The following are 10 easy ways to keep your lizard warm during travel:
- Warm your vehicle before introducing your lizard (if travelling in a car)
- Use a hot water bottle
- Add plenty of bedding to the travel carrier
- Use hand warmers
- Use microwaveable heat packs
- Use a smaller travel container rather than a large one
- Put a secure lid on your lizard’s container
- Make a home-made warmer from a socks and rice
- Put your lizard in a sweater
- Cover your lizard’s container in a blanket
Taking your lizard out of his warm comfortable home may seem like a daunting task. However, sometimes travel is unavoidable, especially if your lizard is unwell and needs to see the vet.
Being cold blooded, your lizard needs heat to stay fit and healthy. Sadly, a cold shock is all it takes to seriously harm or even kill a lizard that is already sick. Even if your lizard is healthy to start with, being cold can put him at risk getting sick or catching a cold.
Without a heat mat or basking lamp, you will have to think outside the box. Here are 10 easy ways to keep your lizard warm during travel.
How warm should your lizard’s travel container be?
As I’m sure you are aware, most pet lizard’s should have a cool zone and a warm zone in their home. The temperatures vary depending on which species of lizard you have.
For example, the RSPCA states that a Bearded Dragon’s cool zone should be between 22ºC and 26ºC, and their warm zone should be between 38ºC and 42ºC. On the other hand, a Leopard Gecko’s cool zone should be between 24ºC and 26ºC, and their warm zone should be between 28ºC and 30ºC.
Your lizard’s travel container should be somewhere in the middle of their cool zone and warm zone. Thus, a Bearded Dragon’s travel home should be around 32ºC and Leopard Gecko’s travel carrier should cooler at around 27ºC.
However, on a short journey, like a quick trip to the vet, your lizard should be fine as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below the cool zone temperature they are used to, or go over their usual warm zone temperature.
On a long journey it’s more important to have their travel temperature somewhere in the middle. You could even try to recreate the different zones by using the techniques below, on only one end of their container.
Be sure to use a thermometer to check the container is at a comfortable temperature.
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Warm your vehicle before introducing your lizard (if travelling in a car).
This is a no-brainer.
If you are travelling on a cold day, warming the car before bringing your lizard in will avoid him getting a chill.
Additionally, the methods below will be more effective if the car is already warm.
Just make sure that the heater vents aren’t blowing directly onto your lizard’s container. This may cause him to overheat.
Use a hot water bottle to warm your lizard.
Hot water bottles work well to provide heat.
Just make sure that it isn’t too hot for you to hold. If it’s too hot for you to hold, it’s too hot for your lizard. You don’t want to burn your little friend.
Always wrap something around the hot water bottle, if it doesn’t already come in a cover. Additionally, make sure that the lid is on securely, you don’t want any hot water to leak onto your lizard and injure him.
Depending on the material of your hot water bottle, they can provide heat for a good few hours.
Add plenty of bedding to the travel carrier.
There are many different materials that you can use. These include paper towels, newspaper, clothes, towels or some of your lizard’s usual bedding.
You can even use a mixture of materials. Just be sure to use enough so that your lizard has something to burrow into. This will provide him with insulation to keep him warm, and will soak up any waste made on the trip.
Additionally, it will provide your lizard with comfort and security whilst he is away from home, and thus, minimise stress.
Use hand warmers to heat your lizard.
Hand warmers are another great option that provide lots of heat for many hours. Hot Hands are thin, air-activated packs that provide heat for up to 10 hours!
It’s very important to note that they should only be used OUTSIDE the carrier. NEVER place them inside the carrier. Firstly, they can get too hot and hurt your reptile, and secondly, they can soak up air and may suffocate your lizard.
Instead, pop them in a sock and place them next to or on top of your lizard’s travel carrier.
Use microwaveable heat packs.
These are a simple way to provide heat to your lizard.
Just pop them in the microwave for 1 to 5 minutes (depending on your heat pack) and they’re ready to go.
These are ideal for long journeys as they can stay warm for many hours, depending on the quality of the pack. Some last between 8-10 hours after 5 minutes in the microwave!
Just be sure that they are not too hot to touch as you could harm your lizard. If they are very hot, wrap them in a cloth, blanket or some of your clothes.
Use a smaller travel container rather than a large one.
A smaller travel container will be easier to warm up and keep warm than a larger one.
Just ensure that your lizard has enough room to move around. Depending on the species of your lizard, you want a travel cage around the same length as your lizard when it’s tail is straight.
For example, an adult bearded dragon can grow to around 18-22 inches, so your travel carrier should be around the same length.
Put a lid on your lizard’s container to trap heat.
Putting a lid on your lizard’s container will keep the warm air inside. An open top carrier will be harder to keep warm as the hot air will just escape.
Of course, ensure that there are plenty of holes in your lizard’s carrier for ventilation. You don’t want your little friend to suffocate!
If you are going on a short trip, you can just place your lizard in a cardboard box with some holes poked in it. Just be sure to secure the top so your lizard cannot escape and cause havoc.
Cover your lizard’s container in a blanket.
Insulation is your lizard’s friend!
Covering your lizard’s container with a blanket will stop heat from escaping.
Just be sure to use a breathable blanket so that there is enough ventilation for your lizard.
Make a home-made warmer from a socks and rice.
- Fill a sock 3/4 with rice.
- Tie the top so no rice escapes.
- Pop it in the microwave on high for a minute until hot.
VOILA! It’s that simple.
A heated sock will stay hot for a couple hours.
If the sock is too hot to touch, pop it in another sock so that you don’t hurt your lizard.