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Jackson Chameleon Care Sheet
The Jackson chameleon is definitely not an easy lizard to care for, but, if you’ve tried your hand at a Veiled already, consider this Jackson step #2. One rule for Chameleon care: They are NOT a snuggly toy. Keep your hands off your chameleon. Think of it as a living Picasso on your wall. Handling is the number one killer for chameleons. Keep it in a quiet stress free room. That means no TV, no radio, no dog, no kids, no main traffic. A chameleon lives only 5 to 7 years. A handled chameleon lives 1 year.
Trioceros jacksonii (common names Jackson's Chameleon or Three-horned Chameleon) is an African chameleon belonging to the chameleon family (Chamaeleonidae). These are small to medium sized chameleons. Their adult size is 12 inches (30 cm) in total length. They have a saw-tooth shaped dorsal ridge. There is no gullar crest. They attain sexual maturity after five months. The lifespan is variable, with males generally living longer than females. Males develop the 3 horns.
Animal – A chameleon is an isolated animal. It cannot tolerate cage mates. Someone will die. House your chameleon singly. Even out of sight of another chameleon or other reptile.
Cage – A Jackson chameleon needs an all mesh cage, they need this to enable a constant flow of fresh air. The cage should be taller than it is wide, with a base no smaller than 3' x 3'. You should look to purchase a cage that is at least 5 feet tall. Chameleons like to climb, so an abundance of branches or vines should be offered in their cage. Fake plants or real plants should be placed strategically to offer various hiding places. A somewhat deep tub of sand (roughly 7 inches) should be provided for female veiled chameleons to potentially lay her eggs in. If this isn't provided, a female could possibly get eggbound, which sometimes results in death.
Lighting/Temperature – A chameleon needs a full spectrum of lighting. They need a UVB bulb to produce vitamin D3, which enables them to absorb calcium. You need to produce a temperature gradient, whereby one end of the cage is hotter than the other. Do this by heating one far corner of the chameleon's cage. The cooler side of the cage can fall to 78°, while the hotter side of the cage needs a basking spot in the range of 95° to 100°. A mercury vapor bulb produces both heat and UVB light, but can be considerably more expensive.
Food – A chameleon eats mainly insects. Crickets are the usual choice, with silkworms, butterworms, roaches and the occasional wax worm. The worms can be hand fed, while the crickets and roaches should be allowed to roam free to give the chameleon a chance for exercise and the thrill of the hunt. These lizards also need a vitamin and calcium supplement. Babies and juveniles should have their insects dusted once a day, while adults can get by on a once or twice a week dusting. Insects should be offered on a daily basis. Care needs to be taken to make sure you gut load (feed nutritious fruits and vegetables) your insects 24 hours to 48 hours before you feed them to your chameleon. Make sure your chameleon's food is considerably smaller than your pet lizard's mouth; this prevents choking. You need to make an effort to provide a variety of both insects. Water is a little bit more difficult, as chameleons will not drink from a water dish. A drip system on the top of the cage is the best method to providing water to your pet chameleon. You need to simulate dew and or raindrops, as this is a chameleon's natural way of drinking water. In addition to a drip system, the cage needs to be misted at least twice a day. There is a digital misting system that is inexpensive that will mist your cage when you want, and for how long you want.
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