Jackson's Chameleon Help (First Time Owner)

Carter42

New Member
Just as a bit of background:
I've been on the site for probably six months or so now, I've owned a few reptiles in the past but chameleons have always been a dream pet of mine, and I've done a ton of research. I'm not just some schmuck that bought a chameleon on a whim because it sounded cool. (And before anyone says it: I've read all the resources pages multiple times, I've also talked to owners, talked to reptile breeders/store owners, taken notes on everything, etc.)


I finally got my first chameleon on Saturday, but I was wondering if anyone with experience (specifically with Jackson's) could help me out just to make sure I'm doing everything right, and to help me out in the vitamins/mineral department. I think I've got pretty much everything else figured out, but it's one thing to read and listen to generic advice, and something completely different to talk with someone with real experience.


Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus, male, ~3-4 months old, I've had him a little over a day. His name is Xanthous King Jeremiah.
  • Handling - He has been surprisingly friendly and calm around people. I've tried not to mess with him much, but my family is excited about the new pet and has all insisted on picking him up.
  • Feeding - I've fed him a 5-6 mealworms today, but that's only because that's all that was available at the time. I'll probably use dubia roaches and superworms as staple feeders. Also, I plan on primarily feeding him from bamboo tweezers or by hand.
  • Supplements - I currently only have a small tub of Repti-Calcium (w/o D3), but my local reptile shop recommended 4 supplements: Repashy Supervite, Vitamin A Plus, and Superpig as well as Miner-All. They gave a much more intense vitamin schedule than the caresheet (I know it's almost a joke about pet store employees, but this place is a reptile specific small local chain and all the employees are passionate reptile lovers. The girl just didn't have experience with chameleons, and I could tell that she was just basing her recommendations off of veiled/panther guidelines). Needless to say though, I held off until I could get a second opinion from someone who has actually owned Jackson's chameleons. I know Repashy has a good reputation, but are the compositions of the supplements good for Jackson's? are these all the supplements I need? what do you use? and how often do you use them?
  • Watering - I've been hand spraying a plastic plant and umbrella plant which he seems to enjoy drinking from. I also have a little dripper, but I don't really have somewhere to put it inside the cage, and the hose doesn't squeeze into the crack of the door very well. I could probably do better here, but I'm not planning on getting a Mist King or anything too fancy; I can deal with spraying by hand or using other more simple methods.
  • Fecal Description - Brown and white turds, nothing too crazy. As far as I know, he's never been checked for parasites.
  • History - I've been surprised by how docile he is. The seller put him in a small plastic container about the size of a tall cereal bowl and he just curled up at the bottom almost like he knew that he was going somewhere better than the noisy cage he shared with his siblings. After taking him out of the tiny container, he wasn't obviously distressed, was crawling all over me, and then sat in my hand for quite some time while looking out a window (see 1st picture). Unfortunately I had to repackage him for another 5 or 6 hours until I could get him home to his cage, so he went into a cardboard box I cut some holes into and put a paper towel in for him to grip onto. I got home late at night and when I opened the box he was fast asleep on a paper towel bed, and he sat in my hand a good 5 minutes before he would climb into the cage (see 2nd picture). Today, he was somewhat shy due to my family man-handling him a bit (they're all adults, they just aren't as gentle as I am, and probably scare the crap out of him when they try picking him up). I was still able to fed him in close proximity and when he moved to his plants to take a drink, he didn't shy away when I helped him out by replenishing the water on the leaves he was drinking from, and was even letting me mist him and drip water directly to his mouth. I knew Jackson's chameleons were supposed to be more amicable than Veileds for instance, but is this normal behavior? I can tell when he gets nervous from his body language, eyes, and color changes, but he seems to be indifferent to people for the most part.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - My cage is the Repti Breeze 16"x16"x30" (I got the Chameleon Starter Kit, it was on sale for the same price as just the cage, so I went for it)
  • Lighting - I'm using Zoo Med's Mini Combo Deep Dome with the 60W Daylight Blue and a Philips 60W Agro-Lite, as well as a Zoo Med Reptisun 14" Hood with a T5 HO.
  • Temperature - The floor ranges from about 68-72°F, middle area range is 70-75°F, basking area and ceiling reach 75-85°F depending (XKJ tends to stay in the middle, but moves towards the top on occasion to bask). I have a infrared laser thermometer (works great for checking body temp as well)
  • Humidity - I'm not quite sure what the levels are because I don't think my hygrometer is accurate (it moves in response to humidity, but the lowest I've seen it say is 60%). However, I spray down the plants often and have a cool-water fogger from amazon (Evergreen Pet Supplies Humidifier)
  • Plants - I have a ton of fake vines, driftwood, and cork bark for non-living. For live plants, I currently only have an umbrella plant, and a pothos inside, but I have a birds nest fern, more pothos, a bromeliad, a jade plant, and others near the cage, and ready to put in if I could find room.
  • Placement - The cage is located on top of a table (~waist height) next to stairs. There is a vent maybe 10 feet away and not blowing towards the cage. It is an open area with large windows facing East, noise and air blowing on the cage are minimal, cage surrounded by houseplants. I wouldn't call it a high traffic area, as people would only walk by when going up or down the stairs (traffic only experienced at 2 or 3 intervals per day)
  • Location - I live in Central California.

Current Problem - I just want people with first-hand experience with Jackson's to give their recommendations on ANY changes that I should be making, but my main concern is with vitamins/minerals.


Snapchat-2090954131[1].jpg
Snapchat-1066229747[1].jpg
20190210_155021.jpg
20190210_194735[1].jpg
20190210_180050[1].jpg
 

KRGEE21

Established Member
Congratulations. Love the horns on these guys, and looks like your off to a good start.

I do not have Jackson's but care for quadricornis is pretty similar.

Here is a link to the Jackson's care sheet.

https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/jacksons/

I use Repashey Calcium Plus as my vitamin/D-3 supplement(every other week), and plain calcium(phosphorus free) every couple feedings. My two cents for my specific environment. Others might have different protocol for their specific needs. Being in CA you will be able to give him more access the natural sun year round then I can in Seattle.
Your temperatures look to be in the correct range. To measure the humidity I use a weather monitor with two stations(one at the top, and one close to the bottom), so you can check the variances as well as the ambient in the room.
I would also suggest getting some crickets, dubais ASAP. Too many meal worms are not good. Phoenix worms,(Black Soldier Fly Larvae), horn worms, and silk worms seem to be the best options for worms. They are all readily available on EBAY, and Amazon. What are you planning on using for gutloading your feeders?
 

Devokid

Member
What Krgee21 said is all good stuff. The 2 changes I would make to your housing set up is #1) Get a live plant in there. I have found that live plants provide a bit more humidity as well as allowing the water to pool up a bit better. #2) Add a water drip system. I live in Utah, so the air here is very dry, as it is in many parts of CA. I have found that Jacksons do best if they have a drip system to drink as much as they want. Get away from mealworms ASAP. My Jacksons have all loved Dubias. Much easier to keep than crickets as well.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
i love jacksons, used to have one years ago, he was great, i would definitely get a live plant. jacksons chameleons need more humidity so they usually thrive best with a dripper like mentioned and maybe a hibiscus. they are known to really like hibiscus.
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
My supplement schedule for my Jacksonii jacksonii is Repashy Lo D very lightly or just on half the feeders weekly and plain calcium mixed half and half with powdered bee pollen twice weekly also very lightly and on half the feeders. I make my own gut load from the recommended list for my feeders.
Go easy on the superworms and ditch the mealworms like you planned asap they are both very addictive. You may have to use some crickets until he learns to take dubia. Little ones don't chirp and can be fed in a feeder if that is a concern.
I would back off his basking temp down to 80˚F until he is over 9 mos.
Use your humidifier over night to get high humidity and use the sprayer and dripper for the daytime. Live plants will give you better pockets of humidity for him to use as he desires. Wrapping 2-3 sides in clear plastic will also preserve humidity. A digital hygrometer is usually more accurate.
 

Carter42

New Member
I don't mean to be rude or call out specific people that are commenting, but it's frustrating using this site when half the people treat you like an idiot, nitpick, don't actually read what you write (or just think that they know better), and/or just tell you to read the caresheets when you have questions about the gaps in the information on the caresheets.
I specifically said I'm already quite familiar with what all the resource pages and caresheets say, and then what do you know, the first comment links to it anyway.

It just seems like it's a general attitude on this site that people tend to choose to be snobby and act like they know everything over actually being helpful, and new users and the site as a whole suffer for it. Again, I'm not trying to call specific people out (as I'm sure most of it is well-intended), I just want more people here to try to be more conscious of how we interact on the site. I feel like it's important to actively make sure that we aren't pushing people away if we want to nurture a long-lasting community that can continue to be helpful to all enthusiasts.

Thank you to everyone actively making this site a more positive and inviting place.


My supplement schedule for my Jacksonii jacksonii is Repashy Lo D very lightly or just on half the feeders weekly and plain calcium mixed half and half with powdered bee pollen twice weekly also very lightly and on half the feeders. I make my own gut load from the recommended list for my feeders.
Go easy on the superworms and ditch the mealworms like you planned asap they are both very addictive. You may have to use some crickets until he learns to take dubia. Little ones don't chirp and can be fed in a feeder if that is a concern.
I would back off his basking temp down to 80˚F until he is over 9 mos.
Use your humidifier over night to get high humidity and use the sprayer and dripper for the daytime. Live plants will give you better pockets of humidity for him to use as he desires. Wrapping 2-3 sides in clear plastic will also preserve humidity. A digital hygrometer is usually more accurate.

I'd really like as much input as possible from other Jackson's owners on supplements if you could point me in their direction, or link me to similar discussions.
Based on what you use and their guaranteed analyses, I think a good plan would be Miner-All Outdoor (~35% calcium and no D3 or Phosphorus) twice a week, and then alternate every week between Vitamin A Plus + Superpig (maybe do half and half), and Calcium Plus LoD. Does that sound reasonable? Should I include SuperVite or anything else in there?
I'll have to look into bee pollen more, is it just a good general dietary supplement for fats and amino acids?

I just don't know what the ideal quantities of vitamins and minerals should be, and I don't want to buy a bunch of vitamins only to find out that they'll poison my chameleon if I use them.


My plan is to get small dubias, some wax worms (as a treat, and to get something less chitinous in his system), and possibly black soldier larvae tomorrow, along with the vitamins. I hate crickets and will avoid them like the plague, I had a mantis and hand fed her crickets; it was a pain in the ass. They stink, they're fast, they can jump, they can escape easily, etc.
My little guy is tiny and could probably only fit a third of a superworm in his mouth if he really tried. I'll wait a few months before even thinking of giving him one.

85˚F is only like directly ON the ceiling, and it's hard for him to even get up there due to plant placement and his horns getting in the way. The highest point of his basking perch is almost consistently around 80-82˚F, and the slope is perfect for him to be able to bask wherever has the best temperature (although now idk what to do when he eventually needs more heat...).

The dripper I'm currently running for a few hours when I know I can keep the door open, otherwise, I've been doing a complete spray down at least once per day, and then I target his drinking areas at least three times. Is there any ways to automate watering more besides buying a sprinkler system, or cutting up my cage to fit the little dripper's hose in?

I've been running the fogger during the day at least ~4 hours, you don't think it'd cool him down too much to run it at night? He doesn't seem to like it too much as it is, tends to hang out in the "drier" areas of the cage, and only seems to go to the fog+drip+plant area if he's thirsty. I'll look into getting a digital hygrometer though, and using plastic wrap if necessary.
I have 2 live plants at the bottom, they're just somewhat obscured in the pictures, and I'll try to squeeze more on the bottom when I clean the cage. I'd like to have more plants in there, but Idk where they'd be able to fit besides devising some way to hang them from the mesh somehow.

PS: Any tips for getting him out of the cage to clean and/or rearrange things? I'm trying not to stress him out or forcibly grab him out of the cage, if possible.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
so tips for coaxing him out would be come from below and have food in your hand, hornworms and superworms are good treats and place them further and further up your arm and he'll come to the treats. also i see that your lamps are on the screen, that can be bad if your cham climbs on the ceiling. he could burn himself
 

GoodKarma19

Chameleon Enthusiast
In regards to getting plants off the cage floor, I really like these magnetic planters that I bought! They work really well and are attractive, too! They've pulled my screen in just a little bit, though, so I'd recommend dispersing some of the weight with a branch/vine. You can also check out Dragon ledges, which are fantastic at holding weight without causing damage/stress to the screen on your enclosure. I'll be purchasing a kit for my next build!

I haven't figured out a way around cutting holes in the screen in regards to drippers/probes/etc, but maybe someone else will chime in. At least it wouldn't be a very large hole!

~Amanda
 

JacksJill

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm busy today at work but I will try to answer part of your question for now and return to the rest later. So you know the standard Jackson supplement schedule from the care sheet. It's worked for a lot of people for a long time. "Use calcium (without D3 or phosphorus) twice a week, a multivitamin once a month, and calcium with D3 once a month." Any common brand of plain calcium is fine, calcium with D3 is the same. Multi vitamins vary but the name brands work well but people like to rotate them each purchase for better variety since the best balance of nutrients is only a theory. Miner-all separates the minerals and the vitamins either to keep them from reacting to each other in the container or to make you buy more products.
Bee pollen is recommenced by Petr Necas and so is overnight fogging. He does a lot of research in the field. You should be able to find threads that mention him on here for more info. Look up naturalistic hydration threads.
Everyone who responded to you earlier did so with the best of intentions. I don't think any disrespect was intended. They just gave you the best advise they knew to give rather than leave you without any answers.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't see how anybody was acting snobby, all I see is people taking their time to try and help out where they can. There's actually a ton of great minds that don't help on this site often or at all anymore because people come here, ask for advice, and then throw it in someone's face. It's obvious by your original post you went into this with a defensive attitude, let go of the ego for a second and just learn. Who cares if someone tells you something you already knew...

With so much experience, I'd expect you to know that humidity naturally rises and temperature drops at night, therefore run the fogger at night for hydration purposes. You'd know that temperatures at night above 50 are fine. You'd know that high humidity+warmth is a breeding ground for bacteria and could cause an RI.
 

MSPINAZ1

Established Member
i have had jacksons before and so far you seem to have done the right research and i encourage you to keep reading, and learning that process never stops. theres always something new to learn. also, beware of paralysis by analysis. in other words if hes healthy and eating etc dont over do it. i personally adhere to a no handling rule for at least 1-2 weeks. they need to settle in learn their new environment and establish a routine. My pic is a 3mo old juvenile ambilobe male panther, that i have only had for 6 days. i have 3 children dying to "hold" him. but i wont allow it. right now they are entertained just trying to find him. I understand your family is excited and even curious which is great but he stressed even if you dont think he is. My best and only tip right is to observe and keep doing everything you can to make him happy and comfortable. i know its hard even if they seem receptive and our desire to bond with them. That all being said i was eventually able to handle mine and even hand fed him! The pics look great and if hes light/bright green hes generally happy. let him settle in. he and you will benefit for it in the long run. right now hes not sure if you hand is part of his enclosure or not. good luck!
 

Carter42

New Member
I don't see how anybody was acting snobby, all I see is people taking their time to try and help out where they can. There's actually a ton of great minds that don't help on this site often or at all anymore because people come here, ask for advice, and then throw it in someone's face.
Like I said, I wasn't trying to call out anyone here specifically because it wasn't that big of a deal, and I apologize to anyone that felt personally insulted. I just see people being disrespectful and almost snobbish to newcomers on the site often, and it's something I think people should try to think about before they write something, in order to create a more positive atmosphere. People who've been on the site for 11 years just tend to have negative attitudes towards people with less experience than themselves. And again, I'm sure most of it comes from wanting to help, I just think that we can all try to be more conscious of how we interact, because this should be a welcoming place to everyone.

It's obvious by your original post you went into this with a defensive attitude, let go of the ego for a second and just learn. Who cares if someone tells you something you already knew....
How does that have anything to do with ego? I'm not learning anything from getting information that I already have, and I want answers to my questions because that's the issue at hand. I know how the site works, if you don't go into specifics, someone will hunt you down for them before you get close to getting an answer.

With so much experience, I'd expect you to know that humidity naturally rises and temperature drops at night, therefore run the fogger at night for hydration purposes. You'd know that temperatures at night above 50 are fine. You'd know that high humidity+warmth is a breeding ground for bacteria and could cause an RI.
Thanks for proving my point by being patronizing.
 
Top Bottom