Chamaeleo (Trioceros) oweni

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

Chamaeleo (Trioceros) oweni

Owen's Chameleon Chamaeleon owenii, Chamaeleo tricornis, Chamaeleon bibroni, Trioceros grayii, Chamaeleon unicornis, Chamaeleon oweni, Chamaeleo michelli, Chamaselein mitchelli
see a species list of Chamaeleo
Gray 1831 Medium Eggs

C. oweni is indigenous to the lowland rainforests of west Africa. This extremely shy chameleon reaches a total length of 2-15 inches. Three smooth, slightly annulated horns are present only in the males. The casque has small occipital lobes and is very low. There are large scales on the head crests and parts of the body. Scalation is smooth. There is no dorsal crest but there are two rows of standard scales along the back. Coloration consists of green, black, brown, red, orange, yellow, and white with a basic color pattern. Three broad transverse stripes, mostly light, adorn the sides and stripes also appear on the tail. Dark cross stripes on the legs and bodies are either uniformly colored or have light dots or markings. From the center of the eye, stretching over the jaws and under the mouth and continuing caudally, are dark narrow stripes. Females are smaller than males and do not have horns. The male's head can be pink with bright red dots. Gravid females can be dark with bright orange or yellow dots.

C. oweni is a lowland species but similar to C. montium in care considerations. 100% humidity is required as well as constant daytime hydration by humidifier, drip, and/or spray/mist. Daytime temperatures should be approximately 75ºF with a basking area of around 85ºF, and as high as 90F with no more than a 20 degree drop at night. Individual caging should be maintained, with cages densely planted and well lit with fresh UVB bulbs. Most prey insects are accepted by this species and they are good hunters so bowl feeding should be discouraged. Males in particular appear to be sensitive to over-supplementation, as most montane species are. C. oweni are extremely shy and giving them privacy should be a foremost consideration. They do very poorly in captivity and for this reason should be kept only by the expert chameleon keeper.

Little is known about the reproduction of this species. One female bred and gestation was 3x months; no further eggs developed and she was not gravid at the time of her death 6 months later. Duration of incubation was between 8 and 9 months with temperatures of between 65ºF and 72ºF. Hatching took place within 4 days with the majority of the eggs hatching on day 3.

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.

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