Have you recently purchased a Jackson’s chameleon?
Do you want to learn about the best way to take care of a Jackson’s chameleon?
Are you worried about getting everything set up and ready for your new pet?
Jackson’s chameleons are among the most popular types of chameleons, and learning how to take care of a Jackson’s chameleon is a critical step in setting your new pet up for success.
Continue reading to learn more about how to care for a Jackson’s chameleon.
Table of Contents
Before you bring your new Jackson’s chameleon home, there are items you will need to have purchased and set up before you introduce your chameleon to his new space.
In this section, we will outline all the materials you will need to take care of your Jackson’s chameleon.
Jackson’s chameleons can grow up to a foot in length, so their cages must be large.
The minimum cage size is 2′ feet long by 2′ feet wide and 3′ feet tall.
Only one Jackson’s chameleon should be housed in a cage, as males, in particular, are incredibly aggressive with each other.
Putting two in one cage will lead to fighting and stress, which is bad for the health of these chameleons.
A glass terrarium with mesh is ideal for these creatures, and fine metal or fiberglass mesh is not a good choice for a Jackson’s chameleon.
Natural Cage Accessories
Jackson’s chameleons need lush and natural spaces to spend their time in.
It is recommended to use several large, natural branches in your enclosure, so these creatures have something to climb on.
Vines and other plants should also be used in your enclosure.
A good rule is to include plants, vines, and branches slightly larger than your chameleon’s grip, so they can easily use them to climb around their cage to different basking spots.
Hibiscus, pothos, and dracaena are great plants for a Jackson’s chameleon cage.
Wood chips should never be used in a Jackson’s cage as they are choking hazards, and all plants should be pesticide-free.
Some owners use paper towels under potted plants and as bedding or invest in Zoo Med Eco Carpet.
Lights & Heaters
Jackson’s chameleons have particular heat requirements, which will require attention and specific lights and heaters.
During the day, temperatures should be monitored with an electronic thermometer to make sure they are between 75° and 83° degrees Fahrenheit (24° – 28° C).
Their basking spots around the cage should measure between 84° and 87° degrees Fahrenheit (29° – 30° C).
During the evening, the temperature can drop to 60° degrees Fahrenheit (15° C).
The best options are incandescent or basking light in a reflector or a ceramic heating element.
The heating lights should be kept far enough away from the branches so the chameleons won’t burn themselves.
Jackson’s also require full spectrum UV lights.
Humidity & Water
Jackson’s chameleons have very specific humidity requirements.
The humidity levels in a Jackson’s cage should be between 50 and 80 percent.
There are several ways to keep humidity levels high.
First, you should mist the cage at least twice daily with a spray water bottle.
Place a hygrometer in the cage to measure the humidity levels.
While it’s a good idea to keep a water dish in the cage, Jackson’s chameleons get most of their water from droplets on plants.
Placing a drip system to slowly drip water on plants will help provide your chameleon with plenty of drops to nourish itself throughout the day.
Keeping the cage clean is important for keeping your Jackson’s chameleon healthy.
Spot cleaning should be done once every other day.
Deep cleaning should happen once a week, and the interior of the cage should be wiped down and disinfected thoroughly.
Jackson’s Chameleon Diet
Once you have your cage set up and ready, you are ready to focus on caring for your Jackson’s Chameleon.
Caring for a Jackson’s chameleon is relatively simple, as long as you know the basics.
Continue reading to learn the basics of Jackson’s chameleon care.
Jackson’s chameleons are insectivores, meaning they eat insects.
Some of the best insects to feed you Jackson’s chameleon are:
- Fruit flies
- Super worms
These are all great insect options to feed your Jackson’s chameleon, and wild-caught insects are also fine if you are certain they haven’t been exposed to pesticides.
When you purchase your insects, make sure to keep them for a few days before feeding them to your chameleon and gut load them.
Gut loading is when you feed the insects nutritious foods you want your chameleon to benefit from.
Cricket Crack is an easy, nutritious product to feed your crickets, which is especially great for Jackson’s chameleons.
- Cricket Crack is designed to increase the nutritional benefit of insects before they are fed.
- This is a dry gutload only, but can be mixed into a paste by adding water.
- Use of Fresh veggies and fruit, or water crystal, to supply insects with moisture is another option when using this Dry gutload.
Sometimes Jackson’s will also eat plants like mustard greens, sugar snap peapods, and collard greens.
These are attached to the side of the cage.
How to Feed A Jackson’s Chameleon
Jackson’s chameleons should be fed once every other day. When it is time to feed them, you simply place the appropriate amount of live bugs in their cage and let them feed for 10 to 15 minutes.
Their pieces of prey should not be larger than the space between their eyes.
The number of bugs depends on the age of the chameleon.
Babies get as much as they can eat twice a day, juveniles get 10 to 12 crickets each day, subadults get 8 to 10 crickets a day, and adults get 6 to 8 every other day.
Give your chameleons 10 to 15 minutes to eat, and if the chameleon stops pursuing food after this time, scoop up any leftover bugs and save them for another day.
Jackson’s chameleons will benefit from supplements to their diet.
Gut loading is a great way to make sure chameleons get the nutrients they need, and dusting their prey can work well too.
Dusting is simply the act of dusting powdered nutrients onto the bugs before feeding your chameleon.
Jackson’s chameleons will need a lot of calcium and general multivitamins.
These are great mixed into water or dusted onto prey once a week.
While it is okay to give your Jackson’s chameleon dead bugs in a cup or to feed them by hand, it is important to sometimes offer them live prey.
Chameleons need to work their tongue, like any other muscle, to keep it fit and healthy.
Let your chameleon chase some bugs around the cage a couple of times a month.
This provides good exercise for them and keeps their tongue muscles working.
Jackson’s Chameleon Health Issues
Jackson’s chameleons, like many chameleons, are prone to certain health issues.
New chameleon owners need to know what to look out for in their chameleons and what health issues to worry about.
Continue reading to learn how to keep your Jackson’s chameleon healthy.
There are many common illnesses and injuries a Jackson’s chameleon can experience.
Here are some common issues you should keep your eye on:
Eyes & Mouth: Make it a habit to look at your chameleon’s mouth every so often, and especially if you notice your chameleon isn’t eating or is having trouble eating.
Mouth abrasions and cuts are not uncommon but should be treated by a veterinarian.
A chameleon’s eyes are also important to notice.
During the day, a chameleon’s eyes should be alert and open.
If you notice your chameleon’s eyes are closed or heavy during the day, there may be something wrong.
Infections: When you first get your Jackson’s chameleon, take it to the veterinarian to have its stool examined for parasites, as these are common.
Also, pay attention to your chameleon’s body and note if any cuts, wounds, or areas of skin look infected or take a long time to heal.
If a chameleon hurts itself on a stick or if it isn’t shedding properly, it can develop infections on its skin.
Limbs: Chameleons can often hurt their limbs, so it is important to monitor how your chameleon is walking and grabbing onto things.
If you notice your chameleon has trouble grasping, walking, or balancing, take your chameleon to a professional.
Temperament & Lifespan
A Jackson’s chameleon is a wonderful chameleon to keep, as they are beautifully colored, and the males have three horns.
However, this chameleon is sometimes aggressive, so they should be kept individually in their cages, and their handling should be kept to a minimum.
If you are looking for a chameleon you don’t need to handle, a Jackson’s chameleon is a wonderful choice.
Jackson’s chameleons live between 4 and 10 years, so you will enjoy this pet for a long time.
Did you enjoy learning more about how to take care of a Jackson’s chameleon?
Do you feel more prepared to welcome a new Jackson’s chameleon into your home?
Preparing your space and learning more about the unique qualities of a Jackson’s chameleon is an important thing to do before bringing a new pet home.
Jackson’s chameleons have some special habitat and diet requirements but are relatively simple to keep.
We hope you enjoyed learning more about how to care for a Jackson’s chameleon.