Transporting reptiles like pet lizards and snakes represent additional difficulties to those experienced when trying to ship cats and dogs. The reason is that reptiles are of course cold-blooded, which means they require some external source of heat. In nature, of course, this warmth is provided directly by the sun, or indirectly from rocks, fallen logs and the ground, after the sun has warmed them.
Stuck on a plane or a boat though, or even in a car, this clearly isn’t an option. So what are the alternatives…?
Consider The Season
Before you travel you should consider the current – and predicted – weather. For example, if you are travelling in cold weather, it may be necessary to provide additional warmth to keep your pet in top condition. On the other hand, hot weather can be just as dangerous and can result in overheating. Keeping your pet cool in these circumstances is of vital importance.
Consider The Journey Length
The longer your journey, the greater the chance that your reptile’s temperature will deviate from the optimum. For example, walking down the street in the summer with your tortoise is unlikely to cause any problems. Driving it to the local vets in cooler weather also probably won’t cause him any real discomfort. But stick him on a boat for a week in winter and you could be having problems.
The important point to note is this: the longer your journey, the more attention you’ll need to pay to your pet. Longer journeys pose higher risks, which is why many people choose to rely on a reptile courier for longer distances rather than take unnecessary risks themselves. These experts ship pets all round the world on a daily basis and know exactly how to keep your reptile safe and sound.
Insulation Is Your Friend
How warm you feel is a measure of two elements. Firstly, is the radiant warmth around you. Secondly however is the heat escaping from your body. The more heat that escapes, the colder you will feel. This is why putting on a thick coat makes you feel warmer as it simply slows down the heat that is trying to escape into the atmosphere and traps it next to your skin.
In a similar manner, providing your pet with some insulation can help it to remain warm for longer periods of time, even quite some time after the heaters have been turned off. Bubble wrap, while effective, does of course block out the air and so has limited applications for shipping reptiles. Simple home furnishings like blankets, duvets and old jumpers can prove rather more fruitful.
Wrapping your pet lizard or snakes carrying container in such a warm, fluffy jacket should still allow air to move through without trouble, yet will trap plenty of heat, thus helping your pet to stay warm on a cold day.
The opposite of course is true on a hot day, where overheating is more of a concern. In these cases ensure that you keep your pets travelling container out of direct sunlight at all times and, if necessary, use a windscreen sun visor to reflect sunshine away from the container, thus keeping the temperature reasonable.
Use Artificial Heaters
Reptile keepers use a range of artificial heaters for their pets. From heat mats to ceramic troughs, from light bulbs to ceramic bulbs, there are all manner of tolls that we can use to heat reptiles in captivity. Sadly, almost all of these need to be plugged in, which generally makes them impractical for travelling.
There are other options though. For one, if you’re travelling by car on a cold day, consider turning up your car heater. The reverse also holds true; open the windows, turn on the fans or turn down the air conditioning if you’re travelling on a hot summers day. This alone may be enough to keep your pet in suitable health for the length of the journey.
Planes, trains and ships are a rather different matter, where you’ll likely have far less control over the ambient temperature around your pet. In these cases microwavable heat packs can be used. These packs, once activated in a microwave, will produce a gentle background warmth for many hours to follow.
Placing one or two of these heat packs into – or next to – your pet snake or lizard should certainly help to take the edge off the cold.