Keeping snakes calm whilst travelling may seem like a daunting task as they are elusive creatures who enjoy the comfort of their own homes. However, sometimes it is unavoidable. Maybe you need to go to the vet, are relocating or are just planning on taking him to a family or friends house.
Do not worry, there are plenty of ways to ensure that the experience is stress free for your scaly friend.
The following are 6 easy ways you can keep your snake calm during travel:
- Transport your snake in a small travel carrier.
- Line the bottom of the carrier.
- Put your snake in a pillow case.
- Cover your travel carrier with a blanket.
- Get your snake used to it’s travel carrier.
- Warm your snake’s travel carrier.
In this article we will go into more detail on how to ensure your snake is calm during travel.
Why is it important to keep a snake calm while travelling?
Exposing snakes to high levels of stress is dangerous as stressed reptiles are far more prone to getting sick. Sadly, extremely high levels of stress can even be fatal! This is why it is so important to keep your snake calm whilst travelling.
Snakes will feel calmer in a small travel carrier.
Of course, you can travel with your snake in its usual home, however your snake may feel safer in a smaller enclosure.
If you are taking your snake in it’s usual home, take out any objects that could potentially move around or fall on top of your snake. You want to avoid injuring your scaly friend.
The danger of injuring your snake in a moving vehicle may make it beneficial to travel with your pet in a smaller and safer container.
Instead, you can choose to use a soft-sided or hard-sided carrier which will be easier to carry and will make your snake feel safer and calmer.
What size travel carrier is appropriate for your snake?
The size of the travel carrier you opt for depends on the species of your snake. Snakes don’t require a lot of space during travel, and many of them will be happy curled up in a pillow case. 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 air holes for ventilation.
You can adapt any kind of sealable plastic container by punching some air holes in. For large snakes, like royal pythons, a plastic dog or cat carrier can work as long as the gaps aren’t big enough for your snake 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 snake from sliding around the bottom during travel.
Newspaper, paper towels or blankets all work well. Blankets are recommended particularly during cold weather.
You can line the bottom of the carrier with a wet towel if your snake requires a moist environment, or dry towels if it doesn’t.
This will also provide cushioning for comfort and your snake will feel calm with something to burrow into.
Putting your snake in a pillow case will calm him.
The darkness of a pillow case will calm your snake. It will protect him from all the scary sights, smells and sounds of the outside world.
Just be sure to pop the pillow case inside a secure, escape-proof travel container that has adequate ventilation.
A hard-sided container will protect your snake from any elbows, or falling objects.
Cover your snake’s travel carrier with a blanket.
In the same way that a pillow case calms snakes, covering the carrier with a blanket will protect them 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 them a fright.
The dark will recreate the feeling of being in a little den, and will therefore create a calm feeling of security and safety.
Just be sure that the blanket allows adequate ventilation for your snake.
Get your snake used to it’s travel carrier.
Getting your snake used to its travel container will minimise stress as he won’t feel totally out of its comfort zone while travelling.
If possible, try to purchase your snake’s travel container a few weeks before your planned journey. This will allow you enough time get your snake used to it’s travel home.
Introduce your reptile to its carrier at least 1 week before your journey. Start off by placing him in the carrier for just a couple minutes at a time, and work your way up.
Then you can start carrying him around the house to get him used to the sensation of being elevated and in motion.
Place him back in his enclosure to let him know that it’s just temporary.
Warm your snake’s travel carrier.
Depending on weather conditions, how long your journey is, and the species of your snake, you may want to consider warming the carrier.
You want you snake’s travel carrier to be the same temperature as his normal enclosure. This way, he won’t feel out of his comfort zone.
This is particularly important if you are travelling long distance.
Top tips for warming the travel carrier:
- Wrap the container in blankets, towels or jumpers.
- Use heat packs or like hand warmers, these will emit heat for many hours.
- Pop an extra blanket inside the carrier for insulation.
- Use a hot water bottle to keep your snake warm on shorter journeys.
What are common signs of sickness in snakes?
Stressed snakes 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 snakes are as follows:
- Abnormal Shedding – increased shedding, erratic shedding, or slower shedding times can also be signs of sickness. If your snake’s shedding is not in one piece or has holes in it, contact your vet for advice
- Change in appetite – a sick snake often refuses food.
- Changes In behaviour – any behavioural changes are often a sign that something is wrong. If your usually docile snake is acting aggressive, he could be sick.
- Changes in waste – if your snake appears to be straining harder, producing more or less waste than usual, he may be sick. Additionally, changes in stool appearance is also often a sign of illness in snakes.
- Discharge – if your snake has discharge coming from its eyes, nose, or mouth, they may be sick.
- Skin – if your pet’s skin is darker than usual, seems dull, or has any visible blisters or lesions, your snake may be sick.
- Stargazing – stiffness, difficulty moving, or strange postures are some of the things that can be considered stargazing.
- Weight Loss – if your snake is losing muscle tone and/or looking bony, he could be sick.
If your snake is showing any of the symptoms above, take him to the vet as soon as possible to get checked out.
Additional tips for calm travel.
- Don’t take your snake out of the travel carrier – all of the people and the noises will stress him out.
- Keep pit stops to a minimum – you want the journey to be as short as possible, only make pit stops when necessary.
- Avoid travelling during peak, busy hours – noise will stress your snake out and there will be more chance of delays during peak times.
Snakes can get stressed out while travelling, however, if you plan and prepare ahead, it can be a stress-free, calm experience for you and your scaly friend.
Be sure to get an appropriate travel carrier for your snake weeks before your planned road trip. Therefore, you can spend time getting your reptile used to its travel home.
Additionally, be sure to cover the carrier with a blanket to protect your snake from the sounds, smells and sights of the outside world. Popping your snake in a pillow case will also provide a sense of safety and keep him calm.
Consider warming your snake’s carrier if you are going on a long journey, and keep an eye out for signs of sickness after the trip.
Hope this has been helpful.
Happy travels! 🙂