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Traveling With Your Chameleon on Planes

Traveling with your pet chameleon is not an easy task. Chameleons are challenging to take care of under normal circumstances, and traveling with them by car or plane causes an increased stress level for you and your chameleon. If you have a baby or juvenile chameleon, I strongly recommend that you don’t attempt to travel with them.

It is easy to travel with pets like cats or dogs, but chameleons and other reptiles are very different types of pets. Traveling with them is so tricky because reptiles require specific temperature and humidity levels for their survival. There is a strong possibility that your chameleon will become sick during travel if you cannot adequately maintain their environment.

It is faster to travel with your chameleon via car than it is to travel via plane. You can be with your chameleon throughout the entire journey and keep track of their condition in a vehicle. If you choose to travel via plane, you do not have the option of staying with your chameleon for the duration of the trip.

Traveling with your chameleon via airplane is an unwise decision. I don’t recommend it at all. While some situations, such as moving to another state, may render air travel with your chameleon unavoidable, you will need to be very careful with your pet.

While you are in the air, you can’t monitor or be in control of your pet’s circumstances. Someone else will be taking care of your pet throughout the journey. Chameleons don’t get along with strangers in new environments. Imagine the stress level they will be required to endure throughout the journey.

Because your chameleon will have to be kept in a separate area of the plane with other pets, you will be worried about your chameleon. Chameleons don’t get along with any other animals, even other chameleons. Just think of how stressed they will be in this situation.

Carry CITES paper for interstate travel

CITES papers are essential if you are traveling from one state to another. To own a chameleon, you need permission to keep them or CITES papers. This is an international agreement between governments to allow the safe ownership of reptiles. CITES aims to make sure that international trade of specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.

Chameleons that fall under the CITES II list can be traded and kept as long as you have the proper paperwork. You should always carry the appropriate CITES paperwork with you if you travel between states with your chameleon.

Not all planes allow you to take your pets

Only seven airlines allow traveling with non-poisonous reptiles. Even though they allow it, there are stringent rules and regulations you will be required to follow before and during travel. The airlines which will enable travel with non-poisonous reptile pets are

  • Aegean Air
  • Air Canada
  • Air Europa
  • Alaska Air
  • American Airlines
  • Finnair
  • WestJet

Every flight has different travel restrictions, so before traveling, check the rules and regulations of the flight you are traveling on. Before booking your flight, call the respective airline service and ask about the prerequisites needed to travel with your pet chameleon. After booking your flight, contact the airline again to confirm accommodation for your pet chameleon.

Most airplanes won’t allow traveling with a pet reptile, regardless of the species and size. If they do allow travel with reptiles, the cost of accommodating your pet will cost you well over $100. Traveling with your chameleon on an airplane is a high-risk endeavor, as you cannot guarantee a constant temperature will be maintained in their environment during the flight.

Chameleon Soil

Keeping your chameleon calm during your journey

Chameleons are silent creatures who get easily stressed in new circumstances. Calming your chameleon is not an easy task when traveling, but you can reduce their stress levels to a certain extent by traveling with the proper enclosure.  Your chameleon’s travel enclosure should meet the following specifications.

  • Place them in a small travel container.
  • Place a towel on the bottom of the container. You can place few branches, but there should be a space between the branches and the towel.
  • Chameleons are cold-blooded animals, and temperature plays a significant role in keeping them healthy. You cannot provide a good heat source for them during travel, but you can cover the travel carrier with a blanket.
  • A few weeks before travel, start regularly placing your chameleon in the travel container, so your chameleon becomes familiar with it. Familiarity with the container will reduce stress levels during the trip.

How can you maintain the temperature of the travel container during the journey?

You cannot provide the exact temperature you provide at home, but you can maintain a certain temperature level for your chameleon’s survival and avoid cold shock.

  • Use a small container instead of a large one. The container should have holes to allow ventilation, and your chameleon should be able to turn around inside the container.
  • You can use blankets or clothes inside the container to keep the container warm.
  • You can even put your chameleon in a customized sweater.
  • You can use hand warmers in the container.
  • Maintain the temperature of the cage around 60 degrees Fahrenheit if possible.
Chameleon Fall 1

Can you travel without your chameleon?

Consider that the place you are traveling to might ban chameleons as pets. In that case, you have to leave your pet at home. It is advised not to leave your pet alone for weeks because they can get sick without proper food and well-managed cage temperatures.

  • The week before you travel, you must adequately hydrate them, feed them, and maintain proper temperature and humidity levels. If possible, buy an automatic cage mister and test it for two weeks to ensure it’s working as you expected. There are no automatic feeders, so you will have to recruit a friend or neighbor to feed your chameleon.
  • Make an instruction manual and explain it to the friend taking care of your chameleon in your absence. If possible, give your friend training on how to feed them a week or so before departure so that everyone more comfortable and you trust that your pet chameleon is in good hands.
  • You can even transfer your chameleon to a temporary cage and set it up in your friend’s house with proper lighting and temperature.
  • Teach your friend how to gut load food, dust the food, and how to feed your chameleon. Also, teach them to look out for specific symptoms in your chameleon if your chameleon decides not to eat while you are away.
  • You can’t leave a young chameleon with friends because they require constant attention and are not easy to take care of.
  • You can hire a pet sitter, or you can leave your pet in a trusted pet store. They have enough knowledge on how to take care of the chameleon. Give them your chameleon’s medical records so they can take care of your pet if it falls ill.
  • Chameleons often don’t get along well with strangers.  If this is the case, you may need to allow interaction between your chameleon and chosen caregiver for several weeks before handing over their care.