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So, you’ve decided to adopt a chameleon – what now? Where should you get your new pet? While your first thought might be to go to the pet store, there’s no guarantee of finding one there. And even if your local pet shop happens to sell chameleons, that doesn’t mean it’s the best place to buy one. With exotic pets, your best bet is often to get them directly from a breeder.
Why Breeders May Be More Knowledgeable
Pet store employees aren’t required to be experts on every pet they stock, so the staff might not know the age or gender of their chameleons. They also might not provide you with important information on care, dietary requirements and cage setup – all of which are essential details for first-time chameleon buyers to know, since chameleons can be relatively high-maintenance pets with specific husbandry needs.
Meanwhile, a chameleon breeder should be able to give you all the information about the pet you’re buying, including species, age, gender and expected lifespan. They’ll also be able to give detailed instructions and advice about what you need to do to keep a chameleon healthy and happy, including nutritional recommendations, what supplies to buy and how to properly furnish your pet’s habitat.
After all, chameleon breeders have the specialized knowledge and equipment to keep multiple chameleons in good physical condition, not to mention the intense dedication required to breed them. They’re truly the experts.
Breeders Can Offer Healthier Animals
If you buy from a good chameleon breeder, you will also have confidence you’re getting a chameleon who has been bred in captivity. Captive-bred chameleons tend to be much healthier than those who have been caught in the wild, because they will be less stressed out and less susceptible to parasitic infections.
A reputable breeder should be able to give you a full medical history of the chameleon you intend to purchase, including sending photos and offering guarantees on his health before you buy.
How to Find a Chameleon Breeder
So, now that we’ve given you the reasons to seek out a breeder, where should you start looking?
A veterinarian who specializes in reptile care could provide recommendations on reputable chameleon breeders. Reptile magazines can be another good source of information on chameleon breeders, and of course, you can also look online.
If you do find a chameleon breeder near you, it’s worth making the trip to meet them, see their animals and their facility and ask any questions in person. However, if you don’t have a breeder within a few hours’ drive, contact them to ask about shipping options. Many breeders offer express shipping anywhere in the U.S.
Other than causing him a little extra stress, shipping doesn’t harm the chameleon. However, ask your breeder if they provide a live arrival guarantee in the event of the worst-case scenario.
Adopting a pet – especially an exotic pet – is a major life decision. You owe it to yourself and your new pet to thoroughly research breeders before you commit to one.