Taking your lizard on public transport might seem like a daunting experience. Lizards can be nervous creatures that are scared easily, particularly when they’re away from their home.
Public transport can be a scary place for a human let alone a reptile, with loud noises, new sights and people. However, sometimes taking your lizard on a train or on the bus is unavoidable. You may need to take your lizard to the vet, or even just to a friend or families house.
If you do need to take your lizard on the train or bus, there are many things you can do to minimise stress for your scaly friend.
Keep to the following guidelines to safely travel with a lizard on public transport:
- Use a quality, escape-proof carrier.
- Re-create the feeling of being in a burrow.
- Warm the carrier if necessary.
- Cover the carrier with a blanket.
- Get your lizard familiar with its travel carrier.
- Do some short practise runs.
- Look out for signs of sickness during and after the journey.
- Re-create your lizard’s normal environment after the journey.
In this article we will discuss each guideline in detail to ensure that your lizard feels safe in its travel carrier, to maximise security and comfort, and minimise stress!
Make Sure Your Lizard’s Travel Carrier is Secure.
You want to make sure that the container you take on the train or bus is secure and escape proof.
If you are taking your lizard in it’s usual tank or container, remove any objects from inside container that could potentially move around or fall if you experience some bumps in the road or on the track. You don’t want to injure your scaly friend.
The possibility of injury in a moving vehicle may make it advisable to put your pet in a smaller, more secure carrier.
You can choose to use a soft-sided or hard-sided carrier instead. These may be easier to carry, being smaller and more lightweight.
The size of the travel carrier you choose depends on the species of your lizard. Generally speaking, the travel carrier needs to be large enough that your lizard can move around inside, but not so big that it could get thrown around during travel.
Whatever container you use, make sure the container is unbreakable and has enough air holes for ventilation.
You can easily adapt any kind of sealable plastic container as long as it has air holes. You could even punch some air holes in yourself. For large reptiles, like iguanas, a plastic dog or cat carrier can also work.
Popular Lizard Travel Carrier Choices
61 x 40 x 40.5 cm
31 x 21 x 21 cm
|Exo Terra Breeding Box, Small||
21.6 x 21.6 x 16 cm
Make Your Lizard’s Travel Carrier a Cosy Den.
a) Line the bottom of the carrier.
You want to prevent your lizard sliding around the bottom of its carrier during the train or bus journey. This could cause your lizard to become highly stressed, sick and could even injure him.
You can use newspaper, paper towels or pads. You can also use blankets on the bottom, which is recommended during cold weather.
Line the bottom of the carrier with wet towels if your lizard needs a moist environment, or dry towels if it doesn’t.
This will also provide some extra cushioning for transportation.
b) Warm the carrier if necessary.
Depending on the weather, how long your train or bus journey is, and the species of your lizard, you will want to consider warming the carrier.
Tips for warming the carrier:
- Use heat packs or like hand warmers, these will emit heat for many hours.
- Pop an extra blanket inside the carrier for insulation.
- Wrap the container in blankets, towels or jumpers.
- Use a hot water bottle to keep them warm on shorter journeys.
c) Cover your lizard’s travel carrier with a blanket.
This is HIGHLY recommended.
Public transport can be a pretty unpredictable place. The sights, sounds and smells of a busy bus or train can be highly stressful for a lizard.
Covering the carrier with a blanket will protect your lizard from any scary sights, and will block out some of the sounds and new smells of public transport. Additionally, it will prevent your reptile from seeing any sudden movements which can give them a real fright.
The darkness will recreate the feeling of being in a small den, and will therefore create a feeling of security and safety.
Just be sure that the blanket still allows adequate ventilation.
Get Your Lizard Used to it’s Travel Carrier.
You want your lizard to feel comfortable and at home in its travel carrier. This will minimise stress as your lizard won’t feel totally out of its comfort zone while on public transport.
Try to purchase your travel carrier a few weeks before your planned train or bus journey. This will allow you adequate time get your lizard used to it’s travel home.
Introduce your lizard to its carrier at least 1 week before your journey. Start off by introducing him to the carrier just a few minutes at a time, and work your way up to at least 30 minutes.
Finally, get your lizard used to being elevated and being carried around. Pop your lizard in its travel home and carry him around the house.
Keep the rest of your reptile’s routine the same so that they don’t get stressed out before it’s time to board the train or bus.
Look Out For Signs of Sickness During & After The Car Trip.
Stressed lizards are more prone to getting sick, so during and after the journey be sure to look out for sickness. Common signs of illness are as follows:
- Increased or decreased eating and drinking habits – Not eating or drinking at all? Any vomiting or regurgitation? Excessive water soaking?
- Shedding issues – Incomplete, prolonged or lack of shedding? Retained eye-caps present?
- Changes in stool or urine production – Any straining? Increased waste production? Decreased waste? Changes in stool appearance?
- Lumps or bumps – Any blisters, scabs, bruises, inflammation or redness?
- Changes in general appearance – Weight loss or gain? Changes in colour? Swelling of the limbs, jaw, tail or digits?
- Activity level changes – Lethargy? More active than usual? Hiding a lot? Staying in only one corner of the cage? Generally weak?
- Limping or lameness – Any paralysis? Less climbing activity than usual? Signs of trauma?
- Changes in posture – Acting disoriented? Unable to assume normal posture?
- Breathing problems – Open mouth breathing? Wheezing or squeaking sounds? Excessive saliva? Bubbles from nostrils?
If your lizard shows any of the signs above, take him to the vet as soon as possible to get checked out.
Instead of immediately trying to handle your reptile, place your hand in their tank with your palm up for several minutes at a time. In time, your lizard will realise that you mean no harm and will start to feel more comfortable around you.
- Talk to your lizard – talk softly to your lizard throughout the journey to soothe him.
- Don’t take your lizard out of the travel carrier – all of the people and the noises will likely stress him out.
- Try to avoid the train or bus during peak hours – the train or bus will be extra busy and noisy which will stress your lizard out.
Lizards are prone to getting stressed whilst travelling, particularly on public transport. However, if you plan and prepare ahead, it can be a stress-free experience for you and your reptile.
Be sure to get an appropriate travel carrier for your lizard weeks before your planned road trip. This way, you can spend time to make sure your reptile feels comfortable in its travel home.
Consider warming your lizard’s carrier and look out for signs of sickness during and after the journey.
Additionally, be sure to cover the carrier with a blanket to protect your lizard from the strange new sounds, smells and sights of public transport.
Hope you have found this helpful.
Happy and safe travels! 🙂
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