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Animal Database
Animal Database
Jackson's Chameleon
Jacksons chameleon
Common Name Three-horned Chameleon
Range Kenya and Tanzania.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Squamata
Family Chamaeleonidae
Genus Trioceros
Species Trioceros jacksonii

Jacksons Chameleon (Three-horned Chameleon) is an African Chameleon belonging to the Chameleon family (Chamaeleonidae).


Jacksons Chameleon was first described by a Belgian-British zoologist named George Albert Boulenger in 1896. Its generic name (Trioceros) is derived from the Greek words tri- meaning three and k​eras meaning horns. This is in reference to the three horns found on the heads of males. Its specific name is a Latinized form of English explorer and ornithologists Frederick John Jacksons last name, who was serving at the first Governor of Kenya at the time. The English word Chameleon (also Chamaeleon) derives from Latin Chamaeleo, a borrowing of the Ancient Greek Khamaileon, a compound of Khamai meaning on the ground and Leon meaning lion. The Greek calque translating the Akkadian, ground lion.


Latin name[]
Who discovered it[]
When was it discovered[]
Jacksons Chameleon Trioceros jacksonii jacksonii Boulanger 1896
Dwarf Jacksons Chameleon Trioceros jacksonii merumontanus Rand 1958
Yellow-crested Jacksons Chameleon Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus Eason, Ferguson, Hebrard 1988


Jacksons Chameleons are related to the humid, cooler regions of Kenya and Tanzania, East Africa found in great numbers at altitudes over 3,000 m. The subspecies Dwarf Jacksons Chameleon can only be found on Mount Meru and the Arusha Region of Tanzania. The subspecies Yellow-crested Jacksons Chameleon was introduced to Hawaii in the 1970s and has since established populations on all main islands. This population was the primary source of Jacksons Chameleons for the exotic pet trade. However, the exportation of these animals (and many others) from Hawaii for the pet trade has been made illegal to prevent opportunists from willfully establishing further feral animal populations in order to capture and sell them.

In captivity[]

These Chameleons make excellent pets and they could live up to 5-10 years in captivity.


Most Chameleons are oviparous, but Jacksons Chameleon gives birth to live offspring: 8-30 live young are born after a 5-6 month gestation. The subspecies Dwarf Jacksons Chameleon gives birth to 5-10 live young.


They are sometimes called Three-horned Chameleons because males possess three brown horns: on on the nose (the rostral horn) and one above each superior orbital ridge above the eyes (preocular horns), somewhat reminiscent of the Ceratopsid dinosaur genus Triceratops. The female generally have no horns, or traces of the rostral horn, through there are traces of the rostral horn in the subspecies the Yellow-crested Jacksons Chameleon. The colouring is usually bright green, with some individuals having traces of blue and yellow, but like all Chameleons it changes colour quickly depending on mood, health and temperature. These are small-medium sized Chameleons. There adult size is 12 inches (30 cm) in total length. They have a saw-tooth shaped dorsal ridge. Their is no gullar crest. They attain sexual maturity after five months. The lifespan is variable, with males generally living longer than females. Jacksons Chameleons live primarily on a diet of small insects. They are less territorial than most species of Chameleons. Males will generally assert dominance over each other through colour displays and posturing in an attempt to secure mating rights, but usually not to the point of physical fights.

In popular culture[]

The Fallout series of games includes a mutated version of Jacksons Chameleon called a Deathclaw. Sting Chameleon, a boss from the video game Mega Man X, is modeled after Jacksons Chameleon.