Jackson’s Chameleon


Image: Wikipedia.org (Creative Commons License)

Description: The Jackson’s, or Three-horned Chameleon, is the prototypical chameleon reaching a maximum length of about twelve inches. They are normally bright green with a saw-like dorsal ridge (on the back and have three conspicuous horns that protrude from the head. Females are brownish or dull green. Like most chameleons, the Jackson’s can change its colors based on mood, temperature, or environment. It may change its color to red or orange when predators are near, or, to cryptic shades to blend with the environment. Chameleons have short necks, long, prehensile tails (that often are curled up at rest) and eyes that focus independently giving them 360 degree vision.

Diet: Chameleons primarily feed on insects. When hunting, the chameleon will shoot its sticky tongue to snatch insects from leaves and branches. The fast moving tongue is extremely long and can extend more than 18 inches. The tongue’s full length can be extended in one sixteenth of a second. Water is obtained as it falls from leaves.

Habitat/Range: The Jackson’s Chameleon inhabits forested, mountainous parts of Kenya and Tanzania in eastern Africa. They prefer to remain in the trees and only venture to the ground to mate or to lay eggs.

Breeding: The Jackson’s Chameleon gives birth to 8 to 30 young. Unlike many land-dwelling reptiles, this reptile has live births. Gestation lasts from five to six months. These chameleons can live up to ten years.

Status: The Jackson’s Chameleon is common, but many have been taken from their habitats to be sold in the exotic pet trade.