Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Should You Travel With Your Chameleon?
With the holiday season approaching, many people are planning to travel – either to visit family and friends, or to close out the year with a well-deserved vacation.
One of the most challenging aspects of owning an exotic pet such as a chameleon is the additional logistics associated with planning a trip. While it’s easy for dog and cat owners to find boarding facilities that offer their pampered pets all the comforts of home, most pet boarding facilities aren’t adequately equipped to handle the unique feeding, lighting, temperature and humidity requirements that come with proper chameleon husbandry. And, if you’re planning to bring your chameleon with you on your trip, be aware that can present an entirely new set of issues.
Here are a few of our best tips for planning a successful trip – with or without your chameleon buddy.
Traveling With Your Chameleon
Taking an interstate or international trip as a chameleon owner may be difficult, but it’s not impossible if you plan ahead. If this is your first time traveling since getting your chameleon, be aware that you may need to start some of your preparations a month or more in advance.
Know before you go: States, countries and even some types of public transportation have different requirements and restrictions on transporting animals. Some countries (and Hawaii) require pets to be quarantined upon arrival. The authorities at your destination may also require a certificate of veterinary inspection, which is an official document issued by an accredited veterinarian certifying that your pet is healthy enough to travel and is not showing signs of any diseases that could be transmitted to other animals or to people.
Pet-friendly accommodations: Another thing to keep in mind when traveling with your chameleon is to make sure your chosen accommodations are pet-friendly. If staying with friends or family, inform your hosts that you’re bringing your pet with you, and make sure they have a dedicated space to set up the cage in a location that won’t be too stressful for the chameleon.
If you’re staying in a hotel, ask about their pet policy before you book the room. When leaving the room, place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door and let the front desk know that your chameleon is alone in the room. Make sure the hotel staff have a way to contact you in case there are any problems.
Keep in touch with your vet: You don’t want any health emergencies ruining your trip. When traveling with your chameleon, always bring your veterinarian’s contact information in case of a crisis. As an additional precaution, use the vet finder tool on the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians’ website to look for a reptile vet near your destination.
Leaving Your Chameleon at Home
As the old adage goes, “Getting there is half the fun,” but as we’ve mentioned on this blog before, that may not be the case for a chameleon. From the change in location to the transportation, travel can be extremely stressful for chameleons, and stressed chameleons are more susceptible to health problems.
Some pets are not good travelers, and that’s OK. Search online for reliable pet-sitters who will take care of your chameleon in your home, or look for boarding services in your area that specialize in taking care of exotic pets. Ask your reptile vet if they offer boarding, or if they can recommend a reliable boarder or sitter.
Do your homework and learn about all the requirements before you travel to decide if you’re going to take your chameleon on your trip or leave it at home, and prepare for what to expect if you do take your pet with you.