Four-horned Chameleon (Trioceros quadricornis)

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Four-horned Chameleon
Trioceros quadricornis
Four-horned Chameleon (Trioceros quadricornis)
Name Four-horned Chameleon
Name Lat. Trioceros quadricornis
Synonym Chamaeleo quadricornis
Family Chameleons
Family lat. Chamaeleonidae
Order Scaled Reptiles
Order lat. Squamata
Origin Cameroon, Nigeria
Habitat Cloud forests
Diet Insects
Humidity 60-80 %
Behavior Aggressive
Keeping Individual
Care Level Experts only
Reproduction Oviparous
Housing Humid terrarium
Life Span 6-8 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EU Annex B
Metric Units
Size 40 cm
Temperature 20-25 °C
Temperature Local 30-33 °C
Housing Size 120 x 60 x 120 cm
US Units
Size 16"
Temperature 68-77 °F
Temperature Local 86-91 °F
Housing Size 45" x 25" x 45"

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of the diurnal four-horned chameleons are the high altitude cloud forests, between 1,000 and 2,200 m altitude in Cameroon and Nigeria. They live there mainly in treetops and bushes.


Minimum dimensions for the terrarium, according to the size and number of animals:

One animal 4KRL x 2,5KRL x 4KRL (L x W x H)

Head-torso length (KRL) is measured on the largest animal. For pair keeping, increase the floor space by 20%. A terrarium of e.g. L 120 x W 60 x H 120 cm is recommended, which should be placed in a quiet and vibration-free place.

They need a well ventilated terrarium structured with branched climbing branches as well as robust, also artificial plants (hiding and shade places), structured back and side walls (e.g. cork covering), a substrate of sand-peat mixture (15 cm deep) and a small water container or a drip trough. A large portion of the substrate should always be kept slightly moist. Several times a day the inside of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity), but a rain or mist system is better.

Temp. day: 20-25 °C Temp. night: 10-15 °C Temp. local: up to 33 °C Humidity: 60-80

The lighting duration must be 10-14 hrs. depending on the season. They need high light intensity and daily UV irradiation as well as sunny places with radiant heat.


The food supply consists of live insects, such as crickets, smaller grasshoppers, cockroaches and crickets. Sometimes the switch to commercial ready-made food for insectivorous reptiles, which must be offered with tweezers, is successful. Wax moths should be fed infrequently and in very small amounts because of their large fat content. Regular addition of minerals and vitamins (dusting the food) is important. Since water is almost only absorbed in drop form from leaves or furnishings, a dropper is recommended, alternatively they can be watered daily from a pipette

A regular and varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

Males are larger and have 2 to 6 true horns of varying sizes.

The female buries her eggs (up to 18 pieces) in the substrate, which must accordingly consist of a substrate suitable for burrowing. The incubation period is 130-160 days at a temperature of 18-25 °C. Fruit flies and micro echinoderms are suitable as initial food

The life expectancy can be 6-8 years.

Species protection

The animal population must be reported to the competent authority in writing immediately after the start of keeping. Your pet store will be happy to provide you with further information.

Protection of species: WA Appendix II; EU Appendix B. The proof of purchase is the required proof of origin for the animal. Please keep it safe!


Outdoor keeping in summer, in an aviary suitable for the species, is beneficial for the well-being of the animals due to the temperatures prevailing in Central Europe. For the resting phase, the lighting duration is reduced by 2-3 hours for approx. two months and the daytime temperature is lowered by 6-8 °C as well as the air humidity is reduced

With fruit and honey water as food for the feeding animals, their quality can be upgraded.

The terrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species specific needs. Measuring devices such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Contamination must be removed regularly

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Christian Sänger; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BMELV (1997): Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Reptilien; ENGELMANN (2006): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Reptilien und Amphibien, Harri Deutsch Verlag

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF