Taking your snake on public transport might seem like a daunting experience. Snakes enjoy the comfort of their home, so taking them away from it and onto a noisy bus or train can stress them out.
Public transport can be a scary experience for a human let alone a reptile! It’s an unpredictable place with loud noises, new sights and scents. However, sometimes you have no choice but to take your snake on a train or on the bus. You may need to travel to the vet, or even just to a family or friend’s house.
If you do need to take your snake on the bus or train, there are a quite a few things you can do to lessen stress for your scaly friend.
Keep to the following guidelines to safely travel with a snake 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 snake familiar with its travel carrier.
- Do some short practise runs.
- Look out for signs of sickness during and after the journey.
- Re-create your snake’s normal environment after the journey.
In this article we will discuss each guideline in detail to ensure that your snake feels safe in its travel carrier, to maximise security and comfort, and minimise stress!
Ensure Your Snake’s Travel Carrier is Secure.
You want to ensure that your snake’s travel container you take on the train or bus is escape proof and secure.
If you are taking your snake in it’s usual tank or container, be sure to take out any objects that could potentially move around or fall on top of your snake, if you experience some bumps in the road or on the track. You want to avoid injuring your scaly friend.
The danger of injuring your snake in a moving vehicle may make it favourable to put your pet in a smaller, safer container.
Instead, you can choose to use a soft-sided or hard-sided carrier. Being smaller and lighter, these will be easier to carry.
The size of the travel carrier you opt for depends on the species of your snake. Snakes don’t need a lot of space during travel, and many of them will be happy burrowed in a pillow case. However, if your train or bus journey is particularly long, you may want to opt for a little more space.
If you do decide to pop your snake in a pillow case, we recommend that you place the pillowcase inside a secure container. This will ensure that your snake cannot escape.
Whatever container you use, ensure 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 also work as long as the gaps aren’t big enough for your snake to escape through.
Popular Snake 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 Snake’s Travel Carrier a Cosy Den.
a) Line the bottom of the carrier.
You want to avoid your snake sliding around the bottom of its carrier during the bus or train journey. This could cause your snake to become highly stressed, sick and could even cause him to get injured.
You can use newspaper or paper towels. You can also use blankets on the bottom, which is recommended particularly during cold weather.
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 some your snake with extra cushioning for comfort, and provide him with something to burrow into.
b) Pop your snake in a pillow case.
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 snake.
The darkness of a pillow case will reduce stress for your snake. It will protect him from all the scary sights of public transport, making him feel safer.
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.
c) Warm the carrier if necessary.
Depending on weather conditions, how long your train or bus journey is, and the species of your snake, you may want to consider warming the carrier.
Top tips for warming the travel 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 your snake warm on shorter journeys.
d) Cover your snake’s travel carrier with a blanket.
In the same way that a pillow case reduces stress for 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 public transport. In addition, a blanket will prevent your reptile from seeing any sudden movements which could give them a fright.
The darkness will make your snake feel like he is in a little den, and will therefore create a feeling of security and safety.
Just ensure that the blanket allows adequate ventilation.
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 on public transport.
If possible, try to obtain the travel container a few weeks before your planned train or bus journey. This will allow you enough time get your snake used to it’s travel home.
Introduce your snake to its carrier at least 1 week prior to the journey. Start off by introducing him to the carrier for just a couple minutes at a time, and work your way up to at least half an hour.
Finally, pop your snake in its travel home and carry him around the house. This will get him used to the sensation of being elevated and in motion.
Keep the rest of your reptile’s routine the same so he doesn’t stress out before it’s time to board the train or bus.
Look Out For Signs of Sickness During & After The Car Trip.
Snakes that are stressed are more prone to getting sick. Therefore it is important to look out for signs of sickness during and after the trip. Common signs of sickness in snakes are as follows:
- 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.
- Weight Loss – if your snake is losing muscle tone and/or looking bony, he could be sick.
- 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
- Skin – if your pet’s skin is darker than usual, seems dull, or has any visible blisters or lesions, your snake may be sick.
- Discharge – if your snake has discharge coming from its eyes, nose, or mouth, they may be sick.
- Stargazing – stiffness, difficulty moving, or strange postures are some of the things that can be considered stargazing.
- Change in appetite – a sick snake often refuses food.
- 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.
If your snake is showing any of the signs above, take him to the vet as soon as possible to get checked out.
- Don’t take your snake out of the travel carrier – all of the people and the noises will 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 snake out.
Snakes can get stressed out on public transport, however, if you plan and prepare ahead, it can be a stress-free experience for you and your serpent.
Make sure you get an appropriate travel carrier for your snake weeks before your planned road trip. This way, 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 public transport. Popping your snake in a pillow case will also provide a sense of safety.
Consider warming your snake’s carrier if you are going on a long journey, and be sure to look out for signs of sickness during and after the trip.
Hope this has been helpful.
Happy and safe travels! 🙂