Jackson's chameleons average 35
to 75 inches in length, with males being larger
than females. Basic body color consists of
varying shades of green with yellowish blotches,
but it can be as dark as black when the animal is
in great distress. Males have three long, pointed
horns protruding from the head.
Jackson's chameleons are native
to eastern Africa, primarily Kenya and Tanzania.
They live in trees in mountain thickets and
The Jackson's chameleon feeds
primarily on insects and spiders.
When ready to mate, a male
Jackson's chameleon will initiate a "threat
display" to a chosen female which includes
color changes, throat inflation and raising the
forelegs. An unwilling female will return the
threatening gestures, while a willing one will
either make weak gestures or no gestures at all.
A female will mate for up to 11 days, but almost
never with the same male twice in one day.
Gestation takes approximately
190 days, with birth generally occuring in the
morning. The young are delivered one at a time
onto a branch. They are still surrounded by a
gelatinuous egg sac and remain asleep until the
egg touches the branch, at which time the young
awaken and break through their egg sac. The
female will mate again after 20 days. Sexual
maturity is reached at the age of 9 or 10 months.
Other Behaviors and
Males are territorial and will
battle using their horns. When two males meet,
they will turn sideways, flatten their bodies,
curl their tails, thrust their heads forward,
inflate themselves with air to appear larger, and
turn brilliant colors. The submissive male will
fade into drab colors and then either try to
hide, freeze in place, or try to escape the area.
When males do battle, they will poke each other
with their horns and try to push each other off
their branches. These fights can cause physical
The Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species lists all chameleons
as threatened. Primary threats are habitat
destruction and the exotic pet trade, the latter
being the most destructive to the species.
Because captive breeding programs have been
largely unsuccessful, virtually every chameleon
sold in a pet store was taken from the wild. On
average, only 1 in 10 chameleons survive the trip
to the pet store, and those that do survive often
arrive malnourished and stressed. In addition,
proper care methods for these animals is not well
known, so many are then unknowingly mistreated. A
Jackson's chameleon may live up to 10 years in
the wild, but is probably lucky to live up to 5
years in captivity.
genus & species Chamaeleo jacksonii
Animal Diversity Web http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Chamaeleo_jacksonii/
Questions or comments about