Jackson Chameleons reach sexual maturity at 5 to 7 months of age. However, females are more likely to face reproductive related issues if mating before the age of 12 months. Mating periods for Jackson Chameleons are triggered by the local weather conditions. Several days of high temperatures and long hours of daylight mark when the mating period begins (McKeown 1997). Jackson Chameleons are considered to be invert chameleons. When out of mating season Jackson Chameleons will often avoid each other regardless of sex and if provoked will hiss and warn the opposing chameleon to leave. When in mating season, Jackson chameleons become more active and will seek for mates of the opposite sex, but finding the perfect mate is determined by several different factors (Holland et al. 2010). Like in most animals, the female chooses who she wishes to mate with. Female Jackson Chameleons base their mating decisions off several different features and abilities, which the male displays through mating rituals.

When a male Jackson Chameleon encounters a female the mating ritual commences. The male attempts to impress the female by swaying back and fourth and bobbing his head in different Male Jackson Chameleon engaged in mating ritualpatterns, almost as if he were dancing. The male will also extend his neck as far out as possible and open his mouth wide to create the illusion that he is bigger. By extending the neck and opening the mouth, the male, exposes and flexes the muscles, which are responsible for catching pray and gaining nutrients. This shows the female whether or not if its offspring will be more genetically probable to have advantages in the area of hunting and nutrient consumption, which would increase the likelihood of survival (Holland et al. 2010). The male, well still “Dancing”, lifts his front two legs up to show how well it can balance and also how strong he is. The most remarkable and mesmerizing part of the ritual is the color display put on by the male. He will rapidly change colors in attempts to create the most unique and vibrant color displays to help catch the female’s attention. This shows the female how capable the males camouflage ability is and also whether or not the offspring will have better chances of reproducing and attracting mates of their own.(Holland et al. 2010)

Two Males Jousting Over MateIn some cases two males will try to entice the female at the same time. If the female refuses to pick one of them the two males will spar with each other. The males charge at each other and once in range use their horns to joust with the other male. The winner is determined by whichever male chooses to back down first, is unable to compete anymore, or is knocked off the branch the female is occupying. Once a victor is determined the conquering male will attempt to entice the female once again. (McKeown 1997)

If the female chooses not to mate with that specific male she will warn the male by preforming a “dance” of her own. The female will rock violently back and forth and bobble her head in a aggressive manor showing her lack of interest well her tail coils inward to deter any attempt at mating. She will also change her skin color to a darker color with a molted pattern being displayed. On the other hand, if the female accepts the male as a mate she will lighten her skin color, curl her tail in an inviting manor to the male, to assist with the actual mating, and remain submissive when approached by the male. (O'Meara 2001)

Once the male gains acceptance from the female chameleon the male will use his mouth to grip the female’s neck to assist in the mounting process. Once properly mounted, the male inserts one of his two hemipenes into the female’s cloacal opening. Copulation between the two can take anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. Once done the male leaves the female and both the male and female go out to search for another potential mate. The female will continue on mating for eleven days, but never with the same male twice on the same day (Benirschke 2006).
Mating Jackson Chameleons. Photo by Kent Manchen.

 Gestation and Birth:

Gestation commonly last around seven to ten months after copulation. In this period, the female’s body appearance becomes lumpy and causes her to become clumsy. The appearance change is caused by the development of anywhere from 10-43 separate embryos developing within the female, although more and less then this range has been recorded in specific situations. The female becomes increasingly more stressed through gestation due to the difficulty of preforming everyday activates and also the added stresses of finding additional needed nutrients for herself and her young (Benirschke 2006). Jackson Chameleons are ovoviviparous. This means that the offspring completely develop inside the mother and once full development is reached the female chameleon gives live birth. When it comes time to born the offspring the female will walk across branches while releasing the fully developed chameleon, still in its embryonic sac during birth, one by one onto the branch below it, or let it fall to whatever lies below. The female is able to release each infant chameleon, still in a protective membrane, because there is no true umbilical cord attaching the mother to her young. The embryonic sac is covered in embryonic fluids, which make the sac likely to stick to branches and leaves below. By dropping the offspring from great heights the embryonic sac, which is now more like a thin membrane covering, is weakened allowing offspring to more easily escape the membrane(Kundinger 2001). Once born the infant Jackson Chameleons stretch and move to break their thin membrane surrounding them. Once the membrane is broken the infant chameleon is able to function completely independently from its mother (O’Meara 2001).



At birth the infant Jackson Chameleon measures in at around 52-55 mm in length and weighing .5 grams on average. In the first 24 hours after birth the infant chameleons are ready and able to start the hunt for food. At only two months of age the development of horns on their crest begins. When the age of 5 months is reached the chameleons will grow to 8-10cm in length and will only be a few short months away from reaching sexual maturity allowing them to mate and continue the circle of life (O’Meara 2001).

<Nutrition  Interactions>