How to Move Reptiles Across Country: A Comprehensive Guide for a Smooth Transition

Moving to a new home can be an overwhelming experience. It’s not just the packing and unpacking that’s stressful, but also the worry about how your pets will handle this big change. And when it comes to reptiles, there are some extra considerations you’ll need to keep in mind during a cross-country move. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about moving reptiles across country – from preparing them for the journey, to setting up their new habitat at your destination. So strap in and let’s get started on ensuring a smooth transition for both you and your scaly friends!

Preparing Your Reptile for the Big Move

Before hitting the road with your reptilian companions, it is essential that you take certain steps to ensure their health and safety.

1. Visit Your Veterinarian

First things first: make an appointment with your veterinarian for a check-up before embarking on any long-distance move. During this visit, have your vet give your pet(s) a thorough examination and make sure they are healthy enough for travel. This would also be an excellent opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions regarding the specific needs of each species in transit.

2. Get Familiar with Regulations

Next up, research and familiarize yourself with state regulations concerning transportation of reptiles across state lines. Each state has its own laws regarding which species may be imported or transported within its borders – so do some digging before venturing out! In addition, some states require permits for certain species or even health certificates from veterinarians prior to transport.

3. Packing Supplies

When it comes to packing supplies needed during transport, here are some recommendations:

  • Secure travel containers (more on that later)
  • Heat packs or portable heaters (depending on the species)
  • Water dishes (for hydration)
  • Towels or soft bedding material
  • Thermometers and hygrometers to monitor temperature and humidity levels

4. Acclimate Your Reptile to Its Travel Container

In the days leading up to your move, gradually introduce your reptile(s) to their travel container. This will help reduce stress as they become familiar with their temporary enclosure during transport. Place them in the container for short periods initially, gradually increasing the duration over several days.

Choosing the Right Travel Container

Selecting a suitable travel container is crucial for keeping your reptiles safe and comfortable throughout the journey. Here are some factors to consider when selecting one:

1. Size

The size of the container should allow your reptile enough room to move around comfortably but not too much that it becomes insecure. For smaller species such as geckos or hatchlings, small plastic containers with ventilation holes (e.g., deli cups) may suffice. For larger snakes or lizards, you might need more robust options like plastic storage containers or even custom-built wooden crates.

2. Security

Regardless of size, ensure that all containers have secure lids or doors preventing escape during transit. This is especially important if transporting multiple animals together since stressed-out reptiles may become aggressive toward each other.

3. Ventilation

Your travel container must provide adequate ventilation without compromising heat retention. Drill holes into plastic containers for air circulation – but be mindful of placement so that drafts don’t make it difficult to maintain consistent temperatures within the enclosure.

4. Insulation

Depending on weather conditions during transport, you might need additional insulation materials such as foam padding or reflective insulating sheets surrounding your container. These can help regulate temperature fluctuations while keeping your pets cozy and warm inside their temporary homes.

Transportation Options

When it comes to transporting your reptiles, there are typically two main options: by car or by air. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of each method:

1. Traveling by Car

Traveling with your reptiles in a personal vehicle provides you with more control over their environment compared to air travel. You can monitor temperature and humidity levels closely, stop for breaks when necessary, and make adjustments as needed.


  • More control over conditions
  • Easier access to check on pets during travel
  • No restrictions on species (like some airlines)


  • Longer travel time may stress animals
  • Constantly adjusting temperature settings depending on weather conditions

2. Traveling by Air

Shipping your reptile via air cargo is another option, but it requires careful planning and coordination with airline regulations. Check airline policies thoroughly before booking – not all carriers accept live animal shipments or have specific requirements you must follow.


  • Quicker travel time reduces overall stress on animals
  • Temperature-controlled environments during transport


  • Little control over conditions once handed off to the airline
  • Some airlines have restrictions on specific species or sizes of containers allowed onboard

Ultimately, the choice of transportation depends on personal preference and the needs of your particular situation.

Setting Up Your Reptile’s New Home

Upon arrival at your new home, setting up a comfortable environment for your reptiles should be a top priority.
Here are some tips for re-establishing their habitats:

  1. Unpack immediately: As soon as possible after arriving at your destination, unpack your reptiles from their temporary enclosures and transfer them into their permanent homes.
  2. Reassemble habitats: Carefully reconstruct each habitat according to its original setup or any desired improvements based upon research conducted prior to the move.
  3. Monitor conditions closely: Keep a close eye on temperature, humidity, and overall well-being of your reptile(s) in the first few days following the move. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure they are comfortable and settling in well.
  4. Limit handling: Minimize stress by avoiding unnecessary handling during this transition period. Allow your pets some time to adjust to their new surroundings before resuming regular interaction.


Moving with reptiles across country may seem daunting at first – but with careful planning, preparation, and attention to detail, you can ensure a smooth transition for both you and your scaly friends! Remember: research is key – whether it’s about state regulations or specific needs of each species during transport. Take it one step at a time, stay organized, and soon enough you’ll have successfully relocated your reptilian family members to their new home with minimal stress involved.