What to Do With Your Chameleon When You Go out of Town
Whether for business or pleasure, everyone needs to leave town once in a while. But when you have more unusual pets such as reptiles, do you know what to do and who will take care of them? Finding someone to care for chameleons can be a challenge, and the cost of leaving them at your exotic vet’s office or with a boarder who specializes in exotic pets can add up quickly, especially if you are leaving for a longer time.
Leaving your chameleons at home while you’re away can be an ideal solution because it keeps them safe from the stresses of being in an unfamiliar location, while also ensuring they won’t pick up any illnesses from other animals who are staying with the same boarding service. There are two main options: leaving them by themselves, or finding a reliable pet sitter.
Leaving Chameleons Home Alone
You might understandably be reluctant to leave a pet chameleon home by itself, but this choice can work well if you are only going out of town for a few days. However, for this to work well, you must have both your misting system and your lights set up on a fully automatic timer, so their warmth and hydration needs do not go unmet while you’re away.
Healthy, adult chameleons can skip two to three days of food; however, you should not leave juvenile or sick chameleons by themselves while you’re out of town. Chameleons in a vulnerable state need daily attention, and chameleons who are ill may also need regular medication that they cannot go without.
In addition, if you are expecting any severe weather during your brief trip that may cause a prolonged power outage, it could jeopardize your chameleon’s health by keeping them from getting the water and heat they need.
Should You Train a Chameleon Caretaker?
If you’re going to be out of town longer than a few days, have not set up an automated lighting and misting system or if you’re just worried about leaving your pet alone, you may prefer to hire a pet sitter to look after your pet.
Professional pet sitters are not only trustworthy; they also share your love for animals. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can use the helpful finder tool from the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters – the only nationwide nonprofit organization for professional pet sitters. Your vet may also be able to recommend a pet sitter, and if you need to find a reputable reptile vet, the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Vets has you covered.
However, even the most experienced pet sitters may not have the necessary knowledge to provide proper care for a pet like a chameleon. So how can you make sure your chosen sitter knows exactly what to do to keep your pet healthy while you’re away?
Tips for Teaching Your Pet Sitter
While you may think you’re doing the right thing by making a detailed list of instructions, keeping things simple and straightforward is the best way to make sure you haven’t overwhelmed whoever you’ve hired to look after your chameleon. Nobody is going to want to read a sheaf of exhaustively complicated directions or a ridiculously detailed schedule. You can’t expect your pet sitter to become a herpetologist overnight, and if you give them too many things to do, you’re only increasing the likelihood that they’ll either forget about them or decide to skip them altogether. Walk them through the basics, and answer any questions they may have, but don’t get carried away.
Another thing you can do to make life simpler for your pet sitter is to prepare your chameleon’s food and supplements ahead of time. Pre-cut fruits and vegetables for gutloading feeder insects and leave them in containers in your refrigerator. That way, the sitter can just offer the food and not have to worry about it. At the same time, measure the correct dosages of supplements and label them with the correct day of the week to make sure there is no chance of the sitter missing a dose or providing too much or too little of the nutrients.
By keeping things as easy as possible for your sitter, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip without worrying about your chameleon.