Keeping lizards calm whilst travelling may seem like a daunting task. Lizards are often shy creatures who enjoy the comfort of their own homes. However, sometimes it is unavoidable. Whether you are relocating, need to go to the vet, or are just taking him to a family or friends house.
Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to ensure that travelling is stress free for your reptile friend.
The following are 5 easy ways you can keep your lizard calm during travel:
- Lizards will feel calmer in a small travel container.
- Line the bottom of the carrier.
- Cover your travel carrier with a blanket.
- Get your lizard used to it’s travel carrier.
- Warm your lizard’s travel carrier.
In this article we will go into more detail on how to ensure your lizard stay calm during travel.
Why is it important to keep a lizard calm while travelling?
Exposing lizards to high levels of stress is dangerous. Reptiles who are stressed or have gone through stress are far more prone to getting sick. Sadly, extremely high levels of stress can even be fatal! Therefore, it is so important to keep your lizard calm whilst travelling.
Lizards will feel calmer in a small travel container.
Of course, you can travel with your lizard in its usual home, however your lizard may feel calmer in a smaller enclosure.
If you are travelling with your lizard in it’s usual home, make sure you take out any objects that could potentially move or fall. You don’t want to hurt your little friend.
The danger of injuring your lizard may make it advisable to travel with your pet in a smaller and safer container.
You can use a soft-sided or hard-sided carrier which will be easier to carry and will make your lizard feel safer and calmer.
What size travel carrier is appropriate for your lizard?
The size of the travel carrier you opt for depends on the species and size of your lizard. Lizards don’t require a lot of space during travel, however, if your journey is particularly long you may want to opt for a little more space.
Whatever container you use, just be sure that the container is unbreakable and has enough ventilation.
You can adapt most sealable plastic containers by punching some air holes in. For large lizards, like green iguanas, a plastic dog or cat carrier can work as long as the gaps aren’t big enough to escape through.
Line the bottom of the carrier with grippy material.
Lining the bottom of the carrier with a grippy material will prevent your lizard from sliding around the bottom during travel.
Blankets, newspaper and paper towels or all work well. Blankets are recommended particularly during cold weather.
You can use a wet towel if your lizard requires a moist environment, or dry towels if it doesn’t.
This will also provide cushioning for comfort and your lizard will feel calm with something to burrow into.
Covering your lizard’s travel carrier with a blanket will calm him.
Covering the carrier will protect your lizard from any scary sights, and will block out some of the sounds and new smells of the world. Additionally, a blanket or towel will prevent your reptile from seeing any sudden movements which could give him a fright.
The darkness will recreate the feeling of being in a little den, and will create a calm feeling of security and safety.
Just be sure that the blanket allows adequate ventilation.
Get your lizard used to it’s travel carrier.
Getting your lizard familiar with its travel container will minimise stress as he won’t feel totally out of its comfort zone while travelling.
Try to purchase your lizard’s travel container a few weeks before your planned journey. This will allow you enough time get your lizard used to it.
Start off by placing him in the carrier for just a couple minutes at a time, and work your way up to around an hour.
Next, carry him around the house to get him used to the sensation of being elevated and moving around.
Place him back in his enclosure to let him know that the travel container is just temporary.
Warm your lizard’s travel carrier.
You may want to consider warming the carrier. This is dependent on the species of your lizard, how long the journey is and weather conditions.
You want you lizard’s travel carrier to be the same temperature as his normal enclosure. This way, he won’t feel out of his comfort zone.
If you are travelling long distance with your lizard, this is very important.
Easy ways to keep you lizard warm during travel:
- Pop an extra blanket inside the carrier for insulation.
- Use heat packs or like hand warmers, these will emit heat for many hours.
- Wrap the container in blankets, towels or jumpers.
- Use a hot water bottle to keep your lizard warm on shorter journeys.
What are common signs of sickness in lizards?
Stressed lizards are more prone to getting sick. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of sickness after travelling.
Common signs of sickness in lizards are as follows:
- Activity level changes – lethargy / increased activity / decreased activity / staying in only one corner of the cage / generally weak
- Breathing problems – open mouth breathing / wheezing or squeaking sounds / excessive saliva / bubbles from nostrils
- Changes in general appearance – weight loss or gain / changes in colour / swelling of the limbs, jaw, tail or digits
- Changes in stool or urine – straining / increased or decreased waste production / changes in appearance
- Increased or decreased eating and drinking habits – not eating or drinking / vomiting / regurgitation / excessive water soaking
- Limping or lameness – paralysis / signs of trauma
- Lumps or bumps – blisters / scabs / bruises / inflammation / redness
- Posture changes – acting disoriented / unable to assume normal posture
If your lizard is showing any of the signs above, take him to the vet to get checked out.
Additional tips for keeping lizards calm for travel.
- Keep pit stops to a minimum – you want the journey to be as short as possible, therefore you should only make pit stops when necessary.
- Don’t take your lizard out of the travel carrier – all of the people and the noises will stress him out.
- Avoid travelling during peak, busy hours – noise will stress your lizard out and there will be more chance of delays during peak times.
Travelling with lizards can be stressful, however, if you plan and prepare ahead, it can be a stress-free, calm experience for you and your reptile friend.
Be sure to get an appropriate travel carrier for your lizard weeks before your planned road trip. Therefore, you can spend time getting your reptile used to its travel home.
Additionally, cover the container with a blanket to protect your lizard from the sounds, smells and sights of the outside world.
Consider warming your lizard’s carrier if you are going on a long journey, and look out for signs of sickness after the trip.
Hope this has been helpful.
Happy travels! 🙂