Jackson’s Chameleon – Profile, Facts & Care
The mere sight of a Jackson Chameleon takes us back to Triceratops dinosaurs millions of years ago. Heavily built, this herbivore fossil had three distinctive horns on top of the head akin to present-day Jackson Chameleons. For that reason, Jackson Chameleons are some of the most popular pet reptiles because of their distinctive look.
Named after the famous naturalist Sir Fredric Jackson, few species originate from the mountainous regions in Kenya. Later, scientists transferred some to Hawaii, which currently has a larger population compared to Kenya. Join us as we take you through the basic requirements for a healthy Jackson Chameleon pet.
Jackson’s Chameleon Appearance
The first thing you notice about Jackson Chameleon is their dazzling combination of yellow, blue, and dark green hues. Primarily, these species change their color due to health, mood, and temperature influence. According to experts, chameleons change color in a record 20 seconds. Sometimes, depending on the determinant, the color change can happen even quicker than that.
When agitated, Jackson Chameleons exhibit bold colors like yellow, teal, and bright green. Yet when calm and relaxed, they mostly display greenish colors without contrasting dark splotches. If sick or exposed to extreme temperatures, you may notice a dull and dark color shade on your pets.
Apart from the horns, Jackson Chameleons also have an inimitable crest and dorsal ridge. It is worth pointing out that horns only grow on the males and not the female. Brown in color, two horns protrude on top of the nose known as preocular.
Then, another one sticks out from the nose area called the rostral horn. The horns come in handy when bantering with others or as a threat to predators.
Other outstanding features include the rotating eyes, prehensile tail, fast elongated tongue, mitten-like feet, and feeble teeth structure. Almost non-visible, the tiny teeth are only strong to grasp insects but can’t chew.
Mostly, adult Jackson Chameleons tip the scales to about 10 to 15 inches and weigh 0.9-1.9 kg. At birth, baby chameleons slightly weigh around 0.6 grams and measure roughly 2 inches.
Jackson’s Chameleon Behavior
When young, Jackson Chameleons tend to be more defensive. Some may outgrow the habit, but others carry it on to adulthood. If you have a feisty Jackson Chameleon, avoid handling them as it may escalate the situation.
To prevent chameleon bites attacks, wear light gloves when feeding or cleaning the terrarium. Since Jackson Chameleons are solitary creatures, it is crucial if you place them in different enclosures. Even if you have to put them together, probably during mating, never leave males in one tank.
Common stress symptoms you should observe include aggressiveness, puffing up, color-changing, and hissing. To cultivate a healthy relationship with your pet, start handling them before they hit six months. This approach dramatically helps pet chameleons tolerate human beings around them.
While hunting, Jackson Chameleons rely on their sharp vision to trace prey. Thanks to their capability to blend with the environment, they advance without getting detected at a snail’s pace. Once closer, they shoot out their long tongue at a record speed and grab the prey.
Sadly, your little friend is relatively defenseless when it comes into contact with predators. Therefore, ensure that you keep them in an enclosure that guarantees total security. Animals likely to prey on your chameleons around the house include cats, monkeys, snakes, and some snakes.
Jackson’s Chameleon Lifespan
Jackson Chameleons enjoy a longer lifetime compared to other species. When placed in a superb habitat and fed well, they can live for about three to eight years. Due to breeding complications, females live lesser years compared to males.
Common ailments that put Jackson Chameleons down include periodontal, metabolic bone disease, stomatitis, and endoparasitism.
Jackson’s Chameleon General Care and Requirements
Your Jackson Pet would greatly suffer if your fall short in giving an almost similar experience to their natural habitat. For that reason, here is a candid guide on what you need to do right.
In contrast to other species, Jackson Chameleons live in slightly cooler natural habitats. Therefore, ensure that you provide a similar environment at home. An ambient of about 21 to 28 °C would do justice to your Jackson.
Moreover, install a basking spot within 27 to 29 degrees. Invest in a reliable heat lamp to achieve this temperature gradient. At night, reduce the temperature to 13-24 C° to allow them to sleep better.
Jackson’s natural environment thrives better in high humidity levels of 60 t0 100%. Apart from placing live plants in the tank, mist the tank twice daily for about five minutes and then allow the cage to dry out completely. Prolong the misting sessions during hotter months to keep the tank cooler.
– Enclosure Size
Naturally arboreal, Jackson chameleons spend most of the time hidden behind twigs and leaves. Provide a vertical tank to help them put their climbing tendency into practice. For juvenile chameleons, house them in a 16 by 16 by 30 inches enclosure. Once they grow up, shift them to a slightly bigger terrarium of 24 by 24 by 48 inches.
Remember that chameleons love plenty of airflows. So, purchase mesh or a hybrid (screen and mesh) cage rather than the conventional plastic and glass ones. Be wary of predators and ensure that the tank has a well-fitting cover to keep them off.
Without proper lighting, your pet Jackson Chams may develop fatal health issues like Metabolic Bone Disease. As diurnal creatures, chameleons need lighting for 10 to 12 hours during the day. The best source of light you should use for a Jackson is a full spectrum. These are lights that closely mimic the sun.
When installing, keep the lights at least eight to twelve inches away from the tank to avoid burning your pets. Likewise, replace them after six months for optimal emitting of light.
Jackson’s Chameleon Diet and Nutrition
It is almost impossible to offer chameleons a nutritious diet similar to what they find in the Savannah and Rain forests. Altogether, you can do a better job at it to keep your reptile friend contented. Follow our straightforward guide below.
A chameleon’s diet is never complete without insects. To get the best nutrients out of them, offer an assortment of locusts, flies, roaches, spiders, sowbugs, and grasshoppers. Also, add worms, caterpillars, snails, and slugs. Before placing the food in the enclosure, ensure that it is not bigger than your pet’s head for ease of swallowing.
All in all, ensure that you feed your chameleons with gut-loaded insects to enhance the nutrients value. In a day, offer six to eight insects to adult pets. Add an extra two or three to the younger one who requires more nutrients to grow.
If possible, avoid hunting insects for your chameleons because of the pesticide scare. Instead, buying verified pet food from a reliable supplier is the most prudent choice. After a feeding session, get rid of remnants to avoid contamination.
– Supplements and Vitamins
In captivity, chameleons face challenges in the production of vitamins and calcium in the body. UVB lighting may help in calcium absorption. Still, the negligible levels produced may not keep your pet healthy. Hence, dust meals with calcium gluconate or carbonate once a week.
Also, add minimal levels of Vitamin D, A, and phosphorus. Note that an excess of these supplements can be toxic to your pet. Therefore, ensure that you do not cover the food with vast amounts of supplements as your pet chameleon may refuse to eat the food.
Similar to other creatures, drinking water would keep your pet healthy and content. In contrast to other animals, chameleons ingest water both orally and through the skin. Another unique aspect about chameleon’s hydration is that you have to motivate them for the drinking urge to kick in.
Nature has a way of working this out through raindrops. At home, you have to create an almost similar experience by using a dripper or mister. Mist the cage at least twice a day. In the process, make droplets on plants to trigger their drinking inclination. While your chameleon may sip water as it flows, they may also lick the wet leaves to meet their daily hydration needs.
It is not always easy to tell if a chameleon had its full. Nevertheless, watch out for dehydration signs like dull skin, sunken eyes, and minimal energy.
Jackson’s Chameleon Breeding
Jackson Chameleons are life-bearer species and generally male during warm months. As ovoviviparous, these species give birth after a gestation period of 4-6 months. In one episode, pregnant females bring forth 8 to 30 little ones. From as early as six to nine months, your pet chameleons are ready to become parents.
Given that chameleons do not have maternal instincts, they do not take care of their young ones. Unbelievably, baby chameleons attempt to stand on their own immediately they pop out. A few hours later, they initiate hunting and feeding on tiny pieces of food.
For those eager to own an out-of-the-ordinary pet chameleon, this is an easy catch. Jackson Chameleons may not be the friendliest pet reptile but are hardy, fine-looking, and tolerate handling. Follow the tips mentioned above and give your pet reptile a better quality of life.