Moving With Captive Reptiles: What You Need To Know

2 July 2015
 Categories: , Articles

Packing up your plates and books for a big move is one thing; packing up and moving your reptiles and their habitats is quite another. These specimens, as you know, must be handled with care, and moving time can be stressful for them. As your prepare to move, learn about the steps you need to make to be sure the transition is as smooth as possible.

Get The Right Permits And Licensing

If you did not buy your reptile at a pet store, but instead collect the snake, turtle, or lizard from the wild, you need to be aware that if you are moving to a new state, you need to have a permit to keep captured wildlife. Some forms of captured wildlife legal in your state may not be legal in other states. For example, Arizona has laws about the breeding and raising of desert tortoises, and venomous snakes are not allowed in Florida without a license. If you find you are unable to take your reptile with you to a new state, contact a local animal shelter for directions on how to ensure its future care or release back into the wild. If you are moving to a new country, restrictions may be even greater, as countries must regulate invasive species and protect their ecosystems. 

Pack Your Reptiles Properly

Any reptile that is hazardous, like venomous snakes, should be double packed. Since moving is stressful for animals, these types of reptiles could become more aggressive. Using two boxes instead of one box for hazardous animals helps to protect movers/yourself against accidental bites. Boxes should be sturdy, and they should be ventilated with holes. Be sure the box is marked with the type of animal that is inside. For example, if you are moving a snake, mark the box with the words "Live Python". Clearly mark which direction the box should be held and carried.

Smaller animals, like lizards, could be moved in their usual glass or plastic terrariums, as long as the contents will not be disturbed. Large terrariums, however, will need to be disassembled as packed, as objects inside the terrarium could shift during the move, potentially causing injury to a tortoise or snake. 

Help maintain heat and humidity levels during the move by putting heat packs in the box with the reptile and by moistening towels or a blanket to provide needed moisture.

Use A Car If Possible

Air travel is possible with reptiles, but they will usually be shipped as cargo, which means you will not be able to monitor how well  they are doing during the flight. Carrying reptiles in your own car is the best option. If you are using a moving company, be aware that some moving companies will not be able to transport live cargo. If this is the case, and you cannot carry the pet yourself in your vehicle, you might have the animal shipped separately with an animal moving service.

Get Things Back To Normal As Soon As Possible

As soon as your arrive at your new home, unpack your reptiles habitat and set it up in a quiet spot, even if you will have to move it later. Getting them back into their normal home as soon as possible and letting their nerves settle will them them adjust from the stress more quickly. Even if you acquire a new animal or would like to move your pet into a larger enclosure, save these additions for a few weeks so that your pet can recover. Making tons of changes at once will only prolong the recovery time. As soon as your animal is eating, sleeping, and acting normally, you can start making changes to the habitat. 

Also, if are looking for a local moving company to help you pack and transport your things to your new home, try visiting