Know Before You Buy: Why Research Is Essential Before Bringing Home a Pet Chameleon
Unlike bringing home a common pet such as a cat or dog, adopting an exotic pet involves doing a lot of homework. Reptiles, especially chameleons, have unique husbandry needs for diet, caging, humidity levels, lighting, temperature and more that make it essential to be as knowledgeable as you can about keeping them healthy.
Responsible pet parents know there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to taking good care of another living creature. That’s just as true for popular pets as it is for those that are a little bit more on the wild side. But while you may assume your local pet shop is the best place to get your new scaly friend, that’s often not the case, unless you are fortunate enough to have a herpetology specialist working at the pet store.
Pet Store Employees Aren’t Experts on Every Pet They Sell
People who work at pet shops may have a genuine love for animals, but that doesn’t mean they have any background in biology or veterinary medicine. Most pet shop employees get hired because they have experience in retail or are good at sales. In that case, you may end up talking with a staff member who has no clue what you should buy or do to give your chameleon the best life possible.
For example, one of the first things to know about a chameleon is that they have evolved to be an arboreal species. Because they have an instinct to climb, they need an enclosure that is taller than it is wide. An inexperienced pet shop worker may tell you it’s OK to buy a standard 10-gallon fish tank to house your chameleon just in the interest of closing the sale and moving on with their day. That’s not to suggest they deliberately intend to guide you astray – just that they don’t know any better.
By the same token, don’t expect a pet store employee to know any background information about the chameleon you are buying – including its age, gender and health history. All this knowledge could make a difference in how you care for your new pet. For instance, if you ended up getting a female chameleon, you may be surprised when she starts laying clutches of eggs even if no male chameleons are around. Because they lay eggs, female chameleons have special nutritional needs to be aware of, which a pet shop worker may not know anything about.
Study up Before Getting an Exotic Pet
If you were planning to bring a new human family member into your household, you’d hopefully prepare yourself by reading plenty of books and blog posts, or maybe even watching some documentaries. If you plan to be a responsible pet owner, adopting a new pet is no different. Good research is essential.
While we hope you’ll find a lot of valuable background information on this blog, don’t just limit yourself to one resource. Look at lots of different websites, books and magazines to form a well-rounded opinion. Talk to a reptile vet or join your local herpetological society, if there happens to be one near you. And, when you’re ready to bring home a chameleon, a reputable breeder is your best source. Your breeder can give you all the background information on your new chameleon, including a complete health background. And even if you live in a different state, ask if the breeder offers overnight shipping to deliver your new pet right to your doorstep.
By doing plenty of research before you get an exotic pet, you can provide a longer and healthier life for your new chameleon, and become a more responsible and informed reptile owner who can pass your knowledge on to others.