Are you thinking about purchasing the dinosaur-like Jackson’s chameleon but are curious about how large they get?
Or maybe you already have your own Jackson’s chameleon but are still wondering how big do Jackson chameleons get once they reach adult size?
From knowing what size of cage you should purchase to determining if a Jackson chameleon is the right pet for you, it’s important to understand how big these colorful, three-horned creatures get.
There are three different subspecies of Jackson’s chameleons, all with slightly different sizes, ranging from small (6″ inches) to medium-sized (14″ or 15″ inches).
We now examine the three subspecies of Jackson’s chameleons to help you determine just how big your chameleon is going to get.
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But first, a quick note on chameleon measurements.
The total length of a chameleon is measured from the tip of its nose to the tip of its (uncoiled) tail.
Keep in mind, while a chameleon’s total measurement may sound long, its tail, typically coiled, is quite long (maybe even double the length of its body size), so the chameleon will appear to be smaller than its total measurement describes.
The SVL (or snout to vent) measurement indicates how many inches long the chameleon is from the tip of its nose to its vent or hind legs region.
The SVL measurement excludes the tail, giving you a better idea of how big the chameleon is.
Yellow-Crested Jackon’s Chameleon
The Trioceros Jacksonii Xantholophus, also known as the easier-to-pronounce Yellow-crested Jackson’s Chameleon (because of its unique yellow crest), was discovered in 1988 and is the largest of all Jackson’s chameleon subspecies.
Locally found in the cool, mountainous rainforests of Kenya and Tanzania, this subspecies of Jackson’s chameleon was also introduced to Hawaii and can now be found feral on the islands.
Yellow-crested Jackson’s chameleons are the most popular subspecies of Jackson’s chameleons found in the pet industry today, so chances are, your pet Jackson’s chameleon is a Yellow-crested Jackson’s Chameleon.
Yellow-Crested Jackon’s Chameleon Hatchling Size
Unlike most other chameleon types, Jackson’s chameleons (including all three subspecies), do not reproduce by laying eggs.
Instead, they carry their young inside them to full-term.
Around 190 days after mating, the female Jackson’s chameleon gives birth to anywhere from 8 to 30 live young.
Each hatchling is enclosed in a gelatinous egg sac (not a tough-shelled egg), and after breaking out of this sac, it is left to fend for itself in the wild.
Yellow-crested Jackson’s chameleon’s hatchlings measure 5 to 6 centimeters in length (snout to tail), but they grow quickly, maturing to full size around eight months of age.
Yellow-Crested Jackon’s Chameleon Adult Size
Adult males are larger than females, measuring between 10″ to 15″ inches total (snout to tail), with body size (or SVL) of 4″ – 6″ inches.
Females are typically between 7″ to 8″ inches snout to tail.
An adult yellow-crested Jackson’s chameleon may weigh anywhere from 80 to over 150 grams in the case of a large, pregnant female.
Jackson’s Three-horned Chameleon
Also native to Kenya, the Trioceros Jacksonii Jacksonii, otherwise known as Jackson’s three-horned chameleon, is the rarest type of Jackson’s chameleon in the United States’ pet trade.
Unlike other Jackson’s chameleons, male Jackson’s Three-horned chameleons are not the only ones to have mini-triceratops-looking horns.
Females of this subspecies can have either 1 or 3 small horns protruding from above their nose and eyes.
However, females’ horns will be much smaller than males’.
Jackon’s three-horned Chameleons Hatchling Size
Jackon’s three-horned chameleonsdeliver live young measuring only 5 to 6 centimeters in length and weighing only a few grams.
From the time they’re born, hatchlings will quickly begin to hunt for insects, enabling them to grow to full size within 8 to 10 months.
However, even though they are capable of hunting on their own right away, newborn Jackson chameleon’s small size makes them extremely vulnerable to predators (like frogs, rodents, and small birds) looking for an easy meal in the wild.
Jackon’s three-horned Chameleons Adult Size
On average, adult three-horned chameleon’s measure between 8″ to 10″ inches long (snout to tail) and around 4″ to 6″ inches SVL.
Again, there is no specific weight, but most Jackon’s three-horned Chameleons will reach an adult weight of around 80 to 150 grams.
Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleons
The smallest of Jackson’s chameleon subspecies, Trioceros Jacksonii Merumontanus, popularly known as the Dwarf Jackson’s chameleons (due to their small size), are native to the Mt. Meru region of Tanzania.
According to CITES, only 500 Dwarf Jackson’s chameleons are taken from the wild and exported annually for the pet trade.
At the same time, only 143 captive-bred or farm-raised in Tanzania can enter the pet trade annually.
Despite these restrictions, this small but striking chameleon, with its dark green body color, blue-green eyelids, and yellow head coloring, is a popular choice for reptile pet owners.
Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleons Hatchling Size
With both parents only measuring 2″ to 4″ inches from snout to tail, it’s no surprise Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleons hatchlings are born measuring only a few centimeters in length.
Remarkably, within minutes of being born, these tiny creatures can extend their long tongues to feed on insects and drink water.
Dwarf Jackson’s chameleons are fully grown in length after 8 to 12 months, but like all Jackson’s chameleons, they will continue to gain weight until they reach two years of age.
Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleons Adult Size
As the smallest of Jackson’s chameleon subspecies, adult Dwarf Jackson’s Chameleon males may only grow to be a few inches in length, totaling 6″ to 8″ inches from snout to tail and a mere 3″ to 4″ inches from snout to vent (SVL).
Females, though smaller in length, appear “bulkier” than their male counterparts.
The average weight of Dwarf Jackson’s chameleons is between 25 and 35 grams, significantly smaller than the other subspecies.
With Jackson’s chameleons small to medium size-range rarely exceeding 15″ inches in total length and usually weighing less than 150 grams, these colorful, horned creatures (resembling mini versions of the ancient triceratops dinosaur), are ideal pet choices for the experienced reptile enthusiast.
So if you’ve been wondering how big do Jackson chameleons get and struggling to know which cage to buy or whether it’s possible to even accommodate a Jackson cham in your space, we hope the information in this post answered your questions and enables you to better care for your Jackson chameleon.