How to Travel with Your Chameleon?

How to Travel with Your Chameleon? (By Car)

Traveling with a chameleon on road is something all chameleon owners should know how to do. This post helps you to be able to reduce any type of stress you and your chameleon may experience when you need to travel.

To take your chameleon along on a road trip, there are some things you absolutely have to do. So, How to travel with your chameleon? A: You need to get a comfortable travel box, put your chameleon to sleep, maintain your vehicle at an optimum temperature, take some chameleon food, and watch your speed on bumpy roads.

Why is it important to learn this?

Traveling with your chameleon in a truck or car could be something of a challenge. In fact, it could be nerve-wracking just trying to make sure your chameleon is doing great during a journey.

At some point, you will need to transport your pet on road in a car or truck. Whether it is a quick trip to the vet’s or a long trip such as a cross-country move, your chameleon may need to be on the road with you, probably sooner than you expect. This means you should be able to safely move your chameleon when needed. It is important that you are able to reduce the stress your chameleon will experience and the fuss it makes before, during and after every trip.

Traveling with your chameleon can be made much easier than you think and shouldn’t stress you out. The proven tips you find here will teach you all you need to know about caring for your pet both on short and long trips.


How to Care for Your Chameleon During a Short Trip

Are you going to the vet’s or on a day’s trip and don’t know how to care for your chameleon? Let worry be far from you because caring for your chameleon on a short trip is very easy if well planned.

Although chameleons have some specific long-term needs, they are able to tolerate short periods with just their basic needs. For example, basking, UVB, food, and water can be kept on hold during short trips without hurting your pet.

With a few tips which you can count on a hand, here is the best way to care for your chameleon on a short trip.



Choose a convenient box

For the purpose of traveling, you need to get a box which has solid sides and a top you can secure. Such a box should be made of an opaque material which provides adequate airflow such as a cardboard. Cardboard boxes are ideal because they are not air-tight and hence you don’t need to poke air holes into them. This is gainful because air holes may let light in and defeat your purpose of keeping the box dark. Your primarily aim is to provide your chameleon with a small, secure space that can be kept fairly dark.

Keeping the interior of the travel box dark helps you create an environment that allows your chameleon to relax and ease into sleep. If you let light into the box, you will cause undue stress to your chameleon because it will keep looking for ways to get out of the box. However, if you keep the interior dark, it won’t be able to move around in a restless state because it can’t see what is happening.

If you put a chameleon in a dark place, it will sleep regardless of the time of day, or how long it has previously slept. This is just the way they are wired! Making your chameleon sleep through the journey will significantly lower the overall stress associated with relocating. This is as close to stress-free as you will possibly ever get.


Set Up the Box

To provide your chameleon with more comfort during the drive, set up something it can perch on right inside the box. A quick way to make a stable perch is by creating small holes at the side of the box and running a dowel or natural branch through the box. These holes should be some inches above the floor of the box and just big enough to allow the branch or dowel slide through.

Because cardboard boxes tend to be slippery, cushion the floor of the box to assist with traction. This can be done by placing a small towel or cloth on the floor of the box. This cushion also serves to protect your chameleon if it falls during the drive.

travel with chameleon
Image source: Chameleon forums


travel with your chameleons
Image source: Chameleon forums


Allow Your Chameleon to Settle In the Box

After perfecting your chameleon’s travel box, put it into the box and close the lid. Furthermore, keep the box in a place away from any noise and wait for about 30 minutes. This waiting period is to give your chameleon time to settle and sleep before proceeding on your trip.

During this waiting period, continue packing other things to your vehicle. You may hear your chameleon scratching at the sides of the box, but this shouldn’t bother you as it is only trying to explore. In due time, it will grab onto the perch, and settle for the “night”. After your chameleon falls asleep, you can then carry the box carefully to your vehicle.

To be sure of your chameleon’s safety, take the box to the vehicle when you are just about to start the journey. Let it be the last thing you bring into your vehicle. This is especially important if you’re traveling alone, or if your vehicle will be left empty while you do some other packing. It is important to pay special attention to this precaution because you don’t want to leave your chameleon unattended to in the vehicle. As you already know, the internal temperature of your vehicle may vary dramatically in a short span of time. (How Long Does It Take a Parked Car to Reach Deadly Hot Temperatures?)This drastic change in temperature can potentially do significant harm to your chameleon.

travel with chameleons
Image Credit: Chameleon forums


Be Conscious of Your Chameleon During the Trip

While you travel, be sure to keep the travel box in a stable position because you may encounter some road bumps. Therefore, if your travel box is unstable, there is a risk of it tumbling, or worse, crumbling if another box falls on it! Consequently, when you travel on bumpy or untarred roads, be sure to watch your speed and drive with care.

Sometimes, the journey may not be entirely stress-free for your chameleon, but you can drastically reduce such related stress.


Take Some Chameleon Food Just In Case

You don’t have to worry much about feeding your chameleon on a short trip since it will spend most of its time sleeping.

However, it should be well-fed and hydrated on the week before the journey. On the day of travel, give it only a small meal since it wouldn’t have basking to aid digestion. (WHY DO SNAKES & LIZARDS NEED HEAT?) To be on the safer side, take some food along just in case there are some unexpected delays.

Travel with chameleons
Image Credit: Taiwan Chameleon


How to Care for Your Chameleon During a Long Trip

Are you going to see your family in another state for the holiday? If you’re going to cross state lines or change location for 3-7 days, there is more to consider in caring for your chameleon. However, with some little extra work, you can make longer trips comfortable for your pet as well.

For example, when going for a long trip, you will have to take some chameleon food to last the period. Furthermore, you will need to get two boxes–a travel box and a temporary cage.

Here is the best way to care for your chameleon on a long trip.


Confirm if It Is Legal to Own a Chameleon in Your Destination

Before you travel across state lines or to other countries, be sure to confirm if it is legal to own chameleons in such locations. For example, ownership of a chameleon is not allowed in Maine. Also, be sure to verify if ownership of chameleons is allowed in areas where you will pass through.

In all, be sure to take your permit with you just to be on the safer side. If you don’t make this confirmation, you may end up in a tight situation which can be stressful for all parties involved.


Get a Temporary Cage in Addition to the Travel Box

There are a number of ways to go about getting a temporary cage(Like Exo Terra Faunarium) for the purpose of traveling. You will need a not-too-obvious enclosure that is easy to take around. For example, you should choose a cage which you can easily dismantle and assemble when you arrive at your destination. While some transport their chameleon right in a temporary cage or screen house, it may not be the best decision. This is because your chameleon may find it impossible to relax and will end up pacing the cage wondering what’s going on.

One may resort to draping the cage to prevent light but this may reduce the amount of air that can permeate the box. In addition, if there is an unexpected bump, your chameleon will fall farther through long distances and hurt itself in transit. Any day, I will choose a small, safe container (Like Exo Terra Faunarium) for travel over a screen house. This way, the journey will be safer and less stressful for the chameleon.


Alternatively, a suitable temporary cage is a collapsible mesh laundry hamper which has a lid. This makeshift enclosure is ideal because it is easy to fold up for storage and doesn’t need much of an assembling plan. If you have some weeks to plan your trip, you can make your chameleons stay in this enclosure a few days prior.

Like in a travel box, perches and cushioning are also important. The wireframe in the laundry hamper allows your chameleon to climb on the walls and makes it easier for you to place branches or dowels. The lid should always be put on so your chameleon doesn’t escape its temporary home.

If you don’t have one of these laundry hampers, you can get one of such on Amazon. This type of cage is also great for outdoor caging on nice days to get your chameleon some sun. In all, a collapsible laundry hamper is not a bad purchase.

Travel with chameleons
Image source: Chameleon forums


What to Do About Feeding?

Feeding your chameleon is super important on a long trip. I know you wouldn’t want your lovely pet to starve in its cage while you eat nice meals, or would you? There are many great ideas of the types and varieties of food you can take along or buy for your chameleon when on a trip.

For example, you can take some crickets in a small container and bring some fresh vegetables for gut-loading. You can also put some silkworms or mealworms inside another small container to allow for variety. Taking along its vitamin supplement with which to dust its meal isn’t a bad idea too.

There are no hard and fast rules about feeding your chameleons during this period. If you feel that taking some food along would put you under stress, try to verify if you will be able to get a place to purchase some chameleon food where you are going.


What to Do When You Reach Your Destination?

When you arrive at a hotel or stoppage point, transfer your chameleon from the travel box into the temporary cage. Set the cage before taking your chameleon out of its travel box.

This is to allow for an easier transition making it feel that nothing changed. Keep the temporary cage by the window to allow for enough light during the day or use artificial lighting. You should give it some food and keep it hydrated when it wakes up.

Travel with your chameleons
Image Credit: Taiwan Chameleon


Can I Leave My Chameleon Alone for a Few Days?

It’s vacation time and you plan to spend it with an aunt that hates reptiles or in a state where it is illegal to own a chameleon. There are probably strong and acceptable reasons why you want to leave your chameleon alone for a few days. However, as much as possible, it is best not to leave your chameleon alone for too long. Chameleons can get sick real quick if something goes wrong.

Many people feel anchored to home just because they need to give their chameleons constant care. While you really love your chameleon and enjoy its company, you surely still want some time to be alone or to visit family and friends during the holidays. In this section, I will let you know how to pull this off leaving you refreshed at the end of your vacation and coming home to meet your chameleon as happy as ever.

If you unavoidably have to leave your chameleon behind for a while, here is how to go about it.

  • Ensure that the mist system, lighting, and the temperature is automatically controlled (The mist system should be full of water). See more about water system: Can Chameleons Drink Tap Water? (Drinking System)
  • Feed it well the week before your move and on the day of your move, making sure it has enough water. If it’s an adult chameleon, it can go without food for 2-3 days. However, younger chameleons cannot stay as long without food.
  • If you would be gone for longer than 2 to 3 days, have someone check on it at least once in a day. Your family member or friend is usually the best bet. Alternatively, you can choose to hire an experienced pet sitter to take care of it. Some reptile stores can help you babysit your pet for a week. See more: Finding the right pet sitter for you & your pets.
  • If you cannot trust your pet with strangers, you can teach a family member, friend, or neighbor how to care for your pet, telling them what signs to look out for in case of an illness. Alternatively, you could write a book giving details on how you take care of your chameleon as you never can tell when emergencies will keep you away for quite some time.

If you follow these tips, you will see your lovely chameleon on a perch and in its sleeping colors, totally unaware that you have moved a mile or even across the state!

Angry by Florence Ivy, on Flickr
Angry” (CC BY-ND 2.0



Cheers to a stress-free journey with your chameleon. Hurray to a stress-free chameleon. Hope you find this post helpful and interesting. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I’ll update it as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading.