How Do You Travel With A Chameleon? [Step by Step Guide]

You’re already feeling like taking care of a chameleon is challenging? Well, then you probably haven’t tried traveling with it yet. Unlike your regular cats or dogs, carrying them on a trip is a way more tough nut to crack. But how can you actually travel with your chameleon?

Well, the first thing you need to do is get a travel box for your chameleon that is perfectly comfortable for it and let it sleep in there. Make sure the temperature is sticking to the optimum level, and don’t forget to grab some food for it. And last of all, skip speeding up on bumpy roads.

But that’s for short trips, right? What about the long tours? Will the same things work out for those long roads too? Well, that’s the answer you’re going to get in this article.

How Can You Travel With A Chameleon – 5 Steps

Okay, we admit that carrying a sensitive reptile like a chameleon isn’t an easy job. But when you’re following the right steps, pulling that off is nothing impossible, especially when you’ve got no other choice. Now the question is – what are those steps in the first place?

Step – 1: Grab the Right Box

When it comes to traveling with your reptile, you better pick a box with sturdy edges and a lid you can lock for transport. For this reason, a cardboard box or similar opaque material is ideal for making such a container.

Cardboard boxes are great since you don’t have to puncture them to let air through. There’s one drawback here since flaws in the box’s lid might let light through and negate the packaging’s intended darkness.

But you need to keep in mind that your primary goal should be providing your chameleon access to a small, safe area that’s easy to keep dark enough. After all, in order to let your chameleon wind down and get some shut-eye on the journey, you must keep the transport box dark inside.

If the light somehow manages to slip into the box, your chameleon will go under constant stress trying to find a way out. That’s because, to have a proper sleep, darkness is a must-have element for them. So, if you can manage to keep the inside completely dark, the reptile won’t just get up and wander around restlessly.

When it’s dark inside, the chameleon will fall asleep no matter what time of day it is or for how long it has been awake. That’s simply how their brains are wired. The stress of moving can be greatly reduced if your lizard is able to sleep through the trip.

Step – 2: Setting Up the Box

Place anything in the interior of the box that your chameleon can use as a perch so that it will be more comfortable while you are traveling with it. Making a secure perch is nothing that you’ll have to spend hours on.

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All you have to do is drill a few holes in the side of that box at various heights and then thread a natural branch through the holes. A dowel will also do the trick. Make sure that these holes are positioned a few inches above the base of the box. Plus, they should be just large enough to let the branch/dowel pass through.

As cardboard boxes come with a slippery surface, it is recommended to make the box’s floor padded in order to improve traction. Putting a little towel or piece of fabric on the box’s floor is one way to make that possible. This cushioning can also act as protection for your reptile if it somehow falls on the floor while you are driving.

Step – 3: Let the Chameleon Settle Down

Once you’re done with making the transport box for your chameleon, place it inside the box and secure the lid. Along with that, ensure the container is kept in a quiet location for the next quarter of an hour before proceeding.

Before getting started with your journey, you must let your chameleon have sufficient time to relax and get some rest before moving on. During this time, rather than wasting your minutes, you should proceed to put other items into your car.

You might get a bit bothered by the scratching sound coming out of the box, but there’s nothing to worry about. That’s because it is merely attempting to investigate its surroundings. When the moment is right, it will climb up onto the perch.

Once it gets there, becoming comfortable there for the “night” won’t be a problem for sure. After the reptile has been put to sleep, you can easily transfer the box to your vehicle. But don’t forget to do it a bit carefully.

In order to maximize your reptile’s safety, put the box in the ride right before you leave for the trip.  Make sure that it is the very last thing that you put into your car. This is of the utmost importance if you are going to be driving by yourself or if you are going to have to leave your vehicle unattended while you finish packing other things.

That’s because you do not want to forget about your chameleon while it is riding in the car. After all, it is highly essential to give this safety measure the utmost attention it deserves.

Step – 4: Grab Some Food

On a brief vacation, your lizard will spend its time mostly doing nothing but resting. So you won’t need to worry too much about putting any food in its mouth. However, the week leading up to the trip is when it should be given the most attention in terms of food and water.

Due to the lack of UVB or sunlight to promote digestion, just a modest meal should be given on the day you’re leaving. If there’s a chance of delays, it’s best to be prepared with some snacks.

Step – 5: Stay Cautious

You can simply call it the most important step of the whole process. When you’re rolling with your reptile, make sure that you’ve kept the box in a place from where you can always check it out.

After all, you never know when a road bump is going to pop up and make the box fall out of its place. For obvious reasons, that’s not going to be a nice experience for the chameleon. And the worst-case scenario? It can get injured.

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Can You Bring A Chameleon On An Airplane?

We can totally understand if you’re not among the road trip lovers. Clearly, in such cases, an air trip is your only option. But the question is – can you bring a chameleon on an airplane?

Well, yes, you can. But before you proceed, let us tell you that this one is definitely not the best option. Still, if you can’t think of any other way to travel, then there are a bunch of things you need to take care of first.

Ensure the CITES Permit

Have you heard about The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora? In short, it’s called CITES. The prime purpose of this multilateral treaty is protecting endangered animals and plants. You probably know them under the name ‘Washington Convention’.

When dealing with species protected by CITES, it is crucial to get the appropriate import, re-export,  export, and introduction from them. Applying for that certificate of ownership which will allow you to travel with exotic pets, is the first step, especially if you wish to cross foreign boundaries with your reptile. Remember, a CITES permit is required prior to departure and cannot be obtained once you take off with your chameleon.

Check Out the Travel Restrictions

Your flight will go off without a hitch if you take a few extra precautions after obtaining your CITES permission. Just don’t forget to research first whether or not bringing a chameleon on your trip is prohibited in your destination country or any stopover locations.

Doing some homework and double-checking details before setting out can simply save you from a lot of unnecessary hassles. The thing is, certain nations and jurisdictions do not allow exotic pets, and this may even apply to your reptile as well. So, before finalizing your plans, double-check that your whole route permits the transport and ownership of chameleons.

Get the Right Carrier

If you think that you can simply grab a cardboard box, put your reptile in there, and fly off, then you’ve got it all wrong. That would’ve been okay if you were traveling in a car. But on a plane, things are a bit different.

To begin, you need to put your chameleon in a container that meets IATA requirements. The material has to be sturdy, with four-sided ventilation and a solid spring-lock door. And make sure that it’s got no wheels so that your reptile can’t knock it over. This kind of transporter can take a beating on the way.

By the way, the airlines will let you know what kind of medical details you’re required to submit to the airline with the box. Typically, this health documentation procedure should take place not more than 10 days before the trip’s departure.

The container must be clearly labeled as holding a live animal, along with the required storage temperature. Make sure that the carrier is labeled with your name and contact details. Otherwise, it can be tough to retrieve once you reach your destination.

Contact the Airlines

Different airlines come with different pet policies, so don’t forget to check before booking. Although there are certain common airline pet laws, you must contact the airline for further information before you confirm anything.

Most of the airlines would ask you to book a spot for your lizard in advance before you reach the airport. After all, your chameleon must be carried in pressure- and temperature-controlled chambers. Keep in mind that not all baggage is watched, and space is typically filled on first come, first served. And also, don’t forget to find out whether this service involves any extra costs or not.

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And don’t even think about sneaking a chameleon onto a plane for any reason. If you do that, your pet can be seized, or you can be jailed under the charge of smuggling.

Can I Keep My Chameleon By A Window?

Asking for an example of a bad idea? Well, then we’d say keeping your chameleon by the window while traveling is one of them. You’re probably wondering – why is that? After all, other pets of yours pretty much like it, right?

But you’re probably forgetting something. Your chameleon isn’t any random pet. If you’re going to put it by a window, there’s a high chance of it getting stressed. Thanks to their sensitivity to drafts.

Hold on a second! If you’re planning to put it close to heating/AC ducts, we’d say you better avoid that as well. After all, that too can stress out the reptile. By the way, are we talking about keeping the reptile away from your house window too? Well, no! You can keep your reptile there. But make sure it’s getting the sunlight there.

When Should You Take Your Chameleon on a Trip?

To be honest, we don’t think taking your reptile on a trip is a good idea after all. The fact is, they’re highly sensitive and can get stressed quite easily. When you’re keeping them in an enclosure, controlling that is comparatively easy.

But that’s definitely not the case when you’re on the road with it. So, we’d say not to take it on a trip. But the ball will not be in your court always. There are times when you’ll have no other choice but ride with it. Now the question is, under which conditions might you have to go for it?

When Your Equipment Is Not Automated

You already know that it’s tougher than anything to keep a chameleon alive when you don’t have the right kind of equipment. But things can get a bit tougher when they’re not automated. After all, you can’t stay close to your reptile all the time, especially when you’re leaving for a trip. In such cases, taking the lizard with you can be the only option.

When You Can’t Afford a Sitter

Things can a bit easier when you’ve got an experienced sitter to take care of your chameleon. But hiring someone like that will cost you a few bucks. In case you’re not in a condition to shed some green or not having a positive vibe about letting any other person be around your chameleon, it’ll be better if you can take it with you on the trip.

Now the question is, what if you really don’t want the reptile to be with you when you’re going on a vacation or leaving for a longer period of time? Well, that problem can be solved too. You can simply visit this blog of ours and get some idea about that.

Final Words

Traveling with your pet sounds like a great idea. But things are on a different page when you’re planning to do the same with your chameleon. After all, they need way more care and attention compared to pets. But if you can manage to follow the right steps, it’s possible to enjoy the trip with your chameleon too.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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