Jackson’s Three-horned Chameleon

Loki is the first Chameleon we've had at the main rescue home. Chameleons are NOT beginner pets! Jackson's especially are tiny and fragile. Loki brings us joy every day, loves to be out of his enclosure, and is very curious.
Common Name: Jackson's Chameleon
Scientific Name: Trioceros jacksonii
Type: Lizard
Diet: Insectivore
Average Life Span: 4-10 years
Size: 10 inches
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern
Current Population Trend: Stable

About the Jackson's Chameleon

Jackson’s chameleons are bright emerald green fading to a yellowish color on their undersides. Males are generally 10-12” long with a long, prehensile tail accounting for half of their length, and with three horns protruding from their forehead. Females are generally a little shorter and never grow horns. Jackson’s chameleons are solitary creatures which spend most of their time in trees. Chameleons move with a distinctive slow rocking motion. The lifespan in the wild is variable, with males generally living longer than females.


Jackson's chameleons are native to woodlands and forests at altitudes of 5,250 to 8,010 ft in south-central Kenya and northern Tanzania. In these areas, the rainfall is seasonal but exceeds 50 in per year. Day temperatures are typically 61–81 °F, and night temperatures are typically 39–64 °F. Jackson's chameleon is more widespread in Kenya, where it is even found in wooded areas of some Nairobi suburbs. The subspecies T. j. xantholophus (native to the Mount Kenya region) was introduced to Hawaii in 1972 and has since established populations on all main islands and became invasive species there. This subspecies has also been introduced to Florida. In Hawaii, they are found mainly at altitudes of 330 to 3,280 ft in wet, shady places. Historically this population was the primary source of Jackson's chameleons for the exotic pet trade in the United States, but exports from Hawaii are now illegal. This has been done to prevent opportunists from willfully establishing further feral animal populations to capture and sell them.


In captivity, Jackson's chameleons require high humidity, and are in general very needy of colder temperatures during the night. Too much heat, or excessive humidity, can cause eye infections and upper respiratory infections in these animals. In captivity, the Jackson's chameleon can be expected to live between 5 and 10 years


Jackson's chameleons live primarily on a diet of small flying insects. They also prey on centipedes, isopods, millipedes, spiders, lizards, small birds, and snails in their native habitat.

T. jacksonii are less territorial than most species of chameleons. Males will generally assert dominance over each other through color displays and posturing in an attempt to secure mating rights, but usually not to the point of physical fights.

Most chameleons are oviparous, but Jackson's chameleon gives birth to offspring soon before they are ready to hatch from their egg sac; 8 to 30 live young are born after a 5- to 6-month gestation.

Source: Hawaii.gov and Wikipedia