Jackson’s Chameleon

Common Name: Jackson’s Chameleon
Scientific Name: Chamaeleo jacksonii
Distribution: Kenya & Tanzania, Africa.
Size: 3-5″ species dependent
Life Span:Males: 8-10 yr, Females: 3-5 yr

Jackson’s Chameleons have long been among the most popular chameleon species kept as pets. This is a small, beautiful species of chameleon that has fascinating behaviors and requires more moderate temperatures than most species. Chameleons require daily care and are considered higher maintenance than many other reptiles. Jackson’s chameleons are a good choice for beginning chameleon hobbyists, yet are challenging for a beginning reptile keeper. Captive bred Jackson’s Chameleons are readily available and are always recommended over wild caught animals.


  • Zoo Med’s REPTIBREEZE® Open Air Screen Cages are the perfect match for Jackson’s Chameleons.
  • Young chameleons can be kept together in a glass Naturalistic Terrarium®, but should be housed separately once they are eating well and are established.
  • Provide plenty of climbing branches and broad leaf plants to create cover and climbing opportunities.
  • Be sure that any live plants being used are non-toxic because Chameleons will occasionally eat plants. Ficus Trees are a good choice for Jackson’s Chameleons.
  • Offer branches of varying sizes to help your growing chameleon develop a strong grip.


  • Daytime Terrarium Temperature: 75-83° F
  • Basking Spot: 84-87° F
  • Nighttime Temperature: Above 58° F
  • Zoo Med’s Basking Spot Lamp™, PowerSun® and Repti Halogen™ Lamps are great choices for heating chameleon enclosures.
  • Chameleons prefer a nighttime drop in temperature. We recommend a low wattage heat bulb such as a Nightlight Red™ or Nocturnal Infrared Heat Lamp.
  • The ReptiTemp™ 500R Thermostat or Hygrotherm™ can be used to regulate temperatures or control heating elements.
  • UVB Lighting is essential for chameleons to process calcium in captivity.
  • Zoo Med’s ReptiSun® 5.0 Linear or Compact Fluorescent Lamps are a great choice for providing chameleons with UVB. The PowerSun® is an excellent way to provide both UVB and Heat all in one lamp!
  • Without UVB lighting chameleons will develop serious health problems such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
  • UVB Lighting should be left on for 10-12 hours per day and turned off at night.
  • Allowing your chameleon to bask in the sun whenever possible is always strongly recommended.


  • Cage carpeting such as Zoo Med’s Eco Carpet™ is the easiest substrate to maintain chameleons on.
  • It is strongly recommended that young chameleons are not kept on any type of loose substrate. Eco Carpet™ is the safest and cleanest choice for young chameleons.


  • Jackson’s Chameleons are insectivorous animals and will require a varied diet of insects.
  • Insects such as crickets and mealworms are a good staple diet. We recommend “gut-loading” your feeder insects with Cricket Care™ prior to feeding your animals.
  • Zoo Med’s ReptiCalcium® and ReptiVite™ with Vitamin D₃ should be added to food as directed. Calcium and multi-vitamins are critical to keeping your growing chameleon healthy and active.
  • Zoo Med’s Can O’ Insects makes offering a variety of feeders easy!
  • Feed Daily and remove all uneaten insects from the enclosure after feedings.


  • Always provide a shallow dish of fresh water and add ReptiSafe® Water Conditioner to your tap water to remove Chlorine and Chloramines.
  • Most chameleons prefer to drink or lap water from leaves. This can be replicated in captivity by offering a drip system or a misting system.
  • Zoo Med offers several products that will allow you to provide your chameleon with drinking water. The Big Dripper™ will allow you to drip water onto leaves from above the cage. The MotoMister™ makes daily spraying a bit easier.
  • The Habba Mist® will provide a scheduled misting of your terrarium.


  • Did you know Jackson’s Chameleons are viviparous? This means that they give birth to live young, instead of laying eggs like most chameleons.
  • Always remove baby Jackson’s Chameleons immediately from the parent’s enclosure, they will eat their own babies!

Habitats or Enclosures

Habitat / Enclosure Accessories

Heating & Heat Related Products



Nutrition & Related Products

Other Items