Is Apartment Living Possible With a Chameleon?
Apartment living certainly has its fair share of advantages, such as not having to mow the lawn or fix the leaky sink, but the downside for pet lovers is that certain pets don’t do well in a small living environment.
The good news is that, if you find a pet-friendly apartment complex, it’s very possible to keep a chameleon in an apartment as long as you take the necessary steps to protect their health and well-being. Here’s our guide to living with a chameleon in a smaller space.
Get the Largest Cage Possible
Even if your living space is at a premium, don’t neglect your chameleon’s requirements for plenty of space. As we’ve mentioned on this blog before, all chameleons need an enclosure that’s taller than it is wide, so they can climb vertically and take advantage of the temperature variations at different levels of their living space.
By creating an environment with different temperature zones and plenty of hiding places, your chameleon’s enclosure will become a healthy, happy habitat. Consider adopting a smaller chameleon species, such as a carpet chameleon – the smaller the animal, the more spacious your cage will feel. Since females are smaller than males in many chameleon species, you may also opt to bring home a female instead of a male.
Keep the Bugs Contained
Chameleons are insectivores that only eat live prey, so live bugs are part and parcel of taking good care of a chameleon. Most people are understandably squeamish about sharing space with live insects – we pay exterminators good money to keep bugs out of our living space, and you’re telling me you’re breeding them deliberately?
An uncontrolled infestation may be the first thing that comes to the mind of your property manager or potential new roommate. This is another reason a smaller chameleon may be a better choice for an apartment space. Smaller chameleons require not only less food, but smaller insects, as well.
Control Your Environment
Environmental control is crucial for any chameleon owner – doubly so for those who live in a small space. Make sure you can provide the appropriate living conditions for the species of your choice – not just in terms of space, but also regarding temperature and humidity.
If you are in an apartment and have air conditioning or heating vents in the room with your chameleon, be aware of any hot spots or drafty areas that may create a health hazard for your pet. Since you probably don’t have many options when it comes to space, you may have to block the vent with something, or just make one side of your cage solid to limit the airflow there.
Be Wary of Water Damage
Automated misting systems are the most reliable hydration method for chameleons. Not only do they provide your chameleon’s source of drinking water, they also create the necessary humidity levels in the enclosure. But they can also malfunction or leak unexpectedly. If you live in an apartment, be especially mindful of the potential for water damage or even flooding.
While there is no way to totally accident-proof your chameleon’s setup, there are steps you can take to prepare against water damage. Ensuring your drainage tray can hold the amount of water in the pump water basin is an excellent first step. Your misting system may remain problem-free for the entire time you live in the apartment, but there’s no such thing as being over-prepared when it comes to preventing damage to a rental property.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Especially when living in a small space, there are steps you should take to keep from becoming the “smelly-house friend.” Keep your chameleon’s enclosure and surroundings clean. Plan to spend time on daily maintenance and tidying, such as removing uneaten food, and do a full cage cleaning at least once a month.