As a reptile owner, it is inevitable that at some point you will have to transport your bearded dragon. Visits to the vet are to be expected and in some instances, you may even need to travel longer distances.
Whatever the case may be, reptiles don’t usually travel well so it’s important to take the appropriate precautionary measures to ensure everything is smooth as possible for your bearded dragon’s health!
Please note: Although helpful, this post isn’t necessarily for those making a short commute. If your traveling a very short distance and have the option to be a passenger in the vehicle, then simply handling your dragon the entire duration could be your best option.
Instead, this is aimed more towards helping those who are traveling longer distances, staying overnight or multiple days somewhere (vacation for instance), or commuting during the colder seasons.
Before we get started, there are several important things to keep in mind while transporting your bearded dragon…
- How far you’re going
- The external temperatures of where you’re going
- Relocation stress that your beardie could experience from being out of their ideal habitat
Okay so now you have an idea of what to be mindful of, let’s continue…
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What to be Concerned With While Transporting Your Bearded Dragon
Again, most importantly, you must consider the external temperature of the environment(s) that you will be traveling in addition to how they’ll affect your beardie.
For instance, if you’re traveling with your bearded dragon and the temperature outside is 60 degrees F, then his/her body temperature will be 60 degrees F too. This is definitely not ideal.
However, there are several special precautionary methods you can take to make sure your bearded dragon is comfy and properly prepared for traveling.
Furthermore, having a hot enough external temperature is a crucial component for a bearded dragons digestion system and without this, could consequently cause them to become sick.
In other words, if their environment is not hot enough, then your beardie is in danger of potential digestive issues and impaction.
In addition to making sure you provide a warm enough environment for transportation, it is also important to do everything you possibly can to minimize the stress which could result from relocating them.
Prolonged periods of your bearded dragon being out of their normal habitat could cause them to become stressed and ultimately lead to more severe/negative health consequences.
Read on to discover how you can make the trip as smooth and stress free as possible for your bearded dragon!
How To Properly Travel With Your Bearded Dragon
In instances where the distance is too far to simply handle your bearded dragon from the passenger side or you need travel during the winter, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure your beardie stays safe. With that being said, here’s the best way to transport your bearded dragon…
1. Gather Your Beardie and the Appropriate Supplies
Before you depart, make sure you have all the necessities packed up and ready to take with you.
These are things that are crucial to your beardies health (see the travel checklist below) and you can’t go without. Bonus points if you bring backups (a spare bulb for instance) for those “just in case” moments.
Please note: Traveling with their usual vivarium habitat is ideal. However, this is not always feasible so the next best option would be to use some type of temporary travel tank. This could include a plastic bin, a basket, cat carrier, etc.
This bearded dragon travel checklist will vary from situation to situation
- Leash and harness. Reptiles, in general, are great at getting lost in the car and there are going to be areas in your car that you’re not going to be able to get to very easily, should your reptile situate themselves there.
- Animal carrier or a comfy bed
- Proper lighting and spare bulbs
- Reptile heat pad
2. Prepare Your Beardies Temporary Enclosure
You can create a great makeshift tank from whichever enclosure you decide to use by focusing on making it comfortable and warm for your bearded dragon. This could mean lining it with plenty of blankets or towels and making sure he’s securely tucked in.
In most instances, you could place something (hand warmers work great) underneath the towels or blankets to help keep them warm and cozy.
Now that you’ve created a perfectly comfortable station for your bearded dragon, consider the following tips to ensure smooth transportation!
7 Tips for Successfully Transporting Your Bearded Dragon
1. Don’t Feed your Beardie the Day Before or the Day of Travel
In addition to keeping your bearded dragon warm, UVB and heat bulbs also help your beardie to properly digests its food.
If you don’t have UVB and heat bulbs set up while traveling, then it is best to not feed your beardie since they won’t be able to bask and absorb the UVB that is needed in order for them to digest their food properly.
2. Go Right Into a Heated Car
This is especially important if you will be traveling during the colder seasons.
Bearded dragons are used to warmer temperatures so they will appreciate you taking the extra time to warm up your vehicle before boarding!
3. Drive Carefully
Accelerating too quickly, sudden breaking, or harsh turns could all cause your bearded dragon to be tossed out or around whatever you’re transporting them in.
It is crucial to reduce any potential stressors or complications that come from being out of their habitat which a comfortable ride will most certainly do.
4. Buckle Up
On the heels of driving carefully is making sure your beardie is secure during transportation.
Having to suddenly stop could cause your dragon to go flying and get injured.
Don’t forget to buckle their carrier in to ensure they stay in place as much as possible.
5. Monitor and Check on Your Beardie Frequently
While traveling, be sure continuously monitor your beardie to make sure they’re safe, secure, and the appropriate temperature.
Having your beardie escape can be extremely troublesome and dangerous for both of you so have eyes on them at all times.
6. Minimize Relocation Stress
Again, traveling for reptiles can be a very stressful time. As a result, you want to do everything on your behalf to minimize the stress.
One way to do this would be to set up their tank precisely as it was before you left to avoid any additional relocation stress that may result.
7. Get Them in Their Habitat Pronto Once You Arrive
This is pretty self-explanatory but minimizing the time they’re out of their tank without any bulbs is important.
You can accomplish this by making their tank your first priority upon arrival.
So there you have it! These are the tips and strategies I use personally while traveling with my bearded dragon.
I hope you now feel more comfortable and confident knowing how you can properly and safely transport your bearded dragon to minimize any negative consequences.
Above all else, traveling with your bearded dragon has the potential to be stressful so you must do everything you possibly can to negate this and make your beardie feel as comfortable as possible!