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Life on the Farm

A Walk In The Woods With A Jackson Chameleon

How beautiful it is to connect with nature! Our farm attracts a diverse collection of species.. insects of all kinds, mammals, amphibians, and even reptiles! These Jackson Chameleons are so sweet and have an interesting story about their arrival..... ✨In 1972 Robin Ventura, a pet shop owner in Kaneohe on Oahu, obtained a Hawaii State Dept. of Agriculture permit to import Jackson’s Chameleons from Kenya to Hawaii in order to sell them in his shop. When the chameleons arrived they were unhealthy, thin, and dehydrated, so he released them into a tree in his back yard to regain their strength believing that he could retrieve them later when they were healthy.

Of course, as is often the case when new species are introduced into a favorable environment, the lizards quickly spread from Mr. Ventura’s back yard into the Ko’olau mountains behind Kaneohe. The original shipment of Jackson’s Chameleons to Hawaii was only several dozen, but the numbers quickly grew. All Hawaiian chameleons are descended from the original shipment to Ventura’s pet shop in 1972. In 1981 Kenya stopped exporting Jackson’s Chameleons, so if you buy a Jackson’s Chameleon on the mainland, it most likely has Hawaiian origins. In its original territory in Kenya Jackson’s are found on the slopes of Mt. Kenya between 6000 and 8000 feet. On Hawaii’s Big Island Jackson’s were introduced into several areas in Kona in the late 80′s and early 90′s, but have since expanded to nearly the entire island, including many scrublands and desert areas. They can be found in the lava desert of Ocean View, the Cold, wet, ancient forests of Volcano, and in rain forests throughout the island. Jackson’s are a common sight in Hilo and Kona, often showing up in gardens and back yards.

With their expressively human-like face and color changing ability, Jackson’s Chameleons are often welcome visitors and are commonly kept as pets. Contrary to popular belief, chameleons do not change color strictly for camouflage purposes. Coloration is based on the lizard’s emotional state due to things like interaction and proximity to other chameleons, light, temperature, and response to outside stress or predators.

A walk with a jackson chameleon

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To practice and teach ecologically conscious agriculture, empowering individuals and communities to cultivate alternative systems of living that restore human and environmental health.

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