Moving With Your Reptile

Moving from one home to another can be a big deal for you and your pet, especially if that pet is a reptile. Taking care of exotic animals requires knowledge and care that extends beyond that needed for a dog or cat. Moving your reptile must be done carefully and thoughtfully. Use this guide to help ensure your reptile makes it to his new home healthy and stress-free.


Reptiles such as snakes and lizards may appear calm on the outside during a move, but are stressed out on the inside. Before moving a reptile, examine them for any signs of illness. If they are sick, it is best to delay moving them until they are well. Combining the stress of the trip with illness could lead to the demise of your scaly friend.


Maintaining the proper environment, including water and temperature, is critical for a reptile. If possible, move your reptile in his own habitat. However, if you own a large terrarium, you may want to consider purchasing a special travel habitat that can run on battery power to maintain a proper temperature and humidity level. Just make sure the habitat is securely closed so you can avoid the excitement of a loose snake in your car.

Another option is to place your pet in a cloth bag or securely tied pillowcase for transport. The thin cloth accommodates for breathing and helps to keep your pet calm by reducing the amount of visual stimulation during the trip. Put the bag in a Styrofoam box and attach a hand warmer to the lid of the box to maintain a warm temperature.

If you are hiring a residential moving service to move your items, do not send your reptile with them. They are not responsible for feeding or watering your pet or making sure they stay properly heated. Let the professionals move your belongings and keep your pet with you as much as possible.

Travel By Air

If you are traveling to your new home by airplane, you will most likely have to stow your reptile in the cargo area. This will be a pressurized, temperature-controlled area of the plane. Call the airline before booking your flight to make sure that they will transport a reptile. Some airlines will not. Then, once your flight is arranged, make reservations for your pet well in advance. Call to confirm the night before your trip so that there are no hassles when you arrive at the airport. Airlines may also refuse to transport an animal during extreme weather conditions.

Make sure to pack your reptile securely in a pillowcase and sturdy container that provides enough room for him to lie down comfortably. The container should have small ventilation holes that will not allow for escape. Label the box "LIVE ANIMAL."

In addition, moving to a different a state or country requires researching their pet restriction laws ahead of time. Be aware that your animal may be placed into quarantine upon arrival or seized if it is illegal in that area.

At Your Destination

Once you arrive at your new home, put your reptile in a quiet, out-of-the-way place so that he can recover from the stress of the move. If possible, have his terrarium set up before arriving. Keep your eye on him for the next few days and don't do anything to disturb him or change his setting.

With a little preparation and special care during transport, you can make moving your reptile a low-stress experience for him and you.