Bradypodion fischeri
Scientific name Common name(s) alternate scientific names described by year size brood

Bradypodion fischeri

Fischer's Chameleon, Usambara (Uluguru) Two-Horned Chameleon Chamaeleon fischeri, Chamaeleo fischeri.
see a species list of Bradypodion
Reichenow 1887 Medium Eggs

B. fischeri is indigenous to the montane regions in Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Kenya)

B. fischeri fischeri inhabits region from the Nguru Mountains to the eastern Usambara Mountains, Tanzania.
B. fischeri multituberculatum is found in the western Usambara Mountains,Tanzania
B. fischeri ulugurensis inhabits the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania.
B. fischeri excubitor is known only from Mt. Kenya, Kenya.

Some authors have recently described a fifth subspecies, temporarily referred to as B. Fischeri "species nouveau" from the eastern Usambara Mountains to southeastern Kenya but this designation is, at best, tentative.

Description: B. fischeri is a medium-sized to large montane chameleon. The largest animals of this species reach an adult length form 15-16". White, yellow, lime to olive green, grey, brown and black colouration dominates the males. The females are mainly green with yellow patterns. The male's dorso-ventrally flattened rostral process is quite distinctive and can reach a length of 1" (20 mm). A dorsal crest of conical scales reaches the middle of the tail in the males. In the females it ends at the front third of the body.

Subspecies dictinctions:
B. f. fischeri. The rostral process is of equal width from base to tip with few serrated scales. The dorsal rim is straight. There are only small scales in the dorsal crest in the front third of the back. The females sport small rostral processes of several mm length and there are some tubercular scales in the front third of the back.

B. f. multituberculatum: The rostral process is wider at the base and has a rounded tip. The upper rim has a serrated appearance and the dorsal crest has pronounced tubercular scales, decreasing in size caudally. Females have small, round horn buds and pronounced scales on the on the dorsum that extend to the middle of the body.

B. f. ulugurensis: The head is shorter than in the other subspecies. The casque is elevated backwards and its shorter rostral process bends downwards. The upper rim is serrated in appearance and the dorsal crest is pronounced. Females lack horn buds and have multiple, small scales in the neck. Both sexes have a pale whitish lateral stripe.

B. fischeri "species nouveau": The rostral process is wider at the base than at the tip and bend bend downwards. It is lightly serrated with some pronounced tubercular scales in the first third of the back and the tail base, females lack horns as well as a dorsal crest.

Habitat: Moist, moderate climate montane forests, mainly in bushes and small trees at forest edges at an elevation from 2400 - 5100ft. Temperature varies only slightly throughout the year.

Captive Care: Individual housing is recommended, B. fischeri tend to feed on smaller lizards as well as the usual insects. Caging, temperature, humidity, lighting, hydration, and feeding requirements are identical to those for other common species from montane rainforests. See the requirements for C. jacksoni xantholophus

Breeding: The whole fischeri group is egg-laying. As long as there are no seasonal temperature changes breeding occurs throughout the year. The female should be introduced into the male's cage. If the female is receptive she will tolerate the male's approach without aggression. If the females rejects the male, the animals should be separated immediately. The eggs are buried after a gestation period of about eight weeks. There should be a layer of a slightly moist soil-sand mixture at least 8-10" deep in the female's cage. The female starts roaming the cage and reduces food intake several days before egg-laying. She starts digging a tunnel and deposits her eggs at its end. The soil temperature at the laying site should be around 65-68ºF. The clutch size varies between 12 and 20 eggs. During gestation the females should be fed daily with a mineral and vitamin balanced diet to avoid problems in egg-laying. The eggs should be removed from the cage and should be placed in an incubator. As substrate, Vermiculite, and in the last few years, Seramis (used in hydroponics) can be recommended. The substrate shouldn't be kept too wet (vermiculite:water in a ratio of 1:1).

Small plastic boxes ( e.g. Tupperware ) are filled halfway with the substrate and the eggs are buried so that 2/3 of the egg are below the surface and 1/3 of the egg above it. When put into the substrate the eggs must not be turned or twisted. The lid is closed and the box is put into the incubator. If the lid is opened once a week for monitoring no additional air holes are necessary. Condensed water has to be replaced carefully, but the substrate should not be too wet. The daytime incubation temperatures should be around 71-73ºF with a night drop to 62-64ºF for six months, after that 1-2ºC warmer. Under these conditions the babies hatch after 8-11 months depending on the subspecies. Shortly before hatching the eggs start to sweat, showing little drops of fluid on the shell. The eggs then start to crumple. Healthy babies slit the egg shell at this time with a small process on their noses, but remain inside the egg from several hours to as long as 24 hours. After hatching the babies start immediately to roam the incubation box, drying out the remains of the yolk sac. The babies can be raised in small groups at first, but should be housed individually after 2-3 months. Temperature and humidity conditions are similar to those of the adults although the temperature should be kept slightly lower. Humidity is important as is mineral and vitamine supplementation. Sexual maturity occurs at 9-12 months but breeding is best delayed until 14-16 months. Maximum lifespan in captivity is approximately 6-7 years.

Contributed by Juergen Pietschmann. Translated by Stefan Dangel.

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Spawls, S., Howell, K., Drewes, R., and Ashe, J. 2002. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, New York.

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