Questions about Trioceros sp. in captivity


New Member
Hello all!

I am very interested in some discussion regarding the Trioceros genus in captivity from some experienced keepers. I am fascinated by this genus and really want to start keeping them, but I have some questions and concerns I would like to have some clarification on.

It is my understanding that most if not all Trioceros sp. are from higher altitudes and thus require lower temperatures and high humidity. What stands out and I find interesting is people saying that a big night time drop in temperature is necessary for them to function correctly (from ambient high of 26c day to 15c or even lower at night?). I understand the need for a night time drop because of their geographical range in the wild but the numbers I have been seeing don't seem practical or possible for the average keeper? Yet many people keep them and they are available to buy CB from breeders.

A contradiction I have found interesting is that Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus cannot live without the large nighttime drop in temperature, yet they are a pest and thrive in Hawaii which is completely different to where they naturally occur. I am sure they have night time drops but surely it is not as extreme?

I would really like some experienced responses from people who actually keep the species successfully and not just regurgitated facts from the top google search (no offence intended).
Here are my main questions I have:

-What in your experience are the acceptable temperature ranges for trioceros sp. that you work with?

-Which trioceros sp. is best in captivity in terms of hardiness, ability to handle warmer temperatures etc.

-Opinion on keeping pairs/trios of trioceros together in large vivaria. I have read that it is more possible then it is with veileds/panthers.

-Everywhere I read seems to suggest that screen cages are the only way to keep these chameleons successfully. What is your opinion on this? I keep other reptiles that are described as similarly sensitive and they are not kept in screen cages. There is always more then 1 way to crack an egg if you know what I mean!

I am a seasoned reptile keeper and know how to setup enclosures correctly for humidity/temperature/basking/airflow etc, but of course there are limits to what is practical in the home. I live in an apartment so no underground cold basements for me to utilize. I now live in Sweden and of course it gets cold here but we warm our home more then 15c in the winter.

Greatly appreciate if you have time to reply with any knowledge you would like to share :)


Chameleon Enthusiast
Welcome to the forum.
I don't have xanths. but I do keep jacksonii jacksonii and their care is very similar. The night time temperature drop is preferable for greater longevity. I don't find it practical to air condition my house down to 15˚C all summer but I do go that low or a bit lower in the winter. In the summer I go as low as 17-18˚C. Xanths. in Hawaii do survive but the night time temperatures do dip into the 60-70˚F range and many live at elevation there. The Hawaiian xanths are not as robust as the ones we see directly from Kenya. Hard to say if that is related to the weather or the inbreeding from the small sample that started the invasion.

In regards to the humidity expert are now recommending moderate humidity during the day 40-50% range and a night time humidity in the 80-100% range. This is more consistent with their native conditions. High day time humidity is associated with a variety of infections. Their day time humidity can go as low as 35% in the driest parts of their year. I don't go to that extreme with mine.

I believe they do best in individual cages. They tend to internalize their stress more than the others but it will get to them eventually. You would need a ridiculously large cage (room sized) and very dense planting to keep them together even in a pair. Keep in mind males are capable of eating the young and the female eventually will as well. Screen or glass vivs are both acceptable the only requirements are enough height to create a wide temperature, UVB and humidity gradient so they have ample choices to suit their needs. Each type of cage will have to be adjusted accordingly. Screen is best if you have high humidity and glass if you have low humidity. Glass vivs need to be vented at the bottom so the chimney effect created by the lights will give them decent ventilation. Aquariums are not acceptable, too low and no ventilation. Because you are trying to recreate an arboreal habitat the more height you can give them the better. Xanths need 122cm and jacksonii need at least 91cm.
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There is a third smaller species, merumontanus, but I don't know them wells none have been imported her in quite a while.

Here are some better care sheets and articles for you:
I'm happy to answer any questions you have.
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