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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Jacksons Chameleon

Jacksons Chameleon


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Traits & behavior

This means they eat mostly live insects.

They are active during the day and sleep at night.

Keep only one chameleon per habitat.

Change colors
They can change colors when they are excited, stressed, frightened or trying to blend into the environment.

Their eyes move independently of each other, allowing them to see two things at once.

They have long, sticky tongues up to one and a half times their body length.

Things to remember

Always supervise children when they're interacting with your chameleon.

Give your pet 3-4 days to adjust to his new home, then try holding him for short amounts of time -- only.

They come from a forest environment and need a home with lots of climbing branches.

Food safety
Remove uneaten insects from the habitat at the end of the day; do not allow to remain in habitat overnight.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.


Crickets & worms
Chameleons eat live insects, like "gut loaded" (feed the insects a special supplement so they have extra nutrients) crickets; older chameleons (longer than 7"-8") will also eat mealworms or waxworms.

Feeding frequency & amount
Feed juveniles 1-2 times a day; adults daily or every other day. Offer an amount that can be consumed by the end of the day.

Calcium dust
"Dust" the insects with a calcium supplement twice a week - ask an associate for details.

Mist four times daily or as needed to maintain the recommended humidity level as well as allow the Chameleon to drink.


Signs of a healthy Jackson's chameleon:

  • Clear, alert eyes
  • Shows colors changing from dull to bright
  • Eats and drinks normally
  • Well-formed droppings
  • Full, slightly rounded body and tail
  • Clear nostrils; breathes easily

Things to watch for:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Dull or brown coloration for more than two days
  • Runny droppings or red streaks in droppings for more than two days
  • Eating or drinking less; weight loss
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Swollen joints

If you notice any of the signs above, please consult an experienced Reptile Veterinarian as soon as possible.


Use a well-ventilated screen home -- the taller the better, as chameleons love to climb. The home should be at least 30"L x 16"W x 36"H.

Add a live tree and/or plant (a ficus or pothos works well), plus plenty of artificial reptile branches to create climbing areas.

Keep the humidity level inside the habitat at 65% or more -- a hygrometer (humidity gauge) will help you keep track. Thoroughly mist all leaves and branches in your pet's home at least twice a day.


  • Day - Maintain a daytime temperature between 70-80° F
  • Basking - Provide a basking spot lamp to create a localized basking area of 80-85° F
  • Night - Maintain a nighttime temperature between 60-70° F
  • Place a thermometer at each end of the home to monitor temperatures

Use a daytime UVA/UVB fluorescent bulb for approximately 12 hours of light per day to help your pet process calcium.

Night lighting
If the temperature outside the habitat is less than 65° F, use a specially-designed nighttime heat lamp.

Line the floor of the home with reptile carpet or other bedding. Remove waste weekly, and change bedding at least once a month.

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