Male Jackson's chameleon perched on a dried piece of wood.

Jackson's chameleon

Horns in the treetops

Type

lizard

Reptiles

Area

Map of Africa

Africa

Endangered Status

Stable

facts

size
12 inches
length
A pencil is 7.5 inches long.
Jackson's chameleon
food
insects
insectivore
habitat
forests,
mountains
forest habitat

description

Male Jackson's chameleon displaying it's triceratops dinosaur-like horns.

Mini triceratops

It’s easy to tell a male Jackson's chameleon from a female: only the males have horns. The male's 3 horns make him look a little like a mini triceratops! Because of this fancy headgear, these lizards are sometimes called 3-horned chameleons. The horns are used to defend the male's territory. They may lock horns and try to push each other off a narrow tree branch.

Jackson's chameleon walking across a thin tree branch.

At home in trees

These colorful chameleons live up in trees. Their prehensile tail helps them keep a grip as they crawl from branch to branch. Instead of drinking water, they lick dew from leaves.

Female Jackson's chameleon

Moms give birth

Most types of chameleons reproduce by laying eggs. But Jackson’s chameleons do it very differently. Instead of laying a tough-shelled egg, the female carries her young inside her body.

Baby Jackson's chameleon

On their own

When the Jackson's chameleon babies are born, their mother doesn’t feed them. Instead, young chameleons begin hunting tiny insects as soon as they are able, with no help from Mom!

Jackson's chameleons live in mountain forests of Kenya and Tanzania.