Chamaeleo (Trioceros) hoehnelii

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

Chamaeleo (Trioceros) hoehnelii

High Casqued Chameleon Chamaeleon hoehnelli, Chamaeleon leikipiensis, Chamaeleon bitaeniatus horhnelli, Chamaeleon leikipiensis hoehnelli, Chamaeleon bitaeniatus bergheri, Chamaeleon bitaeniatus hoenelli, Chamaeleon bitaeniatus altaelgonis, Chamaeleo hoehnelli, Chamaeleo hoehnelli altaelgonis
see a species list of Chamaeleo
Steindachner 1891 Small Live

Endemic to Kenya and eastern Uganda where it appears to be abundant in the humid, high mountain regions. Night time temperatures frequently drop to around freezing. The high-casqued chameleon reaches a total length of 7-10 inches (SVL 3-5 inches) and weighs from 15 - 70 grams. They are docile toward keepers but quite aggressive toward each other.

This is a small species bearing a high casque with no occipital lobes. Rostral crests converge above the mouth tip into a round horn. Dorsal crest consists of 15 groups of 3 - 5 conical scales dominated by one massively conical scale. Small, medium and large body scales, with the large scales making two or more visible, lengthwise stripes. Various coloration according to population.

Females are typically smaller in size, have a less developed casque, rostrals, dorsal crest, and smoother scalation. However, certain keepers have reported that some females are as large, or even larger, in size than the males, with well developed casques, rostrals, and crests. (Andy Beveridge, personal communication). Males show prominent hemipenal bulges at the base of the tail.

Temperatures should be kept no higher than 95ºF during the day. There should be a dramatic temperature drop at night. A night-time cool down of 40ºF is ideal. In their natural habitat, C. hoehnelli are known to survive nights down to 32ºF and even slightly lower (Hebrard, et al., 1982).  The species can tolerate slightly higher temps for a short period if humidity is high and good ventilation is provided; but not for extended periods. Heat should be only provided by a hot spot; the rest of the environment should stay cooler. C. hoehnelii has high UV requirements and natural sunlight is beneficial. Humidity should be maintained at 80 - 100%. Hydration requirements are high and water is best accepted by simulating warm rainfall, although some C. hoehnelii enjoy drinking from a drip system. Most appropriate sized prey items are accepted eagerly. Males are very aggressive towards other males and similar looking species. While this species should be housed singly in standard cages, some authorities have kept them in pairs or 1.2 groups but only within very large enclosures; pregnant females should be kept alone.

Females, depending on size and maturity, bear between 4 - 22 live babies. Gestation is approximately 150 days and females may give birth 2 times a year.

Contributed by Susan James

Klaver, C. & W. Boehme. 1997. Chamaeleonidae. Das Tierreich, 112: i-xiv' 1 - 85. Verlag Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin, New York.
Martin, J., 1992. Masters of Disguise: A Natural History of Chameleons. Facts On File, Inc., New York, NY.
Necas, P. 1999. Chameleons: Nature's Hidden Jewels. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, FL.
Schmidt, W., Tamm, K. and Wallikewitz, E. 1994. Chameleons, Volume I: Species. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ.

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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