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Thermal preferences and hydroregulation capabilities of mountain chameleons

Thermo-hydroregulation: Projets

Project summary

This project aims to deepen our understanding of the physiological and behavioural needs of mountain chameleons (Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus), with key elements such as data on respiration, thermal preferences and the selection of the hygrometric environment.

This research not only offers a scientific breakthrough, but also promises significant contributions to the conservation of these animals, providing crucial information for conservation initiatives and the welfare of the species. These results could guide more informed conservation initiatives, strengthening our ability to protect these mountain chameleons and preserve their natural habitat. Ultimately, this study plays an active role in the preservation and sustainable understanding of these unique species.


The experimental approach of this project will be implemented thanks to the availability of the population of mount chameleons (Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus) bred in the association's breeding project.

Planification : 2023-2025

Budget : 10'000 CHF

Project ID : 0.4

Thermo-hydroregulation: Notre ferme
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Enclos intérieur d'élevage
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Thermo-hydroregulation: Texte
Thermo-hydroregulation: Notre ferme

Trioceros jacksonii : a reptile from the cold

The Jackson's Chameleon is native to the high altitude forests (sometimes over 2 000 metres) of Kenya and Tanzania. It is a species that is specifically adapted to mountain climatic conditions: low average temperatures, wide temperature ranges, high humidity and sporadic periods of sunshine.


This species is currently divided into 3 subspecies:

  • Jackson's chameleon: Trioceros jacksonii jacksonii (Boulenger, 1896)

  • Mount Kenya three-horned chameleon: Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus (Eason, Ferguson & Hebrard, 1988)

  • The dwarf chameleon of Mount Meru: Trioceros jacksonii merumontanus (Rand, 1958).

Adults of the largest subspecies (T. j. xantholophus) generally reach around thirty centimetres (total length) for males and slightly less for females. In this subspecies, the males are easily distinguished by the presence of 3 rostral horns. In the other two subspecies, females may have 1 or 3 horns, depending on the individual.

This mountain species is viviparous. Management lasts between 6 and 8 months. Litters are made up of 10 to 28 newborns. Sexual maturity is reached quickly, between 6 and 10 months, with males being earlier than females. It is preferable to wait until they are 12 to 18 months old before pairing them for the first time.

Trioceros jacksonii is listed as "Least Concern - LC". Although apparently not strongly affected by anthropogenic habitat change or current harvest levels overall, there are concerns about the sustainability of the scale of exploitation of the Tanzanian subspecies, which may become a major conservation concern if future research suggests it warrants recognition as a distinct species (Tolley, 2014).

  • Tolley, K. 2014. Trioceros jacksonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T172531A109922526.

Thermo-hydroregulation: Notre ferme
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Experimental facilities

November 2023: Our partner, Heperto-Technique, has designed bespoke facilities that comply with established standards to meet the needs of mountain chameleons. These facilities are specifically adapted to the application of experimental observation protocols developed by the Centre d'Études Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC).


This controlled environment not only facilitates the experimental approach of the study project, but will also contribute significantly to the overall well-being of these emblematic animals, reinforcing our efforts to promote the conservation of cold-zone reptiles.

Swiss-born chameleons move to new breeding centre in France

December 2023: The long-awaited day has finally arrived! All the necessary administrative procedures and authorisations have been put in place to allow the transfer of 14 Trioceros jacksonii, born in Switzerland, to France. These specimens are about to move into the brand new breeding centre set up by our partner, Herpéto Technique, with a view to studying them using the research protocols drawn up by Olivier Lourdais of the Centre d'Études Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC).


To ensure their safe journey, the chameleons underwent a veterinary check before leaving Switzerland. They were placed in individual boxes during their transfer and were examined by a vet on arrival in France. In accordance with French legislation, each specimen was fitted with an identification chip before being placed in its new terrarium. This process guarantees compliance with ethical and legal standards, ensuring the well-being and traceability of these chameleons throughout their transport to their new environment.

Thermo-hydroregulation: Notre ferme
Thermo-hydroregulation: Pro Gallery

Partners

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Pocerias
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Thermo-hydroregulation: Clients
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