naturally. They are also found in the wild now from Ft Lauderdale Florida south to Homestead and have been established in that area either from escaped specimens or from people turning unwanted ones free. This has happened in Florida now with many species of exotic lizards. Please don't turn unwanted reptiles free in any state. If you can't keep it any longer call your local wildlife office and turn any unwanted reptiles over to them. It is suspected though not yet confirmed that King Cobras and Green Mambas are now established in south Florida. A man was recently bitten in a Miami yard by a Green Mamba that was not captured or killed. In recent years at least three King Cobras have been killed by automobiles while crossing the road in the Miami area. So please do not set unwanted reptiles free. Call your local wildlife or fish and game office and turn the specimens over to them.

The male of the Jackson's Chameleon species is very easy to recognize as it has two horns , one above its eyes and one on its nose. The female will sometimes have a horn but it will be very small. You can not keep two males in the same enclosure together as they will get stressed and stop eating and die.

The female gives birth to live young with a gestation period of 5-10 months. Its really quite easy to get Jackson's Chameleons to reproduce if a pair of the chameleons are kept in a nice large enclosure at the right temperature and provided with the right food.

A Jackson's Chameleon is one of the more exotic pets you can keep. Check out this cool video about the Jackson's Chameleon.

Here is a beautiful specimen of the Jackson's Chameleon.

Here is a beautiful specimen of the Jackson's Chameleon.

Jackson's Chameleons make excellent pets but you need to study and find out everything you can about the species before you purchase one. Read on to find out what you will need to do if you want to keep a Jackson's Chameleon.

A Jackson's Chameleon over six weeks of age is the easiest chameleon to care for if your new to keeping exotic pets like the Jackson's Chameleon. Your Jackson's Chameleon will be around 15 inches when grown so you will need a nice large enclosure if you want to have a healthy and happy Jackson's Chameleon.

You will want your enclosure to have fake plants , real plants , climbing limbs and adequate lighting. Your Jackson's Chameleon will do great with a nighttime temperature of 70 degrees and a day time temperature of 75 to 80 degrees. You can create a basking spot for your Jackson's Chameleon with a 60 watt household light bulb. But the Jackson's Chameleon needs there to be cooler spots to get to in case the basking spot gets to hot for it. You will need a thermometer in your enclosure to carefully monitor the temperature at all times. I like for my cages or enclosures to look as natural as possible and I think I have really happy Jackson's Chameleons because of that.

The ideal food for your Jackson's Chameleon is live crickets. Just put them into the enclosure with the Jackson's Chameleon and it will hunt down and enjoy its meal in no time at all. You can also try meal worms , wax worms and grasshoppers. You should keep notes about your Jackson's Chameleon and its eating habits. A rodent drip water bottle will be excellent for providing your Jackson's Chameleon with water. You will also want to keep a shallow dish of water in the enclosure that you change on a regular basis. Be sure that you keep any water dish clean and if it becomes stained or dirty looking over time replace it. I only give bottled water to any of my reptiles or amphibians. I fear that treated water from the spigot in some municipalities may not be good or healthy for them.

If you want to keep your Jackson's Chameleon healthy you must make sure that you keep its enclosure clean. It needs to be kept free of any dead crickets or other dead insects. Be sure to keep the enclosure for your Jackson's Chameleon as clean as possible. If the enclosure is kept spotless clean your Jackson's Chameleon will be happy and healthy.

Jackson's Chameleon's reach sexual maturity after five months and females give live birth to 6 - 12 young and the gestation period is five to six months. I once had a female that gave birth to 19 young. I enjoy raising the young Jackson's Chameleons and each will have its own unique personality and behaviors.

They are one of my favorites because to me they resemble a dinosaur some what resemblance of the Triceratops.species of dinosaur. I know when we take them to shows their cage is the one that people gather around. Kids love them. I also like how they can change color based on their mood, health, and temperature.

Educate Yourself

If you own a Jackson's Chameleon or are thinking of getting one be sure to educate yourself well. Buy a book on the chameleon or borrow one from a public library. The more you know about any animal you choose to keep as a pet the better off you will be. And you really should keep a journal and keep careful detailed notes so you can refer back to them. I like to write down what they eat, their favorite foods, any unusual activity I observe, and etc. I have found that a year or two down the road if I go back and read my notes that I often discover something I didn't see until I documented it and observed it over time.

Questions About Your Jackson's Chameleon

If you have questions about your Jackson's Chameleon or its care or keeping feel free to post your questions below in the comment section now and I will try to provide a helpful answer. I have been keeping Jackson's Chameleons now for over twenty years and I always enjoy them.


Do you have questions about Jackson's Chameleon? Post them now. Feel free to post your comments , questions , tips or suggestions now.

Sunny Cascio on July 18, 2018:

Hi there,

Scroll to Continue

We purchased male and female Jacksons at the end of April of this year (2018). At the time they were obtained, the male and female were both in the same enclosure. WE purchased separate enclosures for them. Come to present, I am wondering if she may be gravid. For the past week she’s been eating less and staying at the bottom of her enclosure. She’s remained a light green color so does not appear angry or upset. She seems extra tired and is rather clumsy when she does attempt to climb. I’m just concerned there’s could be something else going on. I Know there needs to be a nesting site. How deep should it be?

Thank you!

Mike Hamric on January 16, 2016:

How can you tell the sub species of the Jacksons Chameleons?

I have a Male and Female, not sure if they are from the jacksonii or the yellow crested family. How can I distinguish the subspecies?

They were wild caught and they came from California, if this helps...


reptilover808 on February 27, 2013:

I have an adult male, and a baby (too young to determine sex yet) that I caught in my yard, and now they reside in the extra large zoo med enclosure. The male was depressed for a couple of weeks, untili broughtn in an adult female. Now he thinks he is Don juan, and puts on quite a show for her. She isn't amused, and often warns him not to get close to her. She is mellow, and doesn't try to bite him, but I feel bad, because he keeps striking out with her. He keeps trying though. How can I tell if my female is ready to tolerate his shenanigans?

aBax on July 12, 2012:

I just bought a Jackson's, maybe two weeks ago and he seems to be having some problems. It takes a while to coax him to drink anything, regardless of if I'm using a drip system or a spray bottle. He has yet to show much interest in the crickets we've introduced to his environment. We've tried putting them straight in so they can jump around, as well as in a feeding cup where they can't escape. We don't leave them in there all the time anymore, as we're hoping that he'll get excited and eat them when he sees them moving around. Honestly, I've only seen him eat two live crickets. We've seen him eat more dead crickets than live ones, actually. He almost seems to prefer them. Other than that, he spends most of his day moping around. Often he will sit still, and stare at one spot or look at me. Other times we'll come over to his cage to find him in the same place, but with his eyes closed during the middle of the day. He was a wonderfully active animal at the store when we bought him. We don't handle him very much because we don't want to stress him out. We clean his cage. His cage actually is kind of small. Much smaller than a Jackson's enclosure should be, but we've placed it beside a good climbing surface (Twisty willows and plenty of leaves) and we leave the top open for him so he can climb out and enjoy himself on the small tree-like area. I have no idea what's wrong with this animal. I don't know if it's because of something we're doing wrong or just that we bought a lizard that was already sick. Or perhaps it's because he's still getting used to his new home. I really don't know but I'm worried about the little guy. Any ideas?

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on May 02, 2012:

Yes you can.

pedro haroldo on May 02, 2012:

can I house a female and a male together

chameleons rule!! on March 16, 2012:

My female jackson's chameleon is very fat, has she just had too much to eat or is she pregnant and going to lay soon, or just started pregnancy??? Please help, coz i am just looking after her for a while and i want to know what to do if she lays eggs.

She is this long (including the tail)


Emily on March 09, 2012:

Im pretty sure I have a Jackson and it's a girl sOme times she lite green with green spots or black what dose that mean ?

lova on March 03, 2012:

how can i tell if my baby jackson is a female or a male...

Not telling on December 23, 2011:

When the female gives birth should I take the male out? Well he eat the poor baby(s)

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 06, 2011:

If your cage or enclosure is large enough you should have a basking spot. If its a tall cage have a basking spot up high in the enclosure. You should use a heat lamp to create a basking spot at around 85 degrees.

You can use reptisun bulbs that are UVB output bulbs. Be sure your chameleon can not touch the lights.

Tricia on November 06, 2011:

I just bought a Jackson and he is moving around and doing fine but I was wondering what type of light I should have on him at night time? Also is it required for him to have a UVB and a heat lamp? I have a UVB on him now but was wondering about the heat lamp.

Thomas Byers (author) from East Coast , United States on November 06, 2011:

If at all possible you should buy one of the screen tops sold in pet shops and it should have clips to lock the top on so it can't be pushed up from the inside. You can use the same type of tops on small snake cages.

Josh on November 06, 2011:

What kind of screen should i use for my chameleon's cage?

Pedro Macy on September 25, 2011:

Hey I recently went to a petshow and purchased a pregnant female but the only thing is I don't know how far she is can anyone help me

Joanne on August 29, 2011:

i have a Jackson Chameleon, could be a female, im actually quite positive it is. She's got a small horn on the tip of her nose, shes about 5 inches in length. is there any way to determine her age, or a probability for it?

krystal on May 04, 2011:

how can i tell if my jackson is pregnant

j.d. on November 17, 2010:

Hi I purchase two apparently male jackson's ( both with very deffinate horns ). Last Friday one delivered 11 babies. I have been searching the web for sexing on chameleons and so far all say horns boy bumps girl. Thanks for any info you can give.

JanGrace on September 16, 2010:

How can I tell if my female Jackson chameleon is pregnant or just "healthy", besides just "waiting"?? thanks!

justin on August 11, 2010:

hey i just bought to good and healthy jacksons chameleons (boy and a girl)and have been living in a big screen cage. they have a spotlight, shallow water dish, tons of branches to climb on, and i feed them every day.As the days passes i noticed that the girl is getting weaker and weaker, and now she cant hardly catch her crikets unless i hold them. what's wrong with her.

Gizmo on June 21, 2010:

im going to get one soon & i heard that black stresses it out.if you want to hold it what color shirt should you wear...thanks

mark on April 13, 2010:

what plants can i use for my jackson and what house hold plants can i use thanks

Frogger on March 19, 2010:

Do jacksons usually have a nice temperament?

bman on March 16, 2010:

Where do you find a jackson Chamelean

Related Articles