While the idea of moving with your pet painted turtle, Chilean rose tarantula, or bearded dragon might seem daunting, packing up your pet’s terrarium is not that difficult.

Getting Ready to Move

lizard sitting on owner's porch

There are a few things you can do before your move to prep your animal for their trip:

  • Bring them to the vet for a check-up and to update their records. This way, if you are moving to a new town you can pass along your pet’s information to your new vet.
  • Find an appropriate-sized carrier (or box) for your pet. It should be big enough for your animal to turn around in, but small enough that they won’t be slipping and sliding around in it.
  • Once you have a carrier, place your pet into it for a trial run. Don’t drop them into it the day you are moving or else you will stress them out.
  • Try to keep their routine as close to the same as possible.
  • Snap a picture of your pet’s home before you clean and pack the terrarium’s food dish, heat rocks, and lights.

The Big Day

On the day you are moving, try to keep your pet somewhere out of the way so all of the noise and commotion doesn’t disturb them. Then once you are ready to head out tape your pets’ heating or cooling pads to their carrier so the objects can’t shift, and put your pet into their carrier. Make sure you don’t overstuff the carrier. Otherwise, your pet could get hurt while you are going from one house to the other. Once your pet is out of their terrarium, wrap it in bubble wrap or place it in a box with some paper or cloth padding to keep it safe.

If you are only moving a short distance, you can just move your pet in its terrarium. However, you will need to remove or secure loose objects like the heater so they cannot move around and injure your pet.

Tips for Flying

If you will be flying to your new city, check with the airline you are using to see how they transport reptiles. Chances are your pet will be travelling in the cargo hold, but find out for sure and make sure you get an airline approved carrier. It’s also a good idea to try and get a direct flight to make the process as fast and as stress-free as possible.

Tips for Driving

One of the benefits of driving with your pet is that you can monitor their body temperature and adjust their surroundings accordingly. It’s also easier for you to transport your pet in their normal cage in your own vehicle, which can make things less stressful for them. However, you still might prefer the added safety of them being in a smaller carrier.

If you will be driving long-distance make as few stops as possible, call the hotels ahead of time to confirm that they allow reptiles and other terrarium dwelling pets in their rooms, and be very careful if you remove your pet from their temporary homes because the stress can make them act up.

Settling into Your New Home

Pet lizard in water dish

Once you’ve arrived in your new place, set your pet’s terrarium up somewhere quiet and out of the way. If you’ve snapped a picture of their home, then you can try to set up their rocks and heat lights as close to the way it used to be as possible. After you’ve double checked the temperature, place your pet in their home and let them get settled in.

If need to find a new vet contact members of local herpetological clubs and ask them for advice or suggestions.